Apple has already showed that it cares about making public transit directions available in Apple Maps with its purchase of HopStop. Now it’s doubling down with the reported acquisition of Embark, a maker of sleek public transit apps that cover cities including New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.
Former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin reports that the deal happened recently and that the overall goal will be to integrate Embark’s technology and handy directions into Apple Maps. The price of the deal was not reported.
Apple Maps has been a thorn in Apple’s usually polished side for a long while, and one sticking point for people in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and other major cities with public transit infrastructure is that Apple Maps sends you to third-party apps for transit directions. Google Maps, the leader in the field, includes excellent public transit directions inside its app.
The Embark apps for iOS are still live (such as the Embark NYC Subway and Embark DC Metro apps). However, Embark’s apps for Android appear to be no longer available for download.
Apple did not confirm the acquisition but instead gave us the same statement it gives every time it snatches up a small company: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”