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Apple turns to Silicon Valley startup to rescue maps app

Apple has reportedly made another acquisition intended to bolster its struggling Maps app.

According to former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin, Apple has purchased Silicon Valley startup Embark, Inc. and will incorporate the company's tech into Apple Maps.

"We make mass transit simple," Embark says on its website. It has apps for transit systems in cities including Boston, Chicago and New York, with trip planning, interactive maps, and alerts.

It sounds similar to HopStop, another public transit app that Apple purchased in July. Also last month, Apple inked a deal to acquire crowdsourced location data company Locationary.

Apple confirmed the deal to Lessin. Embark did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Embark dates back to 2011. It was previously known as Pandav but re-branded as Embark in January 2012. "We fell in love with the name Embark because it encompasses what we do now and our aspirations for the future," the company said at the time.

In November 2012, BMW made a strategic investment in Embark, which was intended to help Embark "explore ways to partner with BMW and to expand geographically," the company said at the time.

BMW is among the car manufacturers that has committed to Siri Eyes Free.

The Embark purchase comes after CEO Tim Cook publicly apologised for Apple maps in late September last year, even suggesting that users, in the meantime, use rival applications like Bing, MapQuest, and Waze (since acquired by Google).