Tim Cook Apologizes For Apple Maps, Points To Competitive Alternatives

Apple CEO Tim Cook has written an open letter on Apple’s website, finally apologizing for the Maps drama that’s been unfolding over the past few weeks with the introduction of iOS 6.

In the letter, Cook states that he is “extremely sorry for the frustration” and that the company “fell short on the commitment” of bringing world-class products to customers.

With the introduction of iOS 6, Apple opted to ditch Google Maps (the default maps application on all iOS devices since the first iPhone) and instead use a home-grown application, built entirely by Apple. But when iOS 6 Maps was released to the general public, many people were disappointed by general inaccuracy, mislabeled or non-existent cities and landmarks, and a lack of transit directions.

The company has since been fending off quite boisterous criticisms. Last week, the only comment we got out of Apple was that this is “just the start.” But it seems that Steve Jobs’ general unwillingness to admit fault with shipping products won’t carry over to Tim Cook, as Apple has never made such a public, open apology for a product before.

Within the letter, Cook makes mention of Google Maps being the first version of Maps on iOS, but that “as time progressed, [they] wanted to provide customers with even better Maps including features such as turn-by-turn directions, voice integration, Flyover and vector-based maps.”

Apple has wanted users to enjoy voice-guided nav since they first introduced iOS 6, but we’ve recently learned that Apple and Google may have parted ways over the fact that Google was unwilling to let iOS users enjoy turn-by-turn navigation.

To partially make up for it, Cook offers suggestions for various alternatives like Bing, Waze, and Google and Nokia maps via mobile web.

Though he couldn’t help but mention 100 million users on iOS 6.

Here’s the letter in full:

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

(Editorial Note: Bold formatting added by me, not Tim Cook.)