GADGET DESIGNER Apple reportedly has acquired public transport mapping firm Embark in a bid to boost its own Maps service.
Ex-Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin got confirmation from Apple that it picked up the public transit startup, although the firm has not revealed how much cash it threw at the buyout or said what it plans to do with the firm.
Instead, an Apple spokeswoman said vaguely in a statement, "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."
However, it doesn't take a genius to work out what Apple will do with Embark, a startup founded in 2011 that creates iOS and Android applications that offer public transport directions across 10 cities in the US. The firm's app, which reportedly has already disappeared from Google Play, offers users step-by-step trip planning, offline functionality and notifications regarding delays.
In fact, Embark's functionality sounds quite like that of Waze, albeit relating public transport, a firm that Apple reportedly looked into acquiring before it was snapped up by Google.
Apple's acquisition of Embark is the fourth mapping firm Apple has bought this year. Last month the company picked up another public transport firm, Hopstop, just weeks after it acquired Locationary, a firm that uses crowdsourced data to pinpoint local businesses. Earlier this year, Apple also acquired Wifislam, a firm that offers indoor location data.
Users could start seeing the fruits of Apple's latest acquisition when iOS 7 arrives on devices, with a rollout reportedly scheduled for 20 September. µ