Apple CEO Tim Cook issues open letter apologizing for iOS Maps flaws

By , Sep 28, 2012

Acknowledging what has become Mapgate, Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook issued an apology for inaccuracies, faulty data and other issues plaguing Apple’s new in-house mapping service that replaced the stock Google Maps app on iOS 6 devices.

And just as his predecessor did when Apple got entangled in disputes with the music industry over copy-protecting iTunes songs or Adobe over Flash, Cook issued an open letter on the company’s web site to explain Apple’s position on the matter…

Cook’s letter was published on Apple’s web site Friday morning.

Cook advised people to use alternatives until Apple fixes its Maps, singling out Bing Maps, MapQuest and Waze, “or use Google or Nokia maps” on the web.

Apple’s boss also states he is “extremely sorry for the frustration” Apple’s mapping service has caused to its customers, promising to double down on the Maps situation (here, here and here) as soon as possible.

Let’s just hope Apple doubles down on Maps much more effectively than it has done on secrecy.

Here it is in its entirety, for the sake of completion.

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

What do you think?

Is Cook’s open letter enough?

Can we all now calm down and move on?

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  • http://twitter.com/Pitchy Pitchy

    You can almost feel it… hell freezing over that is. Yeap, Tim Cook has told us to use the web version Google Maps. iFailure

    • http://www.facebook.com/claudio.alfie Claudio Alfie

      Ahh?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1215314453 Jose Cruz

    no… he should have kept google map for a little while…

  • bae125

    Unexpected, but I’ll admit, it takes care of some of the irritation and restores some, not all, the faith I lost in Apple with the Maps debacle. Well done, now put all the folks you have wasting time with the useless Siri to the Maps project and fix it.

    • Kurt

      Yeah Siri sucks. Just leave as is and move on to getting maps functional. Let the jailbreak community take over on Siri. They have been more innovative and faster with their work

  • wadjj

    QOTD: Let’s just hope Apple doubles down on Maps much more effectively than it has done on secrecy.

  • http://twitter.com/sivkai Siv

    A very noble response from Tim Cook. Respect.

  • Bakugan123

    Everything we do at Apple is aimed at making the most money in the world.*

    • http://twitter.com/Pitchy Pitchy

      That’s why we are revolutionizing the maps world. We are introducing for the first time ever, a digital to analog experience. With the optional $30 book of maps that we call iAtlas, you can seamlessly transition from your phone to a real map and back. No one has ever done this before… we are the first. You want turn by turn truly accurate navigation? We are offering for a one time fee of $199 a dedicated GPS. We are completely innovating your travel experience.

      • http://twitter.com/Pitchy Pitchy

        apparently some of the iSheep do not like my comedic genius :D come on bitches, you know that was brilliantly funny :p

  • Evostance

    Bet that hurt like a bitch. I get the feeling Google are laughing. They knew they were removing Google Maps and quite openly state they have no plans to release a Maps app at the moment “It’s up to Apple”

  • http://granniethegeek.tumblr.com/ GrannieTheGeek

    Could someone please explain to me why Apple didn’t see this nightmare coming before releasing iOS 6? That being said, Tim Cook’s letter is timely and quite soothing, actually. But, it sort of came after the fact. If Apple had been forthcoming before the update – that Maps was not a fully refined product – then maybe we would all be less frustrated. That being said, I am sure that in the end it will be an awesome navigation system. It is a work in progress.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000254498753 Mark Seah

    strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible? then current maps will not be launched at all……this is just paying lip service, ask you to wait until they are ready……..ppl have high standards of them, with iphone 5, i think it has gone a step back instead of forward…..

  • http://twitter.com/austinogbolu Austin Ogbolu Jr.

    Respect

  • Axl F

    I’m here on Oahu and I get pedestrian and bus rout directions guess it depends on where you are at the moment.

  • http://twitter.com/Robzy1990 Robin Saunders

    “Can we all now calm down and move on?”

    Yes please do. iDB need to get over it. Alright, maps sucks. You’ve told us a thousand times already. Let it go.

  • Christina Bryan

    Since he’s suggesting using the Google Maps website as an alternative, I wonder if this will make Apple more likely to approve an official Google Maps app? Hopefully it does.

