Apple’s boss Tim Cook just issued a mea culpa on Apple’s awesome Maps in the form of an open letter published on Apple’s website. What’s really interesting is that the issue which threatened to snowball into a PR catastrophe has forced Apple to advise customers to use rival services “while we’re improving Maps”.

It takes a tremendous amount of public outcry to force Cupertino into such a defensive position. I imagine heads will roll as Cook gives Apple’s mapping team a kind of dressing down Steve Jobs once gave to the MobileMe team (“you should hate each other for having let each other down”). No matter how you look at it, the Maps fiasco has tarnished Apple’s reputation, at least in my view…

As for Apple’s band-aid solution, a dedicated page on Apple’s web site advises folks to add a home screen icon for quick access to Nokia and Google Maps on the web by following these steps:

  1. Tap the Share button at the bottom of the Safari screen for the website you’re on.
  2. Tap the icon labeled “Add to Home Screen.”
  3. Tap the Add button in the upper right corner.
  4.  Launch the website from your Home screen by tapping its icon.

Piece of cake, no?

Of course, the above steps apply to any other mapping service on the web.

Joy of Tech‘s take on Mapgate

Google’s maps on the web don’t have spoken directions, but at least you’ll get written directions instead. Also note that you can now use Google Street View via Safari in iOS (examples here).

By the way, it’s interesting that Apple’s page only mentions Nokia and Google Maps, but not Microsoft’s Bing Maps. Cook’s open letter also mentions third-party apps like MapQuest and Waze.

MapQuest is by far  the best alternative renowned for its rich data sets and points of interest, especially in certain international markets.

Will you be using Nokia’s and Google’s maps on the web?

  • what the hell is dis … These are shortcuts for apple looks BAD … …
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  • Tim /did/ actually mention Bing as one of the App Store app alternatives.

  • Rather than an apology why don’t they put Google Maps back up and leave them both on? I am having no issues with Apple Maps but don’t use it that much.

    • They probably have a contract, or some special term.

  • I’m stunned. O.o

  • I don’t have any issues with Maps in my area. It’s better than Google Maps in many ways, and is a much better experience in my opinion.

  • Guest

    They didn’t have to mention Bing maps, since there is a Bing app.

  • jdshorrock

    He does mention Bing

    “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.”

  • charlie

    hahaha….i like this, don’t mess with google apple…you’re nothing!!

  • Bob

    I want the actual google maps app.

  • Faith Hill

    Sheer arrogance from Apple to not inform users like me what ios6 will take away from us and let us find out post-facto! I’m travelling overseas and spent four hours updating phone and iPod and ten minuted crying……then called Apple in USA long distance. Only advice…add a short cut to the home page for Google maps. Apple maps could not give me directions between two locations that I Google-mapped just last week while travelling. Message – simply that it was not possible to give directions between these two locations. The two locations being in a country capital! It’s halved the utility of my $1000 iPad in one foul swoop…..and I mean foul! And cut a hunk of free advertising that Apple was getting from me as well! No more ecstatic raves from me about the wonders of My Apple devices in the near future…..but I can see a lot of griping to all and sundry about how the people at Apple have lost their mojo.

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