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Apple Buys Embark Transit Application

Apple has reportedly bought yet another location-based services company. This one is called Embark and offers transit applications for numerous cities across the United States. Word comes from Jessica Lain, who cites people with knowledge of the deal that say Apple plans to directly integrate Embark's technology into its own mapping application.

Apple is giving the usual line on this one: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans." The company spouted the same statement when it purchased HopStop in late July (HopStop offers transit information and navigation for 300 cities around the world) and Toronto-based location database startup Locationary.

Apple last year stepped away from Google Maps and began shipping iPhones with its own solution, Apple Maps, installed. Though the application got off to a rocky start, it's improving and the purchase of services like Locationary, HopStop and now Embark will go a long way toward improving the app. One thing is for sure, a year on from the release of Apple Maps, the future of the application is looking very different.

While Embark's news section makes no mention of the acquisition (in fact, the last update was November last year, when the company received funding from BMW), the front page of Embark's website now lists support for only Apple's iOS. Embark covers seven cities and 10 transit systems. These are: Boston's MBTA, Chicago's CTA L and METRA, Long Island's LIRR, New Jersey's NJ Transit, New York's Subway and Metro Noth, San Francisco's Caltrain and Bart, and Washington DC's Metro.