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Apple’s Tim Cook Apologizes for Maps Debacle, Says App “Fell Short”

In a somewhat surprising turn of events this morning, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook posted a letter to their customers to address the Maps situation in iOS6. As you all know, the Maps app that Apple has created is, to put it nicely, atrocious. Turn-by-turn directions lead people to opposite sides of town from their actual destination, entire cities are missing, data is appearing that changed decades ago, businesses are showing as being located in bodies of water, etc. It’s a mess. In fact, it’s such a mess, that we couldn’t help but poke a little fun at the entire fiasco.

In Cook’s letter, he admits that Apple “fell short” on their commitment to release a Maps app that lives up to their “world-class” standards. He actually went as far as to suggest alternatives while they work “non-stop” until maps lives up to those high standards. And yep, Google Maps mobile browser version even came up.

I can’t help but think, “Wow, Apple admitting wrong? When was the last time this happened?”

And you’ll notice that he offers no time frame for a quality Maps app. Basically, Apple fans, you better cozy up to Waze, Bing, or MapQuest, because it’s going to be a while. 

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

Via:  Apple

  • https://www.facebook.com/aaron.williams.125 Champion1229

    Google could use this to their advantage! They could either push Apple users to pay for Google Maps or they could push Apple users to use their service over Apple’s.

    Strategy 1) Milk Apple users for everything they’ve got. Charge them $0.99 at least for the standalone Google Maps and block the iDevices from being able to access Google Maps via the web interface.

    Strategy 2) Make the App free and run ads to let Apple users know that they don’t have to use Apple’s crappy service and that the dependable, all ways there Google Maps are still reliable and better than Apple’s! This would 1)make it take longer for Apple to get their service running right (it is based off of user feedback and if there is no users to report problems then it won’t get better) and 2) Apple would eventually be forced to make a deal with Google to get Google Maps back into the native Maps app which Google could then make Apple pay big $$$$$ for the license.

    • http://www.engadget.com/ Jon Fingas

      Strategy 2 is the only one, as long as it’s friendly and doesn’t insult the people it’s trying to attract (i.e. the Samsung approach).

      Strategy 1? Instant antitrust lawsuits that would very likely hold up in court. When you dominate search and have a majority market share in smartphone platforms, suddenly charging those on a competing platform for an otherwise free service, or blocking it altogether, is considered monopoly abuse.

      • https://www.facebook.com/aaron.williams.125 Champion1229

        While I do see how strategy 1 would violate anti-trust laws I also see that Google could argue that Google Maps is free as long as you have an android; after all an Android device costs money and in some cases more $$ than an iPhone so they could argue that Android users pay a premium to buy the device which results in more features. Also Google could argue that there were other free alternatives to choose from such as Apple’a Maps and MapQuest so its not necessarily a monopoly if others are offering the same services.

  • steelcity1

    Jobs is rolling over in his grave. Apple never apologizes directly. Even I know how Cook was suppose to handle it. 1. Deny there is a problem by releasing two sentence email to press. 2. If possible, blame the customer and tell them they are using it wrong 3. Indirectly admit there is a minor limitation (not a bug) but point out that everyone else has the same problem but worse 4. Release patch and… “magic hands” iSheep rejoice

  • SeanBello

    well there goes a huge chunk of the focus on their “huge” reveal lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=628170966 Oscar Marquez

    At least Cook says that he is sorry and want to fix it. Steven Jobs would have said you are holding the map the wrong way. Apple should have tested their map more before forcing customer to use it.

  • dhirensavalia

    “In just over a week, iOS users with the new Maps have already searched for nearly half a billion locations.”

    Because they can’t find the right location the first time (or ever).

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y28e4cFHVqE&context=C400d214ADvjVQa1PpcFOiLGlDqf2sJr2k4TNISoJzm8bFM7wgYKU= TheAndroid1

      This should have been the top comment.

