Dark Sky Blog Developers Help

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iOS 10 is out, and a new release of Dark Sky just hit the App Store to support some of the great new features.

With iOS 10, Apple is providing many new ways to interact with apps outside the confines of the app itself, such as rich notifications, improved widgets, and a much snappier Apple Watch experience.

We're particularly excited about this release. We're constantly trying to find ways to limit how often users need to launch our app — it often takes longer to pull your phone out of your pocket, unlock it, find Dark Sky, and launch it than it does to actually read the forecast. That's why we've been investing heavily in things like advanced notifications and the Apple Watch.

(And it helps that we're not ad-supported. Apps that are monetized through ad revenue have a big incentive to funnel users to the app, even if it's not in the users' best interests).

Here's what's on tap for Dark Sky in iOS 10:

Rich Notifications

iOS 10's new visual notifications are the biggest change to notifications since the introduction of notifications themselves seven years ago. By providing the ability to include images and complex UI, notifications can now be tremendously more useful.

Before iOS 10, a Dark Sky notification might have said something like "Rain starting soon!". Starting with iOS 10, they now look like this:

iOS10-notification

With the graph and a detailed summary, you no longer need to jump into the app to see what's going on. And we now silently intercept the notification before displaying it so that we can validate it and make sure it's accurate. If not, we'll grab a fresh forecast. This should greatly cut down on spurious and wrong notifications, and it means we can present more accurate and detailed forecasts.

Lock-Screen Widget

Prior to iOS 10, widgets were second-class citizens that were tucked away in the Notification Center. Now they've broken free and landed on your lock and home screens, with a new set of tools, an improved design, and better performance.

We've taken this opportunity to redesign our widget from the ground up:

iOS10-widget

It includes current conditions, the next-hour forecast, and summaries of each of the next five days. If there are any severe weather alerts, we'll show those too. Tapping the widget brings you to Dark Sky, without having to navigate to the app icon.

Getting to the widget is easy and fast — much faster than opening the app. (In fact, it is now the way I most often check the forecast on my phone.)

Apple Watch Improvements

With the release of watchOS 3, the Apple Watch has gotten a lot snappier and more mature. We've integrated a number of these performance improvements under-the-hood to make Dark Sky for Apple Watch load faster and stay updated more reliably.

If the new Dark Sky widget is how I check the forecast most often on my phone, the Dark Sky complication on my watch is how I check the forecast most often, period. So I'm particularly excited for watchOS 3.


Along with these big changes, there are also a bunch of bug fixes and smaller tweaks tucked into this release.

Some of the other new features in iOS 10 we'll have to wait on: While we're practically drooling at the opportunity to integrate Dark Sky with Siri and Apple Maps, those features are currently only available to a small subset of developers, which doesn't include us. (Boo!)

So give the update a try and let us know what you think!