  • http://twitter.com/warrenskipper Warren Skipper

    It’s amazing how few recognize that it was Google’s stubbornness that pushed Apple into creating their own maps. Google wanted to keep our maps years behind Android. Weren’t we all complaining how it never got updated? I do think that Apple focused on the wrong things to incorporate into this release (turn-by-turn voice and 3D flyover instead of transit directions and better traffic updates), that’s just my opinion. However, I am sure that eventually iOS Maps will be on par with Google’s. When that time comes, we won’t have to worry about a stagnant map app for each subsequent iOS release.

    • mickey nguyen

      Yes but they did not have to rush to release an unfinished maps. They had an extra year to refine it and just stick to google maps. They wanted a killer feature for os6 and the iPhone 5 but couldn’t get it done yet released it anyway. It goes against everything apple claims to value.

  • http://twitter.com/oo7plasma Brandon Weidema

    everyone’s screaming and bitching about maps like the world is ending lol

    • Bob

      Your mom was bitching and screaming too, last night.

      • http://twitter.com/oo7plasma Brandon Weidema

        very original, bravo sir.

  • ic0dex

    The funny thing is a lot of people are complain because they see others complaining. I’ve been using the Maps App in Los Angeles for over a week now and it has never given me a problem. The turn by turn is smooth and it works great. When Google Maps was available I only used it to get an address or information of a distention that I was looking for, for GPS I’ve always used Motion X GPS. I’ve always compared the Google Maps on iOS to MapQuest (Put the Satellite and Street view aside).

    I think with this letter being publish by Tim Cook is a guarantee that Apple is working around the clock to make the app better. I also think that when it’s done it will be one of the best Apps on the market. Remember the more the App gets used the faster is will get fixed. If you see a problem report it so it can be fixed.

    • mickey nguyen

      I played with it a bit on launch day here in DTLA and although I like the actual maps application (vector maps, clean interface, yelp integration) the navigation was a bit wonky half the time. I played with destinations I already knew how to get to and sometimes it would send me in circles to get to places where 2 straight lines would suffice. Also the map data is off (sometimes 10-15 miles off) from time to time for places that have been around for a while.

      • ic0dex

        I’ve been using it in Sherman Oaks and the Sun valley are and its pretty much haven’t given me a problem I mean when I use the turn by turn and when I arrive at the distention it is a bit off but so is my GPS on my 2011 E350 Mercedes. I also own a Lexus that does not have a GPS system so I use the Maps App in that car. It’s going to get better over time and everyone will forget about this in a few weeks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lucas.kunert Lucas Kunert

    So it’s kind of like Siri’s initial release. Seems cool at first, but then some things don’t work right, there’s problems with it, etc. Now this is happening with Maps. Seems like Apple can’t get it right starting from the ground up on their “features” lately and it’s becoming a pattern right now on these issues. It’s really interesting. The next year or two will really make or break iOS/iPhone sales patterns and loyalty if they keep having these kinds of issues. I’m thinking it can only improve from here, though.

  • http://twitter.com/Braydenrogers Brayden rogers

    Everyone shouldnt be complaining in the first place… apple maps is new so theres gonna be flaws.. if your gonna complain about it then just throw your iphone out the window and go buy a google or android…… People who stay with apple and hold on till they fix it will happy with the fixes as it gets

    • ghettocowboy

      Every company will love you. They love stupid consumers. Why is there a complaint? Because Apple charges premium prices for their products and as a consumer, you pay premium prices for top notch products. When you pay premium prices, you would expect a little more out of the product. With your logic doesn’t make any sense. People are mad because of the Google map removal and being replaced by a much more inferior products.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Picture21Studio Ted Forbes

    Yes!

  • http://www.twitter.com/GeorgieAce Georgie Acevedo

    Am I the only one who’s ok with the new maps?

    • Steve Mitchell

      You are not the only one. You’re one of many millions. My wife updated to iOS 6 in the car, then used the turn-by-turn directions to help us get where we were going last weekend. We both pointed out all the little features that had frustrated us in their absence in the google based maps. Since most people rarely venture more than 30 miles from home, I think most people would never have known about some weird errors in the maps thousands of miles away from them. Plain and simple. Is Apple evil? Okay, I guess so. Are the vast majority of their users thrilled, yes, I guess so.

