By Dan Moren
June 18, 2015 7:23 AM PT
Dark Sky’s new custom alerts make sure it doesn’t rain on your parade
Note: This story has not been updated for several years.
Everybody’s got to deal with weather, every single day. And while we may not all have a weather station in our backyard–coughjasonsnellcough–we can still get our hyperlocal fix with an app like Dark Sky for iOS.
I’ve long been a fan of Dark Sky, but the version released earlier this week brings a couple of new features that I thought particularly worth calling out. For one, a new interface that more clearly breaks down the weather conditions at different points in the day, along with toggles to let you see the hour-by-hour chance of precipitation, wind, humidity, and the UV index. You can also see the same breakdown for any day in the next week.
But where the new version of Dark Sky takes it to the next level is in its custom alerts. Dark Sky’s always been uncannily prescient about its precipitation predictions, popping up alerts to let you know when it’s going to rain or snow, and for how long. But in the latest release you can add alerts for a variety of weather conditions using an almost Mad-Lib-style interface, selecting the time of the alert and the threshold that will trigger a notification.
I also particularly dig that Dark Sky can now deliver a push notification with an overview forecast at a time of your choosing. That way, when I pick up my phone first thing in the morning, there’s already an alert telling me what to expect for the day–without even having to ask Siri. That’s in line with the proactive features that Apple was showing off for iOS 9 during last week’s WWDC keynote. (Although I, and many other allergy sufferers, would probably love an option for pollen counts too.)
Dark Sky’s latest version also makes it easier for you to contribute information to the crowd. Tapping the Report button on the main screen lets you describe the conditions at your current location, as well as choosing whether Dark Sky can use readings from the pressure sensor in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to build a more accurate forecast.
Honestly, if Dark Sky gets any more advanced, it’s going to have to start offering weather control features. Next version, for sure.
[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at email@example.com. The latest novel in his Galactic Cold War series of sci-fi space adventures, The Nova Incident, is available now.]
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