Apple buys public transit app startup Embark

Ex-WSJ reporter Jessica Lessin, who recently reported Apple's purchase of chipmaker Passif, is now reporting Apple (AAPL) has bought Embark, a developer of apps (I, II) that provide public transit info and trip-planning tools for several major U.S. cities (NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, etc.). An Apple spokeswoman has confirmed the deal.

If the description for Embark sounds familiar, it might be because it strongly resembles the one for HopStop, a transit app developer whose acquisition by Apple was confirmed last month.

Apple, intent on improving the quality of the oft-criticized Apple Maps and narrowing Google Maps' local/public transit data lead, also recently bought point-of-interest database developer Locationary.

Google, of course, isn't standing still either. It just added Waze's traffic alerts to its Maps apps.

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Comments (3)
  • rickraphael
    , contributor
    Comments (339) | Send Message
    That's great for Apple. Embark is a killer app for NYC subways. Integration with Maps will be excellent.
    22 Aug 2013, 06:39 PM Reply Like
  • gmmpa
    , contributor
    Comments (672) | Send Message
    I have been using an android app that does this in my home city for almost two years now. It is very useful. The app was provided for free by the local transit authority. It includes all rail, bus and trolley routes through out the city and suburbs. It even has a trip planner that allows you to map the routes with all their connections and the times of the vehicle types by name. The train component even updates dynamically when the train is late by stop.


    I am not sure why this is needed unless the plan is to offer an app for every major city in the world in one app. I am planning a trip to London UK soon. When I get there I will check for free transit apps.


    This is what Apple must over come when you enforce a closed architecture although in this case the local transit authority has also written one of these for the iPhone.
    22 Aug 2013, 07:57 PM Reply Like
  • Bill Goodhart
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
    The last commenter has touched on what is the rabbit hole of the app world: the urge or compulsion to have truly up-to-the second information - information that is, you see, out of date the next moment. As someone who has relied on professional coach drivers in cities with which they have little familiarity, I have suffered because - in a word - they cannot see the big picture: they do not have a simple map.
    But, if this will help eliminate the addressing confusion of the present Apple maps, I welcome it.
    23 Aug 2013, 03:55 AM Reply Like
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