  • angermeans

    What I don’t get is why this has blown up so much when companies like Samsung have shipped their extremely popular Galaxy S line with known issues with GPS product after product. I had issues with my Galaxy S 1, passed on the GS2 (for the better Galaxy Nexus, and have issues with my Galaxy S 3. So why hasn’t this caught the attention of a million of angry people an press. Is it that Samsung is expected to ship not the highest quality of materials and people are used to their plastic phones or is it apple fans are just whiny people? I’ve used iMaps every where I’ve gone since getting ios6 on my iPhone 4S and I’ve never had a single issue. Almost the entire salt lake valley plus I went to Dallas for the cowboys game and used it a bunch there too. I understand issues and people getting upset but google maps had its issues too it always takes me to the wrong place or the longest possible route to get there on my Galaxy Nexus and like I said above my GS3 barely even locks onto a satellite or two an takes 5-10 min to connect. To me iMaps is a huge step in the right direction compared to the google maps that was on there before that didn’t have turn by turn and the appl hardware always “just works”

  • http://www.thecarners.com Matt R Carner

    Did you guys see the iOS Maps Icon? You can’t make this stuff up…

  • PhilW

    Google should sue Apple for the use of the word Maps. iPhone users will blame Google for their bad app(le).

  • http://www.facebook.com/justin.signa Justin Signa

    It’s okay Tim, just cancel all future iPhone development and tell your lawyers to jump off a high bridge so the rest of the world can continue to grow without patent restraints.

  • aBabyPenguin

    Finally, Apple does something I can admire.
    Of course, they are still money-grubbing, corporate jerks, herding the iSheep into ignorance. But I can respect that they apologized for their crappy software, just like Google and the Nexus Q.

  • cooksta32676

    I bet you will never see this in a commercial.

  • J Dub

    I can honestly say that I can see Apple to be on the decline. Say what you will, but they haven’t been the Apple that was the original iPad or the iPhone 3G. They are starting to stumble.

  • cooksta32676

    I owe everybody lunch if they ever admit shortcomings in a commercial.

  • http://gentlerobot.com Chapel Hill NC Rock Band

    Can you stop reporting on apple already? There are like 80 blogs devoted to apple

    • aBabyPenguin

      Know thy enemy. I enjoy reading them, it is good to know what’s going on the the Apple universe when things are a little stale on the Android side. I am sure once big news starts hitting us, there won’t be any more Apple posts.

  • http://twitter.com/agentstew sean steward

    I’m
    not a Iphone fan but I admire the business and the brand loyalty it has
    built. With that said the whole io6 maps issue would have never
    happened on Mr.Jobs watch put out a complete product or don’t put it out
    at all.

  • Philip A. Kaiser

    I actually own a newer iPod touch (my 4yo loves it and it keeps her away from my phone) and I just upgraded the software yesterday to IOS6. What a waste of time. I used Google maps on the device right before I changed to give it a true apples to apples comparison. Like that? Anyway, after reading all about it, I wanted to see for myself what all the hub bub was about. Holy Molly it is just as terrible as people claim. Sat images are years old, addresses are wrong, and just about anything else I could think of was flawed. I will be honest, I love my Nexus but don’t mind playing with the iPod from time to time but I have never had a software update on any device before that literally made a device less useful. Until now.

    • AbbieRosario

      You apparently never had a DroidX after Gingerbread then.

  • http://twitter.com/jabomb93 Jeremy B.

    Why the hell didn’t apple just let google operate their services on apple devices and bam the problem is fixed, but no apple has to create their own version and create problems for everyone.

  • John Jenness

    But the maps are pretty, because that is what is important in a map.

  • CharlesJorgenson

    yep

  • redbar0n11

    “Bazinga!”

    • redbar0n11

      ………..”BAZINGA!”

  • Adam

    Well, Google Maps still sometimes sends me a block away from my destination. Either a block on the same street or on the next parallel street.

    • curaga

      This is true for me too. I would have assumed that the Los Angeles maps would be more accurate.

  • Guy

    It’s not surprising that Apple is admitting they’re wrong. It was Steve Jobs that hardly ever admitted anything wrong not really Apple. With a new guy at the helm, decisions are and will be different.

  • nightscout13

    Apple will fall.

