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The new Apple Inc. Maps app icon is seen on an Apple Inc. iPhone 5 in this arranged photograph in London, U.K., on Friday, Sept. 21, 2012. Apple Inc. is poised for a record iPhone 5 debut and may not be able to keep up with demand as customers lined up in Sydney, Tokyo, Paris and New York to pick up the latest model of its top-selling product. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
It may be time to put away that paper fold-out map, Apple is making key purchases to step up its game in the mobile mapping market.
On Friday, July 19, Apple purchased HopStop, an online city transit guide which provides public transit, walking, biking, and taxi directions for over 300 cities worldwide. HopStop is still available for Android devices through the Google Play store and for Apple devices through the Apple Store, but the Windows phone version of the app has vanished since Friday’s purchase.
Additionally, All Things Digital reported that Apple recently confirmed its acquisition of the Toronto-based startup Locationary. While the purpose of the acquisition hasn’t been officially revealed, it’s safe to guess that Locationary will be helping Apple, alongside HotStop, to revamp the long-critiqued Apple Maps for iOS devices.
Locationary employs a technology called Saturn, which will undoubtedly be useful for Apple. Saturn merges up-to-date data from multiple sources and uses crowd sourcing to help manage data about local businesses and contacts.
Bringing Hotspot and Locationary into the realm of Apple products will add to the ongoing process of making the company’s mobile maps more accurate, more interactive and more user-friendly.
The public seems hungry for accurate, location-specific information on their phones and in spite of past blunders, tech giants like Apple and Google are eager to solidify public trust in their mapping systems.
Shortly after Apple’s iOS 6 maps debuted in September of 2012, the public and the tech world griped about a variety of mistakes in the mapping software, including mistaking farms for airports and London, England, with London, Ontario. In response, Apple CEO, Tim Cook, apologized for the “frustration” with Apple’s iOS6 Maps and even suggested that users try out other mobile mapping technologies while Apple worked out the glitches.
Following Tim Cook’s apology, Locationary CEO Grant Ritchie wrote an article for Tech Crunch about “5 Big Map App issues Apple Must Solve” in which he talked about the often unseen importance of data integration.
Ritchie noted,“This is why the industry will need proper platforms and tools to address these challenges and to progress into the real-time world that we all anticipate: where products, inventory, menus, deals, events, and job postings are synchronized across every mobile device and users can instantly transact regardless of app or device”
Apple apparently wants to hear more of Ritchie’s advice, and hopefully that synchronization will make the world a little easier for people navigating the world with their Apple mobile devices.