I am always optimistic with the New Year, but 2023 has already brought me one disappointment: the death of the Dark Sky weather app.
My friend Ben introduced me to Dark Sky many years ago. Unlike most weather apps, Dark Sky focused on micro-forecasts. It would tell you when rain was imminent, how strong it would be, and how long it would last. It was amazingly useful. When I was at Lollapalooza back in 2017 a torrential downpour hit Chicago – so strong that it shut the festival down. But I remained relatively dry because Dark Sky warned me it was coming with about a 10 minute lead time. That allowed me to run to the subway and get out of the weather before the skies opened up.
For a company like Apple that prides itself on UI/UX you would think they would do a better job of it. This is a screenshot of the Dark Sky app just before midnight on the last day of 2022.
With one click you see the current temperature, the rain outlook, and a timeline for how long the rain will last.
In the Apple Weather app you have to open it, scroll down until you find the precipitation widget (and not the precipitation map), click on that and you can kind of figure out the rain forecast if you look hard enough. Here is the prediction for Wednesday.
I mean, I’ll get used to it, but it is sometimes hard to say goodbye to something you’ve used for years. If the app were open source there is a chance it would live on, but when we opt to use proprietary software we also cede a lot of choices to the software vendor. So it goes.
Goodbye, Dark Sky, you’ll be missed.