Apple CEO On Maps To Customers: “Extremely Sorry” & Try Google, Bing, MapQuest Or Others

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.

Related Topics: Apple | Apple: Maps | Channel: Mobile

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • totnuckers

    .”First, it’s noteworthy for its direct admission that Apple Maps “fell short” and, second, for its recommendation that people use other, competing map apps: Bing, Mapquest, Waze or Nokia.”

    You really left Google out eh?

  • cjvannette

    Google doesn’t have a maps app for iOS6, if I recall correctly.

  • Paynefanbro

    No. Google is there.

  • airmanchairman

    Kudos to “T-Cookie” for the humble apology to those disappointed customers at whom it is appropriately directed. As David Pogue remarked in his related blog, in a vast data-set comprising petabytes (i.e. millions of gigabytes) of 3rd-party mapping information, even a fraction of a percentage of error can mean a lot of missed waypoints that need ironing out ASAP.

    And many thanks back at Apple from those of us for whom Maps 6.0 is an exciting, stylish upgrade chock full of pleasant surprises and the long-awaited audio turn-by-turn routing, enhanced by Siri for true hands-free navigation, and Waze for the crowd-sourced traffic, speed trap and police presence updates.

    And before any iOS 6′ers begin to lament the loss of Google Street View, I would urge them to simply point their mobile devices or iTunes to the App Store and nab (before they get their licenses yanked) the surprisingly excellent StreetView (69p/99c for the ad-free version) and the passable Live Street View (same price) for a pleasant shock – yes you can eat your iOS 6 cake and still have it! This for me has been one of the unexpectedly beneficial things to emerge from the hate-mail-filled fiasco of “MappleGate” (as Pogue calls it).

    The vast wealth of the Apple eco-system and App Store more than compensates for any early teething problems in iOS 6.0, so my advice would be: It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

    Ah! There goes the doorbell – my 64Gb iPhone 5 awaits, Glory be – gotta go!

  • http://twitter.com/Greekgeek Greekgeek

    Good for Cook. I do appreciate the frankness.

    Although I would appreciate it even more if I could upgrade without losing the Maps App I like and use. Using Google Maps in Safari is pretty good, but slower, not as well optimized for mobile use.

  • http://blog.clayburngriffin.com/ Clayburn Griffin

    So, what’s the problem with these maps anyway?

  • http://twitter.com/eenoog eenoog (one-eye)

    You can create an icon on the home screen for http://maps.google.com which solves the problem of access to google maps. However, it does not solve the problem of all those screwed up apps which default to Apple Maps due to changes in the IOS6 coding libraries (map element in app -> includes apple maps). Some of my favorite apps were screwed up this way.

  • http://twitter.com/SwiitApps Locally is Local

    It’s not a good idea to build a premium Map app using Open Street Map data. We are surprised as to why Apple did not release it’s Maps app as a Beta.

  • cjvannette

    Right. I was addressing totnuckers’s concern about Google being “left out.” Google was left out of that sentence because that sentence was about apps.

  • http://twitter.com/itsabhik Abhik Biswas

    No wonder that was coming..
    Nokia maps is far more better than others including Google Maps when it comes to turn by turn navigation.
    Of course Google stands far ahead in satellite imagery (Hybrid mode).

  • Casper Sormani

    ” 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.”

    Moreover, Jobs would never have allowed to get such a mediocre product released.

  • http://twitter.com/dirtatlanta Dirt Atlanta @ 81

    Too many cooks in the kitchen

  • http://twitter.com/idaconcpts Damian Davila

    Top 5 Apple Maps Fail Photos http://bit.ly/AppleMapsFail

  • http://www.facebook.com/mgalecios8 Higuchi Galecio

    Hello.. guys, whats new.?

  • http://www.facebook.com/mgalecios8 Higuchi Galecio

    Hello,to everyone Have nice Saturday to all.

  • John Robins

    Another blatant display of Apple control and double standards.

    Trying to get an app onto iOS is an exhaustive process for developers, many of whom no longer bother. Decent apps get rejected often for no good reason other than it does not fit in with Apple’s view of the world and then just because they made it themselves Apple Maps gets the all clear. Frankly I am amazed at how Apple customers keep getting short changed and then keep going back for more. Its no wonder that Apple does well with its innovations, which are indeed outstanding, only to be marginalised by their own megalomania.

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