Apple Buys Dark Sky, Kills Android App and API

Illustration for article titled Apple Buys Dark Sky, Kills Android App and API
Screenshot: Dark Sky

Android users have many reasons to hate on Apple, but the company just gave them one more: It’s taking away the popular weather app Dark Sky. Dark Sky announced in a blog today that it was joining Apple, and as a result, it’s ending API access in 2022 and killing off the Android app.

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While details of how much Dark Sky sold for weren’t available, the move has many implications. It’s actually good news for iPhone users; if you’ve ever used the native iOS weather app, you know it’s crap. Meanwhile, Dark Sky gained a reputation as one of the best weather apps out there for its focus on hyperlocal, hourly precipitation predictions. While it was an iOS-only app for four years, it finally introduced an Android app in 2016.

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The sad thing is the Android app’s days—both on smartphones and Wear OS smartwatches—are now numbered. The app will no longer be available for download, and service for existing users will end after July 1, 2020. Android subscribers who are still using the app at that time will get a refund.

Another blow is that the API service for third-party apps will soon be kaput. Dark Sky says it’s no longer accepting new signups, and that for existing customers, the API will only function as it currently does through the end of 2021. As part of the transition, Dark Sky also says using its API will be subject to Apple’s privacy policy.

Dark Sky’s website also didn’t escape the culling. Weather forecasts, maps, and embeds will end after July 1, 2020. Beyond that date, the website will “remain active...in support of API and iOS App customers.”

For that matter, Dark Sky users on iOS shouldn’t get too comfortable either. While the company says there won’t be any changes at this time, it’s possible or even likely that Apple will natively fold it into iOS further down the line.

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“Our goal has always been to provide the world with the best weather information possible, to help as many people as we can stay dry and safe, and to do so in a way that respects your privacy,” the blog reads. “There is no better place to accomplish those goals than at Apple.”

That sentiment is to be expected, considering Apple now owns Dark Sky. But it’s also sort of puzzling, as there are far more Android users than iOS users worldwide. Apple definitely didn’t have to gut the Android app, the website, or the API, which is used by plenty of other popular third-party weather apps. While iOS users might be happy that the native weather app will probably suck less, it’s mighty harsh of Apple to just cut Android users off from a popular service—especially since it would probably make bank on those willing to continue paying for Dark Sky subscriptions.

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Consumer tech reporter by day, danger noodle by night. No, I'm not the K-Pop star.

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DISCUSSION

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Jerk Dently

I’m not trying to be a dick, but are there any native default iOS apps that users like?