In a stunning and rare admission of its own misstep, Apple CEO Tim Cook issued a letter to customers this morning apologizing for the poor quality of its much-discussed mapping app in iOS 6.
Cook writes: “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.”
Apologizing for the problems users are having with the new maps on iOS 6, Cook said they are working to improve the feature. In addition to widespread criticism of Apple’s homegrown replacement for longtime mapping provider Google, there are reports that the company is hiring mapping experts, including ex-Google employees, to shore up the program. From the time the map feature was introduced, reviewers and consumers started complaining about poor accuracy, missing and mislabeled elements on the maps, and the lack of built-in mass transit mapping.
Cook’s letter argues that the departure from Google mapping (although he doesn’t name the former partner by name) was done to add features like turn-by-turn directions and flyovers.
In an uncharacteristic move for any media company, Cook actually suggests that users can try other map apps in the iTunes App Store, including Bing, MapQuest and Waze. He also mentions Google and Nokia can be utilized as Web apps from their Web pages. According to reports, Google is readying its own iOS version of the program. Google’s YouTube was also left off of the new iOS release, and the company crafted a new stand-alone app for iOS shortly before the new version of the platform went public.