Apple has kept itself pretty busy in 2013 by snapping up mapping companies to improve its Maps application, and now it looks like we can add another to the list.
Apple today confirmed to former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin that it recently acquired Embark, a company that creates apps with mass transit information for cities such as Boston, Chicago, New York and San Francisco. "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans," an Apple spokesperson said.
With the release of iOS 6 in 2012, Apple ditched the Google Maps app that had been included in every other version of iOS to date and instead launched its own Maps app. The move frustrated a lot of users and caused CEO Tim Cook to pen an open apology, who went so far as to recommend other mapping apps that iOS users could try instead.
Embark is just the latest in a long line of mapping companies that Apple has purchased so far in 2013. For example, the Cupertino firm acquired indoor GPS company WiFiSLAM back in March, and it followed that up by buying transit navigation service HopStop and location data company Locationary in July. Apple definitely appears to be dedicated to improving its own Maps app and making up for its previous Maps fiasco, especially when it comes to mass transit data. Exactly when we'll see the results of all of these acquisitions isn't clear, but the upcoming launch of iOS 7 is certainly one possibility.
Via Jessica Lessin