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Apple's Embark acquisition could bring transit information to Apple Maps

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
Apple has acquired yet another mapping company, this time snapping up Embark, a move that has the potential to bring public transit information to Apple's in-house Maps app.



Sources familiar with the deal say that Apple acquired Embark's entire team and will directly integrate Embark's technology into Apple Maps. News of the acquisition broke on Friday, with Jessica Lessin securing a confirmation from an Apple spokesperson that the Embark buy had occurred.

"Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time," the spokesperson said, "and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."

Embark also makes apps for Google's Android platform, and the future of those applications is as yet unknown, as Apple declined to comment. Previous Apple acquisitions of cross-platform developers have resulted in a loss of support for those competing platforms, as was the case with HopStop's Windows Phone app and Chomp's Android compatibility when Apple bought out those developers.

Embark's current App Store offerings include public transit information apps for New York City, San Francisco, Boston, New Jersey, Chicago, Washington, D.C., the Long Island Railroad, Caltrain, the Metro-North commuter system, and the Metra commuter rail system.

Embark was one of the apps Apple pointed to in the wake Apple Maps' introduction with iOS 6. In dropping Google Maps as the default option, Apple effectively removed the most popular public transit information option from its platform, a move that drew complaints from some users.

The move is the latest in a number of location service buys Apple has made since 2009. In that year, Apple bought Placebase, and that buy was followed by Poly9 in 2010 and C3 Technologies in 2011. In this year, Apple has purchased WifiSlam, Locationary, HopStop, and now Embark.
post #2 of 36
Time for an official renaming? Mapple?
post #3 of 36
It looks like Apple is continuing to add more functionality to Apple Maps in an attempt to present the best app it can.

I am looking forward to seeing Maps in iOS 7.

On an editorial note, did the news break Friday or Thursday? This is the first day I heard about the purchase.
post #4 of 36
The sad thing here is that even though they are (finally!) moving on this, it will be at least iOS 8 before we actually see usable information in Apple's maps. Maybe by that time they will have maps of my city that aren't a joke also? So that's two or three full years of their maps not working at all before they (might) be okay again. Great.
post #5 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

The sad thing here is that even though they are (finally!) moving on this, it will be at least iOS 8 before we actually see usable information in Apple's maps. Maybe by that time they will have maps of my city that aren't a joke also? So that's two or three full years of their maps not working at all before they (might) be okay again. Great.

And what city would that be?
post #6 of 36
Cool. I have both the Embark iBART and Embark SF apps.
Looking forward to seeing Apple improve them and/or the Maps app.

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post #7 of 36
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Embark also makes apps for Google's Android platform, and the future of those applications is as yet unknown ...

 

You get one guess.  Think hard.

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post #8 of 36

Hmm. I guess Embark and Embarq can both exist in the tech realm due to the former only being maps and the latter an ISP. Seems a fine line to toe.

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Originally posted by Relic

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post #9 of 36
Originally Posted by GregInPrague View Post


And what city would that be?

 

Somewhere in the Cheese.

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post #10 of 36
This is what Apple needs to do. Quickly fix all shortcomings of the maps app through acquisition of personnel and technology with experience in that sector.

Acquire as many companies with valid/usable technology and patents as 10 billion will buy.

Continue to innovate but at an accelerated rate to bring those products to market.

Make a bigger better screen for the iPhone sooner rather than later. Not a phablet but at least 4.5-5".

Continue to grow the Apple Eco system.

And maybe be one ad about the failings of android or Samsung. Please!!!

2010 15" MBP, iPhone 5 64GB, New iPad 64GB LTE, (2) ATV 2nd Gen

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post #11 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pujones1 View Post

This is what Apple needs to do. Fix the shitty Yelp POI data.

 

FTFY.

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

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   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

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post #12 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

The sad thing here is that even though they are (finally!) moving on this, it will be at least iOS 8 before we actually see usable information in Apple's maps. Maybe by that time they will have maps of my city that aren't a joke also? So that's two or three full years of their maps not working at all before they (might) be okay again. Great.

Why a major release and not a dot release? They added Street View with 2.4
post #13 of 36

Oh, fantastic. Embark is my favorite app for mass transit. Best designed, anyway. Hopefully will show the way forward (graphically) for Apple's Maps integration.

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post #14 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

The sad thing here is that even though they are (finally!) moving on this, it will be at least iOS 8 before we actually see usable information in Apple's maps. Maybe by that time they will have maps of my city that aren't a joke also? So that's two or three full years of their maps not working at all before they (might) be okay again. Great.

