Apple CEO Tim Cook has issued a letter apologizing for the current mediocrity of Apple Maps. The letter is striking in a couple of ways. First, it’s noteworthy for its direct admission that Apple Maps “fell short” and, second, for its recommendation that people try other, competing map apps or services such as Google, Bing, Mapquest, Waze or Nokia.
Here’s the letter in its entirety:
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
There’s obviously no discussion of specific steps being taken or any timeframes mentioned for “repair” of the problems that have so far plagued Apple Maps. And while the tech-pundit class has been up in arms about the problems of Apple Maps it’s not clear whether and how many “ordinary” iPhone buyers were equally incensed or otherwise upset.
Will this calm the furor? We’ll see. It’s another indication, however, that Tim Cook is a different kind of CEO than Steve Jobs — who would probably never have displayed this sort of humility and apologize so directly and probably never recommend competing products so unequivocally.
Postscript: See our follow-up stories, After Apple’s Apology, What’s Next For iOS 6 Maps? and Apple Does The “Miracle On 34th Street” Thing, Promotes Third Party Maps In App Store.