When it comes to mobile apps, there are always be so many for each category that it can be difficult to choose. Of course, you could download every weather app available for your iPhone but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll find one that suits you. Nor does it mean you’ll find much variation between each, for it is a value in short supply when it comes to app development. So many apps seem like they have been created by the same developer with a few alterations. As such, we really love to see some differentiation and diversity: when a developer takes a well-worn idea and does something different with it, creating a product that didn’t exist before becomes essential precisely because of this. Fortunately, there are developers out there like Jackadam and their excellent Dark Sky app, which takes the weather app genre and twists it slightly.
Dark Sky understands that people will generally only check weather forecasts to see if it will rain; it takes this idea and develops it, creating an app that will tell you instantly whether there is a chance of rain or snow in your area up to an hour in advance, leaving you free to go to work or run errands without the fear that you may get caught out in a downpour. It used to be the case that you would have to carry an umbrella around with you just in case, but Dark Sky is an app that replaces such worries. As long as you have this app with you, there is no more “just in case”. Push notifications will inform you of rain or inclement weather before it arrives, meaning that you can better plan your day around the weather. Often, with traditional forecasts, the prediction of rain can be vague and you never quite no when and if it will strike – Dark Sky intends to change all this for the better.
Perhaps our favorite feature of Dark Sky is its design, which is very simply but evocative. The grey colour scheme perfectly reflects the idea of rain and storm clouds, and we love the bold use of fonts and titles. Unfortunately, many have been reporting a distinct dip in quality between the older version of the app and this newer update. Specifically, the older app on the iPad which allowed you to instantly bring up maps and manipulate them on the iPad screen to see areas of rain and whether or not you were in the path of a storm. Much of this functionality is gone or at least less responsive when it comes to the latest update of the app on the iPhone. The radar view was perhaps the best feature of the app, but it becomes confusing and difficult to use here – zooming is tricky, and there is no way to center the map on your location after browsing around.
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