Apple has reportedly bought HopStop, a New York based location company that provides real-time social transit navigation in 7 countries, for 700 transit agencies, on 20,000 lines, and 750,000 stops. According to Peter Borrows and Sarah Frier for Bloomberg:
Apple Inc. (AAPL) agreed to buy online transit-navigation service HopStop.com Inc., people with knowledge of the deal said, seeking to improve mapping tools after a rocky debut for its directions software last year.
When Apple relaunched their Maps app with iOS 6 in 2012, it was without the transit directions that many users of the previous, Google-powered versions depended on. Apple will bring their Maps to the Mac later this year with OS X Mavericks.
If, when, and how a HopStop acquisition will help Apple Maps in that regard isn't immediately clear. What is clear, however, is that Apple continues to invest heavily in mapping companies and their technology. To date, that includes HopStop, Locationary, WiFiSLAM, 3C Technologies, Poly9, and Placebase.
That being said, it'd be nice to see at least basic transit directions return to the built-in Maps app, wouldn't it?