  • frankandsimple

    Dear Tim Cook.. thanks for the acknowledgment.. Now be true to the high standards set by apple and fix this ASAP. Don’t worry, we won’t abandon apple because of a stupid app. Even with the problems on ios 6 maps.. ios is miles ahead. Keep up the good work and hopefully we see an update real quick.

    Sincerely,
    iFan.

    • http://profiles.google.com/jrizk07 John Rizk

      Wow, Now they say that the app was pointless and stupid anyway so it doesn’t matter?

      You were one of the guys that was proud to say you waited in line multiple times for an iphone weren’t you?

      • frankandsimple

        No. I got a free iphone from Verizon delivered to me directly on sept 21st. I am not saying it is a pointless app.. I am saying it is not a deal breaker.

  • Guest

    I would love to see a derivative suit come up over this (though not likely). Shareholders have to be pissed, and didn’t they still have time on their google maps contract?

  • Destroythanet

    LOL, some of you fanboys crack me up. Better for Cook to admit their Maps app is substandard than deny it and say that people are “using it wrong”. That being said, I’ll take Google Maps on my GS3 all day, everyday.

  • schoat333

    Wow, he admitted a mistake. Is this a turning point for Apple?

    • http://www.facebook.com/coreyvallejo Corey Vallejo

      No. They made their money off iPhone 5 buyers already.

  • Fredy Nativi

    Apple douchebag says what?

  • http://twitter.com/JackMeoffski Jack Meoffski

    TIm was too busy sucking on things…..

  • Chris Hollenbeck

    Visual comparison between apps

    • moelsen8

      i love this one hahaha

  • https://twitter.com/paladaxar Paladaxar

    Wooooow…Apple admitting that they messed up? Today my respect for Apple as a company went up 100 fold. I sincerely applaud them for putting the first crack in their pretentious “everything we do is perfect and magical” attitude. It’s a small step in a long journey, but certainly a step in the right direction!

    I’m so happy to finally say for once “well done Apple”…now make sure you actually follow through and fix your blasted app! Then, start innovating, stop suing, open up your ecosystem, KEEP this attitude, and you might actually be able to recover some market share :)

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y28e4cFHVqE&context=C400d214ADvjVQa1PpcFOiLGlDqf2sJr2k4TNISoJzm8bFM7wgYKU= TheAndroid1

      Didn’t they admit they were wrong when they gave everybody a free bumper?

      • http://profiles.google.com/jrizk07 John Rizk

        Only after they told everyone they were holding their phones wrong first.

      • moelsen8

        no, i don’t think they did actually. it wasn’t an admission of anything, just more of a “shut up” thing, if i remember correctly.

      • https://twitter.com/paladaxar Paladaxar

        VERY, VERY hesitantly after months of saying, “You’re holding it wrong” and “it’s really AT&T’s fault” and “well, look at Blackberry, they…blah, blah blah”.

        Then at the end of it all, they finally said “Ok, look, there’s really nothing wrong, but if you really want a bumper case…we’ll give them out for free for 30 days.”

    • Greyhame

      +1

      Totally agree with you here. Until today, I didn’t know apple even knew the word humility. Steve Jobs has left the building.

    • http://www.engadget.com/ Jon Fingas

      Just to clarify: the innovation is what’s likely to actually drive market share — not opening up the ecosystem or stopping lawsuits. Most normal folks don’t know or care about app policies and lawsuits against Android. They care about whether their maps work and whether the apps exist to do what they want.

  • Michael_NM

    Dear Mr. Cook:

    No need to apologize to me. I will never buy an iPod phone anyway.

  • http://twitter.com/darkcomartist darkcomartist

    I agree that they screwed up BIGtime dropping Gmaps but at the same time, it’s nice to see someone owning up to their mistakes. Steve Jobs (during anntenaegate) refused to admit the problem was on their side, claiming customers were holding the phone “wrong”. Kudos for admitting (although down-playing) their blunder. I am a little confused because i’ve seen some sites saying Google is making an app for ios (as late as yesterday but i forget the website) but a previous story here said (worded by Google head-honcho) that they weren’t making one. Are they or aren’t they?

