Last month Apple bought Locationary and Hop Stop. The point of the first was to improve the overall quality of local data for Apple Maps and the second was for mass transit information. Apparently, according to former WSJ reporter Jessica Lessin, Apple has made another buy for transit purposes.
The company has acquired app developer Embark. The company offers free public transit apps for 10 US cities — though its ambitions are global. Interestingly BMW was one of its investors.
Key features of Embark apps are:
- Step-by-step trip planning
- Offline functionality
- Notifications (e.g., re delays)
Apple likely acquired the app for the data, its functionality (which will make its way into Apple Maps) and probably also the team.
It will be interesting to see where Apple Maps is relative to Google Maps in six months. Google has been introducing new features to Maps, some derived from the Waze acquisition. And its reputation continues to be much better than Apple Maps’.
The Embark acquisition marks the seventh company Apple has bought related to mapping and/or location.
- HopStop Bought By Apple For Public Transit Data
- Apple Buys Locationary To Clean Up The Location Data Mess
- Apple Hiring ‘Ground Truth’ Managers To Improve Maps
- Apple Buys Indoor Location Company, What’s It Up To?
- Apple Vs. Google Maps: Reality Check Time
- Seeking Maps Fix, Apple Fires Mapping Team Manager And Asks Outsiders For Help