According to reporter Jessica Lessin, Apple has bought yet another small company to boost its mapping and navigation services. This time it’s Embark, a small company that released free apps to help travelers work out the details of public transport in different cities.
Embark from Embark on Vimeo.
Apple is said to have confirmed the deal with Lessin, and followed up with its familiar “no further comment” claim on acquisition of small companies. Embark was a 2011 startup that created free apps targeting commuters and travelers to U.S. cities and several other regions around the world. BMW invested in the small firm last year, at which point Embark said it had about 500,000 users.
When it revealed its own Maps app as part of a protracted battle with Google over the maps applications on iOS, Apple promoted the service’s ability to help tackle public transportation, and this acquisition is clearly a quick and easy way to add extra features to that part of the app. Recently Apple bought HopStop, which took a slightly different approach to navigating cities. Apple’s earlier purchase of Locationary wasn’t transit-related but instead provided accurate locations for businesses. Apple has clearly been on a tear to spend some of its vast cash hoard to improve its navigation offerings, probably timed to coincide with the upcoming release of iOS 7.