Apple CEO Tim Cook Issues Apology Letter for Apple Maps [READ]

Apple CEO has written an apology letter on Apple.com to customers about the shortfall of Apple Maps. The latter has been criticized and seen as the ‘Achilles Heel’ of iOS 6 for its inaccuracies and omissions compared to Google Maps in iOS 5.

Below is the letter from Cook:

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.

Tim Cook
Apple’s CEO

The letter notes Apple is improving their Maps app and in a surprise move recommends alternative apps in the process such as Bing, MapQuest, Waze and the web apps from Google and Nokia. It’s clear the media attention given to Maps lately has reached all the way to the top at Apple. Let’s hope some changes come soon.

What did you think of Cook’s letter? Is it enough reassurance that Apple is doing everything it can to make the app better?

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • KJ

    That’s the sign of a company that actually cares about user experience….what other company would apologies and recommend other maps app….apple is stand up in my books…but on a side note here in Alberta I have has no issues with the maps

  • Richard

    No issues with apple maps here, I love the turn-by-turn and the simple look on the apple maps. The media stir up is probably from a bunch of disgruntled Android fans…

  • Drkpassengr

    I have never had any issues with the new Maps here in Toronto even when iOS6 was in beta, i actually love it and was surprised with all the bad feedback but im sure that Apple will eventually make this one of the best Maps services, this is something new to them and its not very simple to get it ‘right’ the first time.

  • Drkpassengr

    Agreed!

  • http://www.facebook.com/olivier.mouyau Olivier Kiwami Mouyau

    yes, the apology is the right thing to do … and then advise to go to the competitors temporary is icing on the cake …
    Here in Ottawa, not really any issues either so far. I don’t use turn by turn, I have a sweet Garmin in the car and no one does it better than Garmin to my sense.

    I miss the Streetview from Goggle and hope the 2 worlds will coexist soon :)

  • Anon

    I would prefer higher resolution sattilite imagery and a feature similar to google street view. So far maps is acceptable, but it has the potential to be so much more.

  • Anthony ?

    I think in Canada, for the most part, the issues we have with maps are minimal. Even in the US, aside from some glitches here and there, maps seems ok. The problem is in places outside of North America, where the difference between Apple Maps and Google Maps can be significant. The severity of the issue is directly related to where you live, and being in Canada, my experience with Apple Maps has been superior to Google Maps.

    That said, this is the best thing for Apple to do. Acknowledge the issue, provide users with a temporary solution, and provide reassurance that things will get better. It’s an honest response to the problem with no weasel words and anyone who is concerned should take this as proof that Apple is placing a very high priority on getting this right.

  • Ian

    No issues whatsoever in Toronto. I actually think Apple Maps is better than Google Maps in my experience with it. I miss street view, but that’s it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/e.a.weimer Erik Weimer

    Classy letter. I never even knew of some of those alternatives. That’s how you build trust.

  • Shawn

    Well done on Apple’s part to step up and issue an apology and to refer people to alternatives in the meantime. I’m like most other commenters here and have not experienced any issues with the maps.
    Street View would certainly be nice, and it may come sooner than we all think. A couple of weeks ago, I saw a TomTom vehicle rigged up like the Google vehicle driving the streets of Edmonton, so maybe it’s in the works??
    I don’t really use the maps often either – when I’m driving, I’ve got the built in nav-system, so I don’t need to mess with the phone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/francois.theroux.7 Francois Theroux

    The pin for my home address is a little off and a few nearby restaurants are also off, but not by a whole lot.

  • Kirk

    Good for Tim to apologize. Shows apple has class. I look forward to the next iOS update with a new refined maps app.

  • Rpret103

    Not really I hate it u can’t even search by keyword if you don’t know the address its actually ridiculous! Using google maps web app for the time being, not purchasing something that should be included on the phone day one

  • James

    That’s the sign of a company that effed up. Jobs wouldn’t have let Apple get into a position where it’s issuing apologies. Either apple maps would have been ready to go live or google maps would still be on the device.

