Apple has now carried through on a promise to remove its weather app Dark Sky from the Google Play Store, reports indicate. The company bought out the popular subscription weather application back in March.
While on Android, the app provided current and forecast weather as well as radar maps and other features. Notifications for certain weather conditions and more were present and accounted for as well. Touted as a highly accurate app, that all started out for free for two-weeks. Then, users were required to pay a subscription, totaling to $2.99 per year.
After it was purchased by Apple, Dark Sky began showing users a warning that its service would no longer be available after July 1. Now, the company has removed the app from the Google Play Store. The Android competitor also noted that it would shut the app down and that subscribers would be issued a refund.
Now, searching for the Dark Sky app in the Google Play Store no longer returns the app as a result. Users who already had the app are still seeing the app appear and it still appears to work. But that may not remain the case for much longer.
Why did Apple buy out Dark Sky and remove it from Play?
Now, when Apple bought out Dark Sky, it appears to have done with the goal of integrating it into its own home-grown weather service. And that appears to be what has happened. The data from that app and its associated API is already reportedly integrated into the Weather app in iOS 14.
In the meantime, the API behind Dark Sky does still appear to be available for third-party developers. That means that Android and Wear OS apps built on the platform still work. Apple planned that support to end in 2021. But, simultaneously, Apple isn't allowing any further third-party devs to sign up.
The rapid integration here is not entirely surprising either. Dark Sky held a proprietary algorithm that allowed its app to provide "down-to-the-minute" weather forecasts. At least for rain. And predictions for the next hour of a given day were provided via notifications, making Dark Sky one of the best apps around. That helped it grow rapidly to well over a million installs during its short Android tenure.
Where do users turn from here?
With Apple's final decision to remove Dark Sky from Android, the star rating on the Play Store — as of last accounting — dropped quickly down to 1.7-stars, in fact. The fruit-based smartphone manufacturer has often been accused of taking the best features from Android well after those are well established and marketing them as its own. So many users were and are understandably upset. There are plenty of alternatives available but those won't necessarily tick all of the same boxes for end-users.
Apple has promised a refund for users who were subscribed and had an active subscription when the app was pulled down. Apple will undoubtedly make good on that promise. But those, at least for now, don't appear to have started appearing for end-users just yet.