I'm hoping we see an announcement with some of this tech in September.

At this point all they have to do is bake in the tech these companies have already developed much like what Google did with Waze.

Hoping it doesn't take a year for that to happen.
post #15 of 36
I tried searching the web but I couldn't get a answer, so I'll ask here.

How much has google spent on their mapping efforts? I guess it would be a number in the range of billions, but I would like to read something about that.
post #16 of 36
I think that Apple should purchase HTC. HTC has made very good phones like the One. They have needed manufacturing capacity. Apple should switch them over to IOS and let them make phones that are released when At different times than when apple releases products.

Apple makes great looking phones but they aren't the only ones capable of beautiful products. As it is their output is too restricted by the time constraints of individuals like jony Ive. They need to radically expand the IOS user base and the best way to do that is via an acquisition that could act as semi-independent subsidiary.

If Google can buy Moto then Apple can buy HTC.
post #17 of 36
Originally Posted by K2kW View Post
Apple should switch them over to IOS and let them make phones that are released when At different times than when apple releases products.

 

Nope. Never going to happen, nor should it.


As it is their output is too restricted by the time constraints of individuals like jony Ive.

 

And this means what, exactly?


 They need to radically expand the IOS user base

 

90% of all tablets in use, 30% of all phones in use, and 70% of all personal music players. No, they don't.

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Originally posted by Relic

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post #18 of 36
Will it work in Great Britain?
post #19 of 36
Embark has a very nice and user interface but lacks the walking, Bike and Bus capabilities. That's where HopStop comes in.

Integrate the 2 for a fast Apple Maps winning combination.

Go Apple Go, Go, Go...
post #20 of 36

Hey.... I use their SF Bart app... and yes I do want a Twinkie or cookie for announcing that info. Can't speak for other cities but the Bart app is okay but nothing special. Good for when I need to take the train on an airport or weekend trip on occasion, not for everyday use.

post #21 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Nope. Never going to happen, nor should it.

 

And this means what, exactly?

 

90% of all tablets in use, 30% of all phones in use, and 70% of all personal music players. No, they don't.

 

I agree. Apple doesn't need to be weighed down by buying a phone manufacturer. Let 'em compete for Apple's orders.

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post #22 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

The sad thing here is that even though they are (finally!) moving on this, it will be at least iOS 8 before we actually see usable information in Apple's maps. Maybe by that time they will have maps of my city that aren't a joke also? So that's two or three full years of their maps not working at all before they (might) be okay again. Great.
Being using Apple Maps in the Los Angels Orange County areas with good results
post #23 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by K2kW View Post

I think that Apple should purchase HTC. HTC has made very good phones like the One. They have needed manufacturing capacity. Apple should switch them over to IOS and let them make phones that are released when At different times than when apple releases products.

Apple makes great looking phones but they aren't the only ones capable of beautiful products. As it is their output is too restricted by the time constraints of individuals like jony Ive. They need to radically expand the IOS user base and the best way to do that is via an acquisition that could act as semi-independent subsidiary.

If Google can buy Moto then Apple can buy HTC.
How about Apple make an Android phone
post #24 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by K2kW View Post

I think that Apple should purchase HTC. HTC has made very good phones like the One. They have needed manufacturing capacity. Apple should switch them over to IOS and let them make phones that are released when At different times than when apple releases products.

Apple makes great looking phones but they aren't the only ones capable of beautiful products. As it is their output is too restricted by the time constraints of individuals like jony Ive. They need to radically expand the IOS user base and the best way to do that is via an acquisition that could act as semi-independent subsidiary.

If Google can buy Moto then Apple can buy HTC.

 

If all it took to make an acquisition work was to have the money to make the deal, Apple wouldn't have stopped with HTC. Apple has the money to buy Netflix and Nokia. They can throw in Nvidia and BBRY just for laughs. When they're done making the respective shareholders of these companies ridiculously rich, Apple would still have plenty of cash leftover. 

 

That's not how an acquisition becomes successful. And HTC is a terrible candidate for an acquisition on so many levels. HTC doesn't own any manufacturing capacity of their own. Unless I'm mistaken, they design the devices but others manufacture them. And why stop at just buying HTC and running them as a semi-independent subsidiary. Why not go for universal licensing? That will "radically expand the iOS user base."

post #25 of 36

This is good news. In 2011, Americans took 10.4 billion trips on public transportation, the 2nd highest annual ridership number since 1957.

 

Excluding transit directions from Apple Maps never made much sense. The 3rd party app integration is an unreliable and ungraceful kludge, at best. Not very Apple-like at all. 

post #26 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pujones1 View Post

This is what Apple needs to do. Quickly fix all shortcomings of the maps app through acquisition of personnel and technology with experience in that sector.

