Monday, August 31, 2020

Lying Apps

These monsoon clouds looked glorious through my polarized sunglasses but not as good with the default iPhone setting.

I noticed a month or two back that the Weather Channel iPhone app started offering in-app purchases for additional functionality. I also noticed that the default iPhone Weather app that ships with iOS started to become less accurate around the same time. The Weather Channel supplies the weather to the iPhone app. Weather varies a lot from place to place but I strongly suspect the Weather Channel of intentionally degrading the quality of the forecasts they provide to the Apple app. This is particularly true since I have the Weather Channel app and the forecasts don't agree with the default Weather app. It doesn't seem like a bug.

The obvious motivation for this would be to drive people to their app and therefore presumably generate more revenue from in-app purchases. No doubt the Weather Channel app would be one of the preferred choices for consumers who become disappointed with the forecasts in the default app, but they have some competitors. There is no guarantee that people would always choose their app.

I never blame a company for trying to make money but one wonders if Apple will. They can probably seek other sources of weather forecasting for their default app if they want to keep shipping it with iOS. I wonder if Apple has noticed this yet or if they were a party to it? It seems like a particularly sneaky move.

If the Weather Channel were being clever, they would retain high quality forecasts for the Silicon Valley area, and only degrade forecasts elsewhere in the world.

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