Seemingly determined to come out with a solution that competes against Google Maps, Apple is on a mapping acquisition streak. The company has reportedly snapped up yet another mapping technology company.
This time, Apple is betting on Embark. Embark is a application designed to make it easy to get around cities using mass transit. Among other features, the iOS and Android application tells users when trains and busses are coming and will send push notifications when services are delayed.
With over half a million users and rapid growth, Embark's mobile application is working to bring urban transportation into the age of the smartphone and has attracted plenty of investors -- including BMW. Embark is available for 12 major transportation systems in the United States and the United Kingdom. Recently, Embark won best transit and mobility app awards from the New York MTA App Quest and NYC Big Apps 3.0 contests.
Stacking Up Mapping Tech
We caught up with Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, to get his thoughts on Apple's latest mapping acquisition. He told us this is another company in the mass transit arena that also offers the iPhone-maker some useful data and technology, such as offline transit maps.
"This acquisition complements the HopStop acquisition from just a few weeks ago," Sterling added. "This, HopStop and the earlier Locationary buy indicate that Apple is further beefing up its mapping and location data capabilities to try and better serve Apple users and compete with Google Maps. Mapping is one of the key capabilities of mobile devices and, arguably, for the iPhone to remain competitive with Android the core maps on the device must be top-tier."
Apple has struggled to get its mapping software on the right track after an embarrassing debut and plenty of consumer backlash. HopStop brought a pedestrian navigation service to the mix. HopStop offers door-to-door walking, biking, transit, taxi and hourly car rental directions to city residents and tourists alike.
For its part, Locationary provides mobile and web solutions to manage disparate profile information about local businesses. The -based local data management system offers data updates from a global community, business owners and other publishers.
When Apple bought Placebase in 2009, rumors started speculating that the company would replace Google Maps on the iPhone. But when Apple Maps debuted as part of iOS 6 about three years later, it fell into the product launch disaster category. In fact, it was so embarrassing for the company that it led to an executive shakeup.
Apple has steadily been making mapping technology acquisitions since then. With iOS 7, the company could try to make up for its mapping faux pas in iOS 6. But while Apple is making its moves, Google hasn't stopped innovating. If Apple can't get it right this time, consumers may give the iPhone-maker the ultimate cold shoulder.
Posted: 2013-08-23 @ 2:11pm PT
. . . The basic message is o.k., but both quoted Sterling and author LeClaire committed the grammatical error of using "try and" -- correctly it's "try to" -- which in both cases would have read better (assertively) without the two qualifying words.