iPadOS 16 is slated to bring a slew of productivity and multitasking features to the iPad when it releases to the public in the fall, but it’ll also debut with a simple function that has been withheld from the tablet for years: a weather app. Though the weather app has been included on the iPhone and receives improvements through iOS updates, it hasn’t made its way to the iPad. Even before Apple split the software versions between the iPhone and iPad, the latter was left without essential functions, like a weather app and calculator. As the company focused on other additions to the best-selling tablet, it was clear that adding a weather app was not a priority. So, what changed? Like some of Apple’s other software endeavors, it starts with an acquisition.
With some software additions, Apple searches outside the company for solutions, especially if it feels like a third-party solution already solves a problem adequately. This can be seen in the company’s portfolio of services today, namely with regard to music. Apple Music, one of Apple’s more prominent subscription services, started in part with the acquisition of Beats by Dre. Beats One, a music subscription service hosted by Beats by Dre, essentially became Apple Music. For new music discovery, the company also acquired Shazam, a service that listens to music in a user’s environment to identify the track’s name. In the years after these acquisitions, the feature set that once remained independent is slowly incorporated into the main operating system.
The years-long journey of a weather app for iPad started in March 2020, when Apple acquired Dark Sky, a third-party weather app popular on both iOS and Android. Immediately following the acquisition, the Dark Sky app was no longer available for download on Android and WearOS devices. Though there were no service interruptions for existing users at the time of the deal, the company said that the application would be completely shut down for Android users on July 1, 2020. This shutdown date was eventually extended to August 1, 2020, when any existing subscribers were refunded. As all this change was happening, there were no service interruptions for iOS users, but the application’s days were numbered.
Following the acquisition of Dark Sky, the iOS weather app slowly gained new features thanks to the incredible forecasting technology pioneered by the company. Abilities like real-time weather conditions, a more accurate 10-day forecast, precipitation maps and more were added to the pre-installed Apple Weather app. At this point, it became clear that Apple intended to incorporate all of Dark Sky’s features into its stock weather app. This was confirmed in June 2022, when Dark Sky announced that the iOS app would shut down beginning on Dec. 31, 2022, and all weather data would be unavailable. However, the Dark Sky API and website would continue functioning until March 31, 2023.
In the announcement, Dark Sky freely stated that the company’s forecast technology is “enhanced and integrated into the all-new Apple Weather forecast, powering Apple’s updated Weather app,” per a press release. The updated information was released on June 6, 2022 — the same date as the keynote event for the Worldwide Developers Conference, where Apple announced an updated Weather app that will appear on the iPad in the fall. For whatever reason, the company couldn’t produce a Weather app fit for the iPad on its own and instead acquired a bonafide weather application to finally bring a quintessential feature to the tablet.