The Maps episode — in which Apple’s replacement for Google Apps was found to show bare patches where buildings should be, among other things — is reminiscent of the antenna signal problems discovered early on with the iPhone 4. (Steve Jobs’s early response to a user complaint: “You’re holding it wrong.”) Cupertino eventually offered each purchaser a $15 credit or a free bumper case.
In a letter posted on Apple’s website, Cook acknowledged the problems with Maps and apologized for frustration it’s caused customers. The company wanted to create a better Maps app with features like turn-by-turn directions, voice integration, Flyover and vector-based maps, but had to build it from scratch. Now, the company’s said to be on the lookout for map engineers — and actively trying to poach some of the team which built the highly successful Google Maps.
I think Cook wanted to say that Apple didn’t have enough time to create the great Maps app it envisioned. The strange thing is that it still had year agreement to go in its license agreement for Google Maps, so it could have introduced Apple Maps with iOS 7. Obviously, Apple rushed a bit.
Meanwhile, Tim Cook suggests iOS 6 users download Bing, MapQuest or Waze from the AppStore, or use either the maps applications on Google or Nokia’s website.
Here’s Cook’s full letter:
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