Apple said to be recharting Maps with HopStop buy

Summary:UPDATED: An Apple spokesperson confirmed with a statement.

google-maps-ios

Beyond just going back to the drawing board, it looks like Apple is bringing in plenty of outside (and well-known) help to fix its mobile mapping app.

Bloomberg reported on Friday, based on unnamed sources, that the iPhone maker is in the process of buying HopStop.

The online service offers public transit directions in cities around the world, complete with station information, timetables and more.

Apple hasn't commented publicly on the matter yet, and financial details are unknown.

Unlike some other big names in the Valley (see: Yahoo), Apple doesn't make a lot of acquisitions.

So when they happen, suffice to say they are much more calculated and offer a glimpse into the business strategy of one of the most notoriously private (from a media perspective) companies in the business world.

But if accurate, it gives analysts, the media and end users alike a better idea of what direction (bad pun intended) the Cupertino company is going with its mapping strategy.

Earlier on Friday it was reported first by AllThingsD that Apple is buying big data firm Locationary , which owns a platform for merging and simplifying business listing data.

It's an understatement to say that these services would give a much needed boost to iOS Maps -- let alone put Apple on a better footing to compete with Google Maps.

To recall, Apple Maps presented one of the more public mishaps in the current Tim Cook era. Arguably the iOS 6 app was rushed out far before it was ready given the magnitude of reports about frequently incorrect directions .

The situation became so messy and infuriated users to the point that it prompted an apology from the CEO and even nods to other digital mapping services (see: Google Maps) given front door space on iTunes.

One of the quick fix efforts included hiring a crack team of new developers last fall , and the app is said to have improved somewhat since then based on industry reports.

We could see a full turnaround (yes, another bad pun) for Apple Maps on iOS 7 -- possibly thanks to the resources brought in by these reported acquisitions.

We pinged Apple PR for comment. We'll update this story when we hear back.

UPDATE: An Apple spokesperson responded to our request on Monday morning with the following statement:

Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Apps, iOS, iPhone

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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