AllThingsD has apparently received confirmation from an Apple spokesperson. I’ve reached out to both companies and will update if I hear back from either of them.
HopStop offers walking, taxi, and bicycle directions, but is probably most useful when it comes to mass transportation. When Apple broke away from Google and launched its own mapping application for iOS 6, on top of all the other problems it had, it removed transit directions and instead directed users to download other apps — including HopStop. (Indeed, it was through those recommendations that I became a regular HopStop user.) So acquiring the company could be a way to bring that information back into Maps.
HopStop has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from investors, including Outbrain CEO and co-founder Yaron Galai. The company recently added crowdsourced transit alerts to its system with the HopStop Live! feature. At the time, HopStop said that it has more than 2 million active users.
Earlier today, Apple confirmed that it has acquired Locationary, a startup that merges and cleans up businesses’ location profiles.
Update: Here’s a confirmation, more-or-less, that I received from an Apple spokesperson: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”