  • Chuck Finley

    Wonder how hard was it to put this into the statement…

    “…or use Google…”

  • http://twitter.com/humancyborg Human Cyborg

    I think I am in the super minority or something, because I actually really like the new maps app. It’s faster, looks beautiful, and has been pretty flawless for the basic searches I’ve been using it for. I also much prefer having immediate Yelp ratings over Google’s Zagat ratings.

    Admittedly I haven’t used it all for navigation as I already have it built into my cars.

    • KleenDroid

      You can go to Yelp for ratings, but a navigation app is for navigation.

      Try the app for navigation for a few days and let us know how it works.

  • AndroidUser00110001

    They may want to change the icon for iMaps too. It shows to make left off overpass to get onto 280. So you will not only get ilost but you will end up driving off bridge and landing in middle of highway.

  • Superdroid

    A nice dose of humble APPLE pie!

    • Michael_NM

      They need a humble apple tree forest.

  • etg9

    This is a step in the right direction for them, I’m happy they can admit they were wrong. With a lot of work Apple Maps will be passable and the iKids won’t care. I do however think that this will lose them customers. Samsung/Nokia should poke fun of them hard to get some market share.

    extra row of Icons vs not working maps…

  • T4rd

    It’s going to take them a loooong time to compete with Google maps as far as level of detail and other features (street view, public transportation, etc.). They were retarded for pushing this right now instead of for the next iOS iteration, esp. when they will had a year left on their Google Maps license.

  • SirSoloDolo

    Damn, now they will sue anyone that uses an apology since they just revolutionized it.

    • slops

      +1
      i col’d (that’s chuckle out loud, it’s gonna be a thing!)

  • Stevedub40

    I can really appreciate this. This is the attitude we are looking for. The apple of old would have just told you to suck it up, but this is a step in the right direction.

  • ddevito

    Google and Apple are secretly working together with maps.

    Apple’s maps take your car underwater.
    Google maps now has underwater “sea” view once you get there.

    amirite?

  • zepfloyd

    You’re mapping it wrong.

  • MikeSaver

    Thats what they get for being douchebags

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      I’m sure someone will flag or down vote this, but I have to admit, that I laughed at how perfect this comment is.

      After the bragging, the court battles, and the trashing of the competition, I couldn’t have put it any better myself.

      • MikeSaver

        Yeah I never hated apple before all this lawsuit stuff recently. I used to just prefer Android over iOs, simple as that. Now I hate iOS and hope they fail miserably. Apple’s just made themselves look desperate and petty, and they’ve ignored creating great products and innovating. They deserve to fail because they aren’t contributing anything.

        If they offered anything unique or innovative with Apple Maps, I’d welcome it. Instead it’s just a fill in product so that they don’t have to use their competitor’s product. That’s the only reason it exists. That’s never a good recipe.

        • Jarred Sutherland

          Same here. I used to buy some Apple products (had a Mac Mini, MBP, several other things), now I hate that company with a passion. They are everything I despise in a company.

          • Christopher Greenfield

            Same here buddy

        • Futbolrunner

          I just had a revelation after reading your first two sentences. I just wasn’t into Apple. But yes, after the constant court battles against Android manufacturers I now hate them. Any tech argument I get into I defend
          Android and explain to my friends why our products have so much more to offer.

          Now, they’re fans that have no idea what they’re buying but will buy it anyway because it’s Apple and it’s the cool thing to have.. yeah I have a problem with them. But that’s a different story.

          • MikeSaver

            Yeah right now Apple’s advantage is in branding and marketing. Something, honestly, Android as an OS will never be able to compete with because of all the skins, oems, etc. etc. It’s confusing for consumers, most laymen don’t even know what “Android” is.

            Still, Android v4.1 is already miles ahead of iOS6. Imagine where Android will be at Android v6.

        • lostsync

          You kind of have to look at it from Apple’s point of view.

