Apple’s been on quite a winning streak lately, but the recent release of iOS 6 and, more importantly, the replacement of the Google Maps app that came pre-installed on iPhone and iPads with Apple’s new, proprietary Maps app was not received well by iPhone owners. Despite there being many different views including maps satellite view and a hybrid view, many users complained of a lack of features in the new app and others discovered issues with getting correct driving directions.
In a somewhat surprising move, Apple CEO Tim Cook has just published an open letter in which he apologizes for his company’s lackluster new app. He even goes as far as to suggest that iPhone users look to third-party apps while Apple races to fix the issues with Maps.
The full text of his letter is below:
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.
Cook has promised that Apple is working as hard as it can to improve Maps, but it’s unclear how soon users can expect to see any significant changes roll out.
That Cook would issue an apology at all is a fairly surprising move. It’s rare for CEO’s of major companies, particularly those as successful as Apple, to so hastily admit mistakes and apologize to customers.
In 2007, Steve Jobs apologized to people who bought the original iPhone immediately after it was released and who were upset about Apple dropping the product’s price after only a few months. Apple also offered free cases to iPhone 4 owners as a goodwill gesture after a small number of users reported problems with the phone’s antenna dropping calls.