When Apple (AAPL) tried its hand at smartphone maps back in September 2012, the result was an unmitigated disaster.
The iOS map application was so bad that CEO Tim Cook issued an apology to iPhone users for putting out such a bad product. Apple proved it wasn’t infallible, and the stock dropped about 5% in the week following the application’s release — the start of a very steep downward trend that saw AAPL fall from $700 to below $400 at a couple points earlier this year.
Now, however, it looks like the company is trying to get its map app back on track.
Apple just snatched up Embark, a startup company behind public transportation applications. As Jessica Lessin notes in her report, Apple opted out of providing public transportation data in its application last year to cut down on the amount of data being processed. But the recent acquisition — as well as its July purchase of Canadian Big Data startup Locationary — suggests Apple wants to expand the capabilities of the app.
Will Embark be enough to make Apple Maps a viable alternative to Google’s (GOOG) Google Maps? Not by itself, no. But if the acquisition is part of a larger movement by Apple to refocus its efforts around the application, there’s a good chance that Tim Cook & Co. could put out a better — if still imperfect — product.
Adam Benjamin is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.