Apple CEO Tim Cook this morning issued a public apology for Apple’s homegrown Maps app in iOS 6 and the iPhone 5, saying the company “fell short” on its commitment to deliver the best user experience to its customers.
“We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better,” he writes in the public letter to Apple’s customers on the company’s website.
The Maps app has suffered from geographical errors, glitchy rendering, a lack of transit maps and other problems since its debut last week. Apple replaced Google Maps with its own Maps application in iOS 6, reportedly after butting heads with Google over Apple’s desire to add turn-by-turn directions.
Cook’s apology is an unusual move but not unprecedented for the company. Cook seems to have issued it more quickly in the cycle of these things than the notoriously stubborn Steve Jobs might have.
However, Cook goes a step further in his letter when he suggests that users try alternative mapping services while Apple works out the bugs. He writes, “While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app.”
Here’s the full text of the letter.
To our customers,
At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.
We launched Maps initially with the first version of iOS. As time progressed, we wanted to provide our customers with even better Maps including features such as turn-by-turn directions, voice integration, Flyover and vector-based maps. In order to do this, we had to create a new version of Maps from the ground up.
There are already more than 100 million iOS devices using the new Apple Maps, with more and more joining us every day. In just over a week, iOS users with the new Maps have already searched for nearly half a billion locations. The more our customers use our Maps the better it will get and we greatly appreciate all of the feedback we have received from you.
While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app.
Everything we do at Apple is aimed at making our products the best in the world. We know that you expect that from us, and we will keep working non-stop until Maps lives up to the same incredibly high standard.