          In the 80’s, they were on top of the game…they had the Mac, there was nothing like it on the market, and they were all set to make a killing. Then suddenly, a software partner of theirs has made their own version of their OS, licensed it to anyone who wants to use it, and is taking over marketshare at an alarming pace. A decade later, Apple was nearly bankrupt, accepting handouts from the company that nearly ruined them to stay afloat.

          If you’d gone through that, then reinvented yourself and come out on top again in a new market that you again pretty much invented, you’d be pretty serious about making sure that history doesn’t repeat itself.

          The problem? Apple can’t seem to grasp that the work that needs done to remain a key player happens in the R&D labs at Cupertino, not in court. Android is here to stay and even fi they do somehow manage to one day make it an irrelevant OS, another will just spring up from it’s ashes to take it’s place.

          • MikeSaver

            Yeah, that’s a valid point as to why they would want to protect their property. The problem is just that in your last paragraph. If Apple was still offering something innovative, and Android was ripping them off, maybe they’d have a case.

            Instead, they aren’t offering much of anything anymore and instead of coming up with new ideas or ways to drive the mobile space forward – they’re taking advantage of broken patent laws and suing for vague things like “rectangles with round corners” and “slide to unlock” while they rip off the innovations of Android with the larger screens, thinner phones, turn by turn navigation, notification pull down, LTE and the list goes on and on.

          • Disqus Sucks

            Windows dominated the Mac because Apple wouldn’t license it to anybody. Microsoft licensed it to everybody, hence everybody used it and it became the de facto standard.

          • michael arazan

            Apple can’t grasp the meaning of Competition. They made their product, wanted a monopoly of that product, didn’t get it, bitching and crying, fabricating lawsuits, to the court system till they get their way.
            applewiki: innovate: see, Litigate

        • http://profiles.google.com/adamtruelove Adam Truelove

          Same here. Though I don’t personally prefer Apple products, I would always recommend them to my less technologically inclined friends and family. Now I just flat our refuse to even discuss Apple products, let alone recommend them.

          • MikeSaver

            Yep and such is the disadvantage of bad PR. Something that’s very real and can have an effect on branding. They may win in court but their actions that turn off so many people, even if those people weren’t apple fans to begin with, has a trickle down effect.

            Already convinced most of my friends to get Android phones, almost all of them are purchasing Nexus 7s as well. I know that’s not a huge impact right there, but don’t think my case is exactly unique.

        • http://twitter.com/chisox05matt Matt

          Well said , I had the 2nd version iphone and then switched to the Droid X and now a Galaxy Nexus i never really hated apple just preferred Android but with them suing everybody in their sights its getting a little old. Hate is a strong word but i strongly dislike them and will probably never buy a apple product in the foreseeable future. Apple figured what ever they put out their the sheep will follow and they kinda guessed wrong with that one.

      • fixxmyhead

        hey did u ever make a post of all the copied features of android from iOS6?

  • Smeckle

    Here’s an idea: get out of the courtrooms and focus on your own products rather than on trying to ban everybody else’s.

    • Smeckle Dumb

      You really think that the engineer’s are in the court rooms?
      Please listen to yourself before you post ridiculous comments.

      And believe me I understand what you’re saying, try to understand what I am trying to tell you. To suggest that 100% of Apple’s company is in the court rooms and that is why this short coming for a poor app has happen makes no sense…

      • nwd1911

        Obviously engineers are not in the courtroom. I believe the comment is towards executives leading the company in a direction of innovation vs. litigation.

      • Smeckle

        I’m not sure you do realize what I’m saying. The iPhone 5 is a disappointment. Maybe you own one and that’s why you took offense and I apologize for my opinion but it is. It brought nothing at all significantly new to the table. Everything major about it was already done by Android between like one and two years ago.I n fact, the last few versions of iOS have just flat-out copied Android in so many ways , as Kellex likes to point out each time. If you don’t think they would have made better innovations if there were no lawsuits going on to divert the attention of the higher-ups then I guess we just disagree. And if you think that the iPhone 5’s direction and development was entirely at the hands of engineers then maybe they need to hire new ones.

