One of the many big, tattery holes in Apple’s Maps app is the lack of transit data. At launch, Apple wisely allowed third-party transit apps to plug into Maps to supplement their own subway and bus directions — perhaps the first bonafide example of Apple allowing iOS users to set their default app for anything — but it was obviously just a stopgap, because just last week, Apple scooped up Hopstop, one of the biggest transit apps around.
Unlike other Apple acquisitions, though, Cupertino hasn’t shut Hopstop down. In fact, the app was just updated with a beefy 2.6 update that makes it even better, including real time delay and incident reporting.
Here’s the full changelog:
– Added support for cities in the UK, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Ireland, and Israel
– You can now report real-time Delays, Crowds, Incidents, Service Changes, Station Closures, Broken Elevators, Suggestions, and Complaints with HopStop Live!
– Save your Home & Work addresses for quick use (visit Settings to add/edit)
– Access your saved ‘My Trips’ directly from the search screen
– New font and updated UI!
– Bug fixes
That real-time delay functionality is pretty great, since it relies upon Waze-like crowdsourcing. That should be especially useful here in Boston, where the local subways and buses are seemingly operated by the I Ching.
Outside of the new features, though, I find it interesting that Apple has updated Hopstop at all. There are two possible explanations for this: either Hopstop still needs to operate largely as a stopgap for Apple until they can properly get transit directions into iOS Maps, or Apple does intend to freeze Hopstop development, but with the iTunes Dev Center down for over a week, Cupertino actually acquired Hopstop in the interim between an existing app update being submitted and it beng approved and delivered.