Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) purchased HopStop.com, an online transit-navigation app developer as the iPhone and iPad maker aims to enhance its mapping service to strengthen its competitiveness in the map market.

Apple

Kristin Huguet, spokesperson for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) confirmed the acquisition to AllThingsD, although she did not provide additional details about the deal. Huguet said, “Apple buys smaller companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

Apple Seeing To Make “Blockbuster” Acquisitions

Early this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook stated during Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference that the tech giant is seeking to make some blockbuster acquisitions. According to him, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is interested in purchasing a large company that could help in making great or even better products. The iPhone and iPad maker generally made small acquisitions on an average of one company every other month to increase its intellectual property portfolio or to add talented individuals to its workforce.

Established in 2005, HopStop.com is led by its CEO Joe Meyer, who was chosen by Crain’s New York Business as one of the top entrepreneurs of 2012. The company provides pedestrian navigation services such as door-to-door walking, biking, transit, taxi and hourly car rental directions for residents and tourists in more than 500 cities worldwide. The company developed apps for iPhone and other smartphones powered by the Android operating system.

HopStop 2 Million Users Active

HopStop is the number one transit app in the iTunes and Google Play, and more than 3 million users are already using the service. In April, the company launched its free, real-time social transit app called HopStop Live. The app provides walking and transit directions, official schedules and licensed transit maps, and real-time crowd-sourced information from transit riders. HopStop Live has an immediate 2 million active users upon launching.

Aside from HopStop.com, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) also purchased Locationary, a small start-up based in Toronto that develops business-location maps. The app developer provides real-time data to help users easily find featured business using data from different sources such as crowdsourcing and Saturn, a federated data exchange platform.

Acquisitions Prove Apple’s Objective To Improve Mapping App

The acquisitions of the two maps app developers obviously demonstrate Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s objective to improve its mapping application, which received enormous criticisms when it was launched in September last year. Cook apologized to customers for the poor features of its mapping application, and promised that the company will continue to improve its service until it reaches an incredibly high standard.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) decided to develop its mapping application after failing to convince Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) to sign an agreement that could bring its voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation to the iOS 6. The company felt that without the voice guided navigation, the iPhone will be left behind because it is a free and special feature integrated in all smartphones powered by the Android operating system.