Apple has just posted on its website a letter from Tim Cook to Apple's customers, apologizing for not delivering the best experience with its new iOS 6 Maps. In the letter, prominently link to from the front page of Apple.com, Cook describes how Apple "strives" to make products the "deliver the best experience possible", but that the new Maps app has fallen short of this standard, frustrating millions of customers.
He re-emphasises the previous Apple statement on Maps, by saying that as time goes on and more people use Maps (there have already been nearly half a billion location searches), that the Maps app will get better. But in the mean time, Cook suggests that users try alternative map apps, and actually names some third-party apps available in the App Store such as "Bing, MapQuest and Waze" or alternatively to use "use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app". Whilst that is certainly far from ideal, it's quite extraordinary to see Cook actively name and recommend third party mapping solutions.
Cook explains that since they first shipped the original iPhone, they've been wanting to add new features such as "turn-by-turn directions, voice integration, Flyover and vector-based maps". Cook claims that they had to create a new version "from the ground-up" to achieve these - there is no mention of Google's role in the letter.
Tim Cook's full letter to customers:
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.