      • Philip A. Kaiser

        No, but when the top brass is sharing its time between reading court updates and monitoring the progress of its newest flagship device, this is the result. Obviously Cook must have been distracted to have let this slip. Would have never happened with Jobs. He would have delayed the software update or removed the maps change if he were still running the place.

        • Philip A. Kaiser

          Whether publicly or internally Jobs owned up to his successes as well as their shortcomings. He didn’t blame engineers when things went wrong nor do he allow them credit when things were right. He owned up to everything they produced personally. He took pride in that fact which is what made him so difficult to work with/for.

        • michael arazan

          They probably pushed it out not to delay the phone, they figured, “it mostly works so just push it through and we’ll just update it as we go, these idiots won’t care, they just want a new phone now, its shininess will distract them for a couple months.”

      • http://profiles.google.com/adamtruelove Adam Truelove

        While I agree with you, I have a feeling Apple’s employs more lawyers than engineers working on Apple Maps.

        • richard melcher

          I think they employ more lawyers than all other positions combined. I wish someone could post some statistics.

      • balticzar

        Ahhhhhhhh…….I think he was being sarcastic. You sir……are out of line. Take the stick out of you arse and relax.

      • G-Nex 22

        Troll…..

      • http://www.facebook.com/shalomology A Shalom Gabriel Toribio

        Wow… You die hard apple fans are just what’s the word… Dumn…

      • michael arazan

        Says app “Fell Short”, It fell off a cliff! Can’t wait for a class action suit from phanboys getting in accidents or killing themselves listening to apple telling them to drive into large bodies of water, through buildings, and off cliffs, and you know they will.

        • james

          That’s f’n hilarious!

    • jewvee

      shwinngggg!!!

    • richard melcher

      quote of the year.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mike.aurin Mike Aurin

    “Apple Maps fell short”…and the award for the biggest understatement ever goes to……

  • Cam

    Props to the guy for admitting when they were wrong. But, it appears it is making the natives restless.

    • guy

      Look at all the stocks today. They’re all down.

  • TROLOLOL

    wut… apple-life.com?

    • Eric

      I was thinking the same thing. The Million dollar man said it best. “Everybody’s got a price”

  • rehughe

    This will be the end of Obama’s reelection bid. All of the liberals will be lost on their way to the voter’s booths….

    • Carlton Madden

      wrong. every iPhone user I know is a republican.

      • http://twitter.com/darkcomartist darkcomartist

        Actually I think most politicians, Republicans, Democrats, or Independents are iphone users with a small percentage being blackberry users. The status symbol of an iphone is appealing to all parties (plus they wouldn’t know how to use a real SMART phone anyways)

      • KleenDroid

        That’s because iPhones are not free. You have to pay for an iPhone….

    • http://profiles.google.com/drastik651 Jim Kalista

      here we go… politics.. on an android blog…

      2 things we dont talk about at work

      Android vs Apple

      Obama vs Romney

      :)

      • Chuck Finley

        +1000^2

        • MikeSaver

          Hey all political nuts. My vote is up for auction here. Right now I’ve been offered 5 bags of Fritos to vote against Obama. Anyone got that beat?

          • KleenDroid

            You shouldn’t have to be bribed to vote against Obama.

            You don’t want him appointing any more Supreme Court Justices do you? A Supreme Court Justice serves for life…..

            Look up the lady in Cleveland raving about how Obama gave her a cell phone. She said Obama gave everybody in Cleveland a cell phone so they should vote for Obama…. Of course the these people don’t realize that the free phone program was started by Ronald Reagan. And in the 90’s it included cell phones because of changes in technology.

            This country is screwed… Check out this lady in Cleveland on Youtube.

          • MikeSaver

            I don’t really care. All I care about is how much money/booze/doritos you are offering.

          • KleenDroid

            Lol

      • Chris Hollenbeck

        He appeared to have lost his way the to Fox News forums….(and comment deleted)
        Thanks Kellex .

  • http://www.facebook.com/oldblueeyes182 Joshua Bailey

    “or use Google or Nokia maps”

    It must have pained him to write this.

    • Christopher Greenfield

      Smallest font possible probably