Apple adds another mapping startup to the collection: Embark

Apple must be stockpiling mapping app startups now.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Apple is revealing just how serious it is about improving its mobile mapping platform with its third acquisition in weeks.

According to former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin, the latest target is Embark, a mobile app development company focusing on mass transit maps, directions, and alerts in real-time.

Embark currently has 10 apps available for iOS devices, covering public transportion networks in New York, New Jersey, Long Island, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

Financial terms of the deal are still unknown, and Apple itself has yet to confirm the acquisition.

Regardless, all signs point toward a very serious and possibly dramatic overhaul for the iOS mapping platform.

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.

In July alone, reports swirled when Apple bought up big data and mapping firm Locationary along with another mass transit mapping and directions platform, HopStop.

In fact, while it has yet to rival the shopping spree over at Yahoo, Apple has been stockpiling startups lately.

For example earlier in August, Lessin reported that Apple picked up Oakland-based chip maker Passif, possibly for future wearable technology designs.

Note: We pinged Apple PR for comment, and we will update this post when we hear back.

Image via Embark

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