Though our focus is on back-to-school apps this month, I wanted to post a quick bit of news on an app we featured in July, Dark Sky, since it received a couple of key new features this week in an update. Dark Sky, which aims to offer more precise weather predictions for your exact location, can now give push notification alerts to let you know when it’s going to rain 15 minutes in advance and provides a radar view for the entire continental US.
The full list of what’s new in version 2.0.0 is as follows:
- Push Notifications. We’ll warn you before it rains! (still a bit experimental)
- National radar view. See all the storms in the country at once (amazing on the iPad)
- VoiceOver support for improved accessibility
- Better icon!
- Added the darksky://your%20location protocol for integration with third-party apps (e.g. Launch Center Pro), and link sharing
- Touch-and-hold on the map to change your forecast location
- A whole bucketful of bug fixes and performance improvements
- Ability to turn off “Clear Skies Are Boring” message
- Increased app version number by more than 51.5%!
A new toggle in the top right corner is where you can access the push notification settings to choose to turn on alerts, designate “do not disturb” hours so you can avoid interruptions during work or sleeping hours, and select the precipitation notification threshold.
In a blog post about the 2.0.0 update, Dark Sky’s developers describe that the alert feature is really still in beta and they’re asking for feedback if it doesn’t work the way you’d expect. A follow-up post today provides some answers to concerns they’ve heard from users about privacy and battery consumption. They’ve clarified that Dark Sky uses a less power-hungry mode, cell tower triangulation, to determine your location when the app is not active and that no information that can identify you to anyone other than Apple is transmitted with your location information.
The new alert feature was the main item on my wish list for a future update when I first looked at Dark Sky and it’s nice to see it implemented. Dark Sky still won’t replace Fahrenheit as my go-to weather app on my iPhone since it lacks more comprehensive forecast information but it’s getting there.