Apple ended March on a high note with the acquisition of weather app Dark Sky. Dark Sky announced the acquisition in a March 31 blog post. For now, there won’t be any changes to the iOS version of the app, and it will still be available in the App Store for $3.99. However, the Android and Google’s Wear OS apps will get the axe, as Dark Sky will no longer be available for download. Existing users and subscribers will be able to access the app until July 1, 2020. Refunds will be issued to users who have paid for the app beyond July 1. Details of the agreement were not disclosed.
Dark Sky also announced that weather forecasts, maps and embeds will be available on its website until July 1. After that, the website will be active in support of API and iOS app customers. Dark Sky will no longer be accepting new signups for API. The current API will continue to work through the end of 2021.
“Our goal has always been to provide the world with the best weather information possible, to help as many people as we can stay dry and safe, and to do so in a way that respects your privacy,” said Dark Sky co-founder Adam Grossman.
“There is no better place to accomplish these goals than at Apple. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to reach far more people, with far more impact, than we ever could alone.”
This acquisition will add another service tool to Apple’s toolbox, potentially bringing in additional subscription-based recurring revenue in the future. About this time last year, Apple announced three major additions to its subscription-based offerings including Apple News+, Apple Arcade and Apple TV+.
- Apple News+: This app builds on the free Apple News app available to all iOS users. For $9.99 a month, after a one-month free trial, the premium app allows subscribers to access hundreds of magazines and newspapers. This service seems to be off to a rocky start. It has a nice variety of magazines, but only a handful of popular newspapers including The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times.
- Apple Arcade: Apple’s new subscription gaming service has over 100 new and exclusive, ad-free games playable on Apple devices. A subscription is $4.99 a month after the free trial, and it can be used by up to six family members.
- Apple TV+: This new service features new Apple Originals (e.g., Home Before Dark, The Morning Show, Trying) every month, and it is only available through the Apple TV app. For those who buy an Apple device, the first year is free if the offer is redeemed within the first 90 days of purchase. Otherwise, a subscription is required; Apple TV+ is $4.99 a month after a free seven-day trial.
These subscription-based services are in addition to Apple Music and other Apple services. At the end of Apple’s first fiscal quarter of 2020, ended December 28, 2019, the company had 480 million paid subscribers, an increase of 120 million year over year. The company had $12.7 billion in revenue for that quarter, exceeding all other revenue categories except for iPhone sales.
We aren’t sure what Apple’s interest in a weather app is, but we are sure it is part of a larger strategy to provide the most popular apps to iOS customers to ensure they find their devices impossible to live without. Since the API for the iOS version of the app will remain the same until the end of 2021, this looks like a long play on Apple’s part. It is likely a continuation of Apple’s strategy to grow its recurring revenue base, moving away from a reliance on device sales as those can ebb and flow.