In brief: Apple is buying Dark Sky, a popular app known for its precise, hyperlocal weather forecesting and smart notifications that go way beyond the capabilities of the built-in Weather app on iOS.
Apple has a track record of buying companies left and right, usually in a low-key fashion. A lot of these acquisitions are made to give the company access to intellectual property and talent that it can then use in its grand strategy.
The Cupertino giant has now acquired popular weather app Dark Sky, who announced the move in a blog post. As a result, the team behind the service will be shutting down the Android and Wear OS apps in July, which have over one million installs. Those of you who have a subscription that should have lasted past that date will receive a refund.
The Dark Sky Forecast API service will continue to work until the end of 2021, but developers won't be able to sign up to use it in new apps. This means that integration in apps like Carrot Weather, Yelp, and search engines like DuckDuckGo will no longer work past that date. The website will remain active, but embeds won't work past July 1 2020.
The iOS app will remain in the App Store (where it is sold for $4) for the time being, probably until Apple figures out a way to integrate it into the default Weather app on iOS. Some speculate the company could instead build the hyperlocal weather forecasting functionality of Dark Sky into an API for both iOS and macOS.
Dark Sky co-founder Adam Grossman noted "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. There is no better place to accomplish these goals than at Apple. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to reach far more people, with far more impact, than we ever could alone."
The move will no doubt raise some questions about fair competition, which is something that Apple has been criticized for a lot as of late. Some iOS developers are suing the company alleging the App Store is a monopoly, and its search algorithm almost proved them right last year. With Shazam in 2017 and Dark Sky today, at least it's not a case of "Sherlocking" their respective functionalities.