Acquire as many companies with valid/usable technology and patents as 10 billion will buy.

Continue to innovate but at an accelerated rate to bring those products to market.

Make a bigger better screen for the iPhone sooner rather than later. Not a phablet but at least 4.5-5".

Continue to grow the Apple Eco system.

And maybe be one ad about the failings of android or Samsung. Please!!!

 

Ridiculous. Apple doesn't need, nor should it ever, address the competition. Apple's ads, like luxury brands, don't need to acknowledge the competition. Why give Samsung screen time? A larger screen isn't innovation. Unless you're Samsuck.
post #27 of 36
For those interested, here's another Apple site that focuses on Apple patents.

http://www.patentlyapple.com
post #28 of 36

Embark: great products!

post #29 of 36
For Apple to really get a handle on their multitude of competitors, they need to start buying up or taking controlling interests in the companies that supply materials to make those products. In other words, buy up the miners, plastics suppliers, base component suppliers, etc. Hit 'em right in their pocketbooks.

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post #30 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

For Apple to really get a handle on their multitude of competitors, they need to start buying up or taking controlling interests in the companies that supply materials to make those products. In other words, buy up the miners, plastics suppliers, base component suppliers, etc. Hit 'em right in their pocketbooks.

Are you really that crazy or just having mindless moments?

Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

 

"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete...

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Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

 

"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete...

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post #31 of 36
If they can buy the little start up companies in the US for a reasonable price, they should also buy other local mapping companies outside if the states. That would improve the quality of Maps outside of North America, where the real issues are.
post #32 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by vvswarup View Post

 

If all it took to make an acquisition work was to have the money to make the deal, Apple wouldn't have stopped with HTC. Apple has the money to buy Netflix and Nokia. They can throw in Nvidia and BBRY just for laughs. When they're done making the respective shareholders of these companies ridiculously rich, Apple would still have plenty of cash leftover. 

 

That's not how an acquisition becomes successful. And HTC is a terrible candidate for an acquisition on so many levels. HTC doesn't own any manufacturing capacity of their own. Unless I'm mistaken, they design the devices but others manufacture them. And why stop at just buying HTC and running them as a semi-independent subsidiary. Why not go for universal licensing? That will "radically expand the iOS user base."

Agreed! Acquisitions for acquisitions sake and you turn into HP! See where that got them!

post #33 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Realistic View Post

Are you really that crazy or just having mindless moments?

Thanks for trolling. Go back to sleep now.

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post #34 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drunkzombie View Post

If they can buy the little start up companies in the US for a reasonable price, they should also buy other local mapping companies outside if the states. That would improve the quality of Maps outside of North America, where the real issues are.

Which companies in particular?

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post #35 of 36
Yep...mass transit is definitely needed for maps, as is bike routes. Bike routes should be easy because it's mostly the same as walking routes with the restriction that you can't go down a one-way street the wrong way, although Apple could take it one step farther than Google if they highlighted bike lanes and "rail trails". I noticed recently that the Cape Cod rail trails aren't on Apple's maps at all, although one entrance to a rail trail is.

It seems to me that Apple didn't really need to buy a company to get train data, since that's a manageable amount of information and it's easily accessible - the largest mass transit subway system is NYC's and that's 468 stations. I bet I could personally plug these into a map in a few days. BART (SF) has 44 stations, Boston has 270 including light rail, Washington, DC has 86, Chicago has 145 and the L.A. subway has 80. London has 270, Paris has 303, the Munich U-Bahn has 100 and the S-Bahn has 148, Tokyo has 179, Moscow has 188, etc.

But bus info is far more complex and a bit harder to come by, so it makes sense to buy a company for that data.

I'd also like to see more intelligent use of traffic data. If you're coming up on a traffic jam, Maps combined with Siri should ask you if you want a new route. You simply answer "Yes" and it re-routes.

I'd also like the ability to pin a bunch of restaurants or sites on a map and have the Maps app tell me when they're coming up and how far away from my chosen route they are.

These are the kinds of incremental improvements that can make these apps far more useful. While the critics scream for Apple to come up with a whole new line of products, usability and functional improvements are what we really need.
post #36 of 36
Here in Uruguay we have at least two apps that have all the bus routes and they are fairly accurate and keep up to date with the changes to the schedules and routes.
If we could get that info integrated into the Apple maps app it would make it way more useful.
I'm thinking most countries have some kind of like these.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Which companies in particular?
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