  • http://www.iphoneincanada.ca Gary

    It was pretty bold for Cook to admit this, and not only that he recommended competitors. Just shows Apple is being realistic here with the new Maps, it’s not the greatest mapping solution ever–yet.

  • Avernar

    I have a dedicated GPSr for car navigation so the addition of voice direction is a not a big deal for me. I am however a heavy satellite map user and the Apple satellite coverage of Canada is horrible. Most places are lower resolution than Google and the few places where it’s higher resolution it’s greyscale.

    His suggestion of alternatives doesn’t really help me as they won’t integrate themselves into the other applications that use a map view. I’m still stuck with the poor quality Apple maps.

  • flag

    Heck, I’m willing to sacrifice maps for a fully functioning “SIRI”.

  • Coluch

    I could not agree more. Steve Jobs was calling people in the middle of the night on the day before presentations making sure that he had the optimal projector for displaying his images… That kind of attention to detail, combined with his (sometimes abusive) pushing of people to do better, consistently resulted in astounding and impressive results. The new maps was not a Steve Jobs release, and it’s obvious.

  • kmlmzhr

    They should just allow us to downgrade from iOS 6 to iOS 5.1.1. Don’t you think?

  • Coluch

    I am far more concerned about the process that allowed the new maps to be released, than I am about the app itself. We now have Siri, and Maps in public Beta versions, on ALL OF APPLE’S DEVICES – ie. “Keep using it and it will continue to get better as we learn more”.

    The “help us make it better” approach is acceptable and even exciting with groundbreaking new features (like Siri initially was), but not for maps. This is a long established and essential function for many customers.

    Anecdotally, I have found flyover to be quite beautiful, and also profoundly useless. It offers few if any practical uses, and suffers further as the seemingly little brother of Google’s Street View, which for me had become an essential tool in my mapping utility belt.

    Imagine all of Apple’s new enhancements, combined with all of the previous maps features and Google APIs. Now that truly WOULD BE the best maps app, ever. “We’re working on it” is not good enough when it was not ready to be released in the first place.

  • NoOneCares

    Bull. Jobs would not have responded at all for the first week and then said there was no problem.

  • Coluch

    His point was that Jobs wouldn’t have released it, because he was detail obsessed, and a compulsive perfectionist.

  • http://www.iphoneincanada.ca Gary

    Yes, Maps is an essential app, unlike Siri. People expected it to be good if not better than Google Maps, which has set a very high standard.

  • http://www.iphoneincanada.ca Gary

    “You’re zooming in and out wrong.”

  • NoOneCares

    Then why antennagate and mobile me? I got his point, I didn’t agree with it.

  • Coluch

    The best such solution at the moment may be to install the Chrome browser and use Google maps from there. Safari gets a lesser version of web maps for some reason. I find street view almost essential.

  • Coluch

    I may be in the minority here, but I hardly EVER need turn-by-turn directions as implemented in the new maps. The old maps way of just laying out a route (or 3!!) was more than sufficient. The loss of street view really, really is unfortunate. Really.

    PS. Street view.

  • Coluch

    That’s a fair rebuttal, although I think Apple demonstrated quite clearly that the antenna issue was an issue on all phones. They also gave free bumper cases to all who purchased the phone. I got one for free, and my iPhone 4 had better reception than any previous phone I ever owned. This was a real solution.

    Hopefully, there will be an equally profound solution to the maps being too bush-league to live up to the competition.

  • NoOneCares

    Yes, the solution was good. However the message was quite different – Jobs never actually admitted that there was a problem. Deflecting attention to other phones was a poor response. It was real and it was more severe on their phone than on any other. (Yes, I had one and wouldn’t use it without a case because I could completely lose signal otherwise.) Jobs was an arrogant SOB who got things done. Apple may not be better under Cook, but they are more human.

  • MikeDodge

    I don’t mind the app so much except for the satellite view. Bland and colorless. All the money Apple has and those are the best images they could afford?

    One more thing…
    I’d be much happier if they would admit and fix the wi fi issues.