Thursday, August 20, 2020

Weather Apps, After Dark Sky

Jonas Downey:

This is an existential threat to indie weather apps. We’re now forced to:

A) Find a new provider that’s comparable and integrate it instead of Dark Sky.
B) Create a new set of widgets that are at least as good as Apple’s (preferably better!)
C) Do all of this in about 3 months.

We also have to learn all the new tech, update our existing app to work with iOS 14, and deal with the fact that this is all beta software that’s clunky, poorly documented, and barely works in a bunch of ways.

Oh, and Apple has special access to private APIs that we don’t have.

I was hoping Apple would integrate the Dark Sky features into the iOS 14 API. That would make it easier to develop (if not necessarily to sell) weather apps, as several of them have better interfaces than Apple’s own. Instead, they’ve improved the built-in app but made things worse for fans of alternate apps.


4 Comments RSS · Twitter

Sergey Tatarchuk

Best replacement for their API so far:

Weather apps other than DarkSky tend to be some of the most malicously invasive software on iOS, due to their location-dependent nature. The best and only good thing Apple could do here is to make a world-class, entitlement-bound WeatherKit based on Dark Sky's technology, and tailor the requirements for the entitlement such that no personally identifiable information can ever be accessed by the app itself.

We'd see more cool apps like CARROT Weather that could charge a few bucks a pop, because users would know there was no other downside. Anyone who's ever watched DNS traffic from an iOS device knows apps are far bigger surveillance cesspool than the web. Apple bears the blame and holds the keys to the fix.

I didn’t expect a weather API in iOS 14. It always takes them more than a year to turn an aquisition into a feature, see Workflows or TestFlight.

@Peter If they do plan an API, maybe they should have kept the old one running until the new one was ready.

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