Friday, September 28, 2012

A rare admission of failure from Apple

Apple's CEO Tim Cook took the rare step of apologizing to the company's customers concerning the launch of the new Apple Maps via a letter posted on the Apple website.

Apple replaced the original maps application within its iOS devices with the launch of iOS 6 – many wise users have chosen not to upgrade their devices because of this. Customers that have updated have complained about the poor mapping app that replaced the original Google-driven app, and the media has beaten up Apple for its rare misstep. (Yes, the new maps are that bad.)

What you may find interesting about the note below is Cook's recommendation that users consider downloading other navigation software or placing an icon on their screens derived from web solutions such as Google Maps. My interpretation of this would be that Cook understands that it may take Apple a long time before its own Maps are an acceptable product. (I have chosen to create an icon for Google Maps, an easy thing to do – simply launch Safari, navigate to Google Maps, then using the arrow below the web page choose "Add To Home Screen".)

Here is Tim Cook's online 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