Apple buys journey planning app

Apple has bought Embark, a journey planning app that lets users map out their trips on public transport.

Apple buys journey planning app

The Silicon Valley-based startup offers ten free apps on iOS, covering different transport systems in seven US cities, including New York’s metro-north rail service and its subway. There’s no UK coverage, and Embark doesn’t seem to cover walking or cycling directions, as Google Maps does.

The deal follows Apple’s acquisition of similar public transport app, HopStop, last month.

According to former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin, Apple has bought the small team of developers for an unknown sum, and plans to implement Embark’s planning technology into Apple Maps. An Apple spokesperson confirmed the deal to Lessin.

Embark was one of the planning apps recommended by Apple last autumn, after the company replaced Google Maps with its own mapping app in iOS 6. Users revolted against Apple Maps’ poor quality and the company was forced to apologise for the slip-up.

Apple did attempt to integrate journey planner-style features into its original app, but eventually recommended third-party providers, including Embark.

Even if Apple does improve its journey planning features, it’ll be some way behind Google Maps, which has public transport data for more than 500 cities globally, including those in the UK.

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