In the wake of the criticism faced by Apple Inc. for its below par location and navigation services on the iOS 6, the popular consumer electronics manufacturer is pulling out all the stops to ensure that such eventualities won’t arise when its operating system in its latest iteration (iOS 7) is made available this fall. This past week, Apple acquired two online mapping services – Locationary and HopStop.
The mapping service on iOS 6 didn’t meet expectations as many users were left with wrong directions and misplaced landmarks. Users were left with no option but to rely on Google’s mapping apps for the iPhone and iPad. These apps quickly went on to become some of the highest grossing apps at Apple’s very own App Store.
Last week’s acquisitions were made to give a much needed boost to Apple’s own mapping app – Apple Maps 2.0 (expected this fall along with iOS 7) so that it could pose as an alternative to the now default choice – Google Maps.
Officials at Apple Inc. did not hail this move with much fanfare by stating that,
Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans, company spokesperson, Kristin Huguet.
A Look at the Acquisitions
Toronto based Locationary collects and analyses data to help create more accurate maps. It is a user edited database of popular restaurants, hotels, tourist attractions, etc. there-by focussing on business location maps. Locationary will also allow Apple Maps 2.0 users to gain access to detailed and comprehensive information on surrounding hotspots of interest. It specializes in geo-location and discerning the nature of the particular hotspot in question. Whether it is a fast food joint, restaurant, hotel, bar and the like.
HopSpot, on the other hand is a New York based enterprise that is more of a transit based app that provides detailed information about various subways, buses, trains, taxis, walking and even biking directions. It also features real-time transit information via the HopStop Live service.
The HopStop service has been made available in more than 600 cities throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, also including 140 major metropolitan areas. HopStop is a highly recommended app in replacement to Apple Maps and is the 7th highest grossing free navigation app at the App Store.
As per the Company’s website, HopStop allows you to:
• Get directions or find nearby subway stations and bus stops with our free mobile apps
• Send directions by email directly from our website
• Plan a trip with multiple destinations
• Estimate travel time and cost for a taxi
• Get estimates for calories burned and carbon emissions savings for your route
• Find wheelchair accessible and stroller friendly routes
• Check out Real-Time Alerts and Planned Service Changes
• See Transit Maps and Schedules
• Do Nearby Station searches
Apple’s officials have remained tight lipped on the terms of these acquisitions but at the moment these moves by Apple seem to be attempts at addressing the issues faced by users and provide them with hassle free navigation solutions.