Embark, which makes paid apps for figuring out how to use public transit in major cities, has seen a huge spike in adoption of its iPhone app since Apple debuted its operating system, iOS 6, which notoriously replacedÂ Google Maps with a buggy mapping substitute.
That compares toÂ 23,000 downloads a week on average before last week.
The main reason: Embark’s app is one of the third-partyÂ transit apps Apple MapsÂ suggest users buy to get city-specific transit directions.
AppleÂ announced in June that it would take this approach of touting third-party solutions to transit information in iOS 6.
“The iOS 6 Effect”
Until now, Embark’s biggest advantage has been in making transit apps that can function while a smartphone is offline (something that’s useful when â€¨you are underground and lack a data connection, ofâ€¨ course).
Another competitive advantage forÂ the profitable companyÂ has been itsÂ user-interface, which was considered sufficientlyÂ intuitive â€¨and gorgeous to winÂ the MTA’s vote as New York city’s best subway map app in a contest earlier this year.
But now Embark has been enjoying what TNW calls the “iOS 6 Effect,” namely,Â the inclusion of its apps as a promoted option in a shortlist of downloadable “Routing Maps” that can be found with one click via the Apple Maps tool.
The 18-month old company provides a dozen Apple and Android appsÂ forâ€¨Â Boston, Chicago, London, Long Island, N.Y., New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.
Interestingly, it hasn’t added any new cities to its coverage areas since the start of the year.
Instead the company has focused on hiring people and soliciting volunteers to perfect the directions. Testers sampleÂ transfer times on common trips, such as timing walking speeds between key points.
But it still has work to do, as some users online can find weaknesses in the directions supplied.
Embark has to hope that the magic continues and isn’t a temporary bump.
In a promising sign, the company told TechCrunch that, after people downloaded its New York City transit app this month, repeat usage rates have been remained strong. That factoid suggests that the app is being adopted on its own as a habit, not just used as a one-off solution.