What would Steve do?
Apple has apologised for its dud Maps app. No, it's not a dream
Blogs | 28 Sep 2012 :
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.
I'm reprinting Tim Cook's (pictured) letter to his frustrated iOS 6 users in its entirity as it's one of the few times you'll see Apple apologise for anything. A company built on a foundation of great ideas, well-made products and the confidence that it's only a matter of time before the world comes around to its way of thinking - and occasionally being right. The iPhone and iPad are perfect expressions of this philosophy. Well-made and easy to use they more than make up for their premium pricing with unparalleled user experience. Sure video calling, voice commands and online music stores existed before Apple got its hands on them, but it's always been the implementation of ideas, not necessarily their introduction from first principles, that sets Apple apart. So when it goes wrong, as it did so spectacularly with Apple Maps in iOS 6, you can forgive the competition for being a little smug about it.
Top of the list of happy campers over a foul-up that relocated the Indian Ocean to Greenland is Google. Dropping Google's well-capable Maps from iOS 6 was an audacious move but the service - powered by TomTom - promised more features and greater detail than the Google option, such as turn-by-turn navigation and 3D imagery. The reality has been a mishmash of poor directions and mislabeled landmarks and a lot of negativity from users. So far there are no plans to develop a new standalone app and Google chairman Eric Schmidt seems happy to keep it that way.
At an event in Tokyo earlier this week Schmidt criticised Apple directly over its unproven product but refused to burn any bridges: "We want them to be our partner. We welcome that. I'm not going to speculate at all what they're going to do. They can answer that question as they see fit," he said.
As it stands, Apple Maps is a notable failure and can't afford to be as bad as it is for any longer. Would this have happened under Steve Jobs' tenure? Of course not. Tim Cook's honeymoon period as Apple's CEO is officially over. Let's see how he finds his way now.