      • Kurt

        Apple made that crappy Maps app that didn’t get much updates since 2007. You do know that right?

  • http://www.facebook.com/frank9000 Francesco Suarez

    but apple is not the only eletronic companythey can’t be THE BEST in the world there will always be competition

  • thor_molecules

    I give him credit for addressing it publicly. A lot of companies would not do that.

    But while we’re talking about it, would you mind fixing Siri and Passbook too?

    You’re the best Tim.

  • http://www.facebook.com/liamsagooch Liam Googolplex Merlyn

    Anyone else read this in Tim Cook’s voice/accent? Or was that just me? Haha

  • ghettocowboy

    The apology is unnecessary. Most iSheeps find nothing wrong with the map.

  • Nathan Longfellow

    Apple did not get rid of Google maps. They simply did not include it in iOS 6. The ‘old’ maps app is still alive and well. It is not Apple’s fault that ‘you’ have to get the newest and ‘best’ thing the second it is available. IMHO Apple made a good move by releasing it in the way they did. It enabled them to get feedback from around the globe from people who CHOOSE to use iOS 6. Google would be very smart to release a map app as quickly as possible before Apple gets it’s map app working smoothly and people get hooked on it.

  • http://twitter.com/TarekMMD Tarek

    I think this is more than enough. We all know that Apple needs to get this application out to the public to build up the databases and get accuracy. I am sure the public will forgive Apple for this and move on.

    As to it hurting Apple, I don’t think so. It is far easier to act and apologize than get permission. Apple has developed a lot of good will over the last few years and the excellence in its products and platform integration far outweighs this little issue, especially that there are multiple alternatives.

    Apple is building for the future and looking several years down the line.

    Now….how do I get my hands on a black iPhone 5 64 GB? Can’t seem to find it at Fry’s or Apple or even get it on the website (10:00 pm to 4:00 am) for instore pickup in the Bay Area.

  • http://twitter.com/Ign0ttus Tom García

    I think we just have to wait. Tim said it “we had to create a new version of Maps from the ground up”. Apple maps are new, while Google maps have years of experience.

  • pique

    Turn by turn might work nicely, a lot of us however use the maps as maps, and the functionality of it being part of the iOS. (click on an address in your calendar etc) this has knocked back my RDF considerably, even with Tim Cook’s apology. My worst thing about the map.app is that I cannot see the roads clearly even when they are there. I have normal vision for a 50year old. It’s not just the data

  • http://twitter.com/Nashafa Nathan

    NO WAY JOSE!!!

  • sfbananas

    Talk about 1st world problems! Boohoo

  • Riaz Hasan

    AN OPEN LETTER TO APPLE EXECUTIVES

    It is nice you are coming up with new gadget on iPhone like finger print recognition, gold and silver cases and
    colorful cheap phones for China market.

    Let us fix first what is broken.

    When iphone customers installed new operating system, they don’t need to lose their contact information with no warning on the phone.

    I think to fix this glitch is more important than all the gadgetry these executive are trying to sell.

    Like Steve Job would have said “Get on it and fix it now and don’t show up in board room until you fix this problem”.

    Loosing someone contacts is losing a paycheck. It is time for you to cash in
    your stock option because if you continued this path Apple will be in the
    company of BlackBerry.

    That’s how as a customer I feel about Apple’s complete disregards of iphone most important issue loosing data.

    And when it comes to help nothing is better than one phone call
    “1-800 Help iPhone” on the front. No 5MM questions before you can reach to the live person.

    Let us be smart. I have known many companies like Apple – Kodak,
    Pan AM, A&P and now Blackberry, they were on their prime and now they
    are becoming memories.

    You don’t have look for CEO who has managed soft drink company or else. May be a normal person with a college dropout will do a better job.

    S. Riaz Hasan
    Riaz Hasan Consulting Group

  • Riaz Hasan

    I admire Tim Cook Apple CEO of being public with the problem. It is easier to address the problem when people are not kept in the dark.