Tim Cook: Apple Will Strive to Make Maps App World-Class

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Apple CEO Tim Cook published an open letter to customers Friday, addressing concerns over the company’s new Maps application that was introduced as part of iOS 6.

Mr. Cook reiterates the point that the service will improve over time as Apple receives corrections from users and internally updates data, but he suggests that alternative mapping solutions may serve some customers better until then.

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

Apple’s Maps has been met with harsh criticism since its launch, but was arguably a necessary step for Apple to take due to its increasingly contentious relationship with Google and the restrictions that Google placed on Apple over key features, such as turn-by-turn directions.

Comments

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

<quote>Apple’s Maps has been met with harsh criticism since its launch, but was arguably a necessary step for Apple to take due to its increasingly contentious relationship with Google and the restrictions that Google placed on Apple over key features, such as turn-by-turn directions.</quote>

See also: cutting off your nose to spite your face. Apple will end up paying more to Microsoft for Bing-powered Maps than they would have to Google for feature parity with Android. Oh, and Cookie will use Maps as the scapegoat for disappointing launch results.

ctopher

I was certainly disappointed in the iPhone 5 launch. They sold out so I couldn’t get one!

While I agree with Mr. Hutchings that the Maps App does indeed feel like Apple is being spiteful when it comes to Google vis-a-vie the customer experience, as a shareholder, I applaud the move away from Google.

Even if they pay more to Microsoft in cash, they’ll get more and give up less to Google in kind. In the long view, Apple can have a first class Maps App and not aid the crowd sourcing of Google mapping data.

Also, the folks I know with iOS 6 love the Maps app. For them it’s accurate and just works. Kinda like their antenna in their iPhone 4 smile

skipaq

This is a good time for Apple’s customers to chip in and make a product better. The legions of iOS users providing the info needed will make Maps better; while at the same time not providing info to Google.

The analogy that Brad uses makes Google out to be a marauding band of pillagers; burning and raping as they march on.

Lee Dronick

I have been messing around the Map Apps and am liking it more and more, but am still findings things that need improved. I just sent off a suggestion that in Directions we need to be able to reroute the suggested routes so that we can chose scenic or side trips.

I found that in Directions we can chose a destination from Address Book and the Map App will enter the street address.

kevinlane

Disappointing launch results?!

I think Apple sold every iPhone 5 they made.

THanson

Steve Jobs:  “I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong.  I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product.  I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

Quote:  “Apple will end up paying more to Microsoft for Bing-powered Maps than they would have to Google for feature parity with Android.”

So?  Looks like someone is totally missing the point.  Funny.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

The point that Steve Jobs was a complete douche was never lost on me. Shame that you and other Apple users have to continue to pay the price of that a year after he’s gone.

THanson

Feel whatever you want toward Jobs.  But the truth is the truth, and the truth hurts sometimes.  No shame at all - I am thrilled to pay the price as it is totally worth it to me and a lot of others.  I can’t stand Google and Android.  iOS6 Maps are great where I live.  No problems at all.  If Apple can cost Google millions of dollars by going internal with Maps, then it works for me!!  Half the game in business is succeeding with your own stuff, and the other half is hurting the competition.  This will hurt Google.

John Dingler, artist

With Apple’s suggestion to go to a rival—in its case more than one—it used an intelligent gambit identical to the one used in the movie “Miracle on 34th Street” when the pres. of Macy’s Dept. Store received good PR by suggesting that a disappointed customer go to Gimball’s, its visceral rival, to purchase an unavailable product.

But some stores now do this as a matter of course, with my own local hardware store suggesting without any pretense to visit Home Depot. It’s called sharing and will be forced on everyone as the Bush-era economy further deteriorates due to so much domestic money being transferred into foreign wars instead of having it remain domestically, depriving normal, non-corporate US citizens of wealth that belongs to them.

Your CAPTCHA sucks.

John Dingler, artist

No, CATCHA worked right away on this article, but I entered the correct one four times on the article about Samsung winning over Apple. My comment, which did not go through then, was “Geez, can’t Apple win one outright like MS won over apple a long, long time ago?”

John Dingler, artist

“Spite?” Spite is a good motivational too to use against a mortal enemy as long, of course, as the mind is not unnecessarily clouded by that emotion which, in Job’s and now in Cook’s case, his mind is not clouded, remaining crystal clear, succinctly targeted, and, most importantly, perspicacious.

Websnap

@ bosco

Who is paying anything to Microsoft? They aren’t using bing in the Maps app, they are just recomending it like the other map apps in the app store he listed.

Jamie

I suspect, as with Antennagate, this will be no big deal in six month’s time (though they should have labeled it beta as they did with Siri). When iOS 7 rolls around I think the iPhone will be very nearly Google-less, and that’s a good thing: Google needs the competition just as much as Apple does.

It makes absolutely zero sense for Apple to pay Google for ‘parity’ (how can you call it parity when those features are largely speculative on the majority of Android devices, hm?) with a product derived from their own work. They’ve gotten along fine without Microsoft during their strongest growth period ever, I don’t see any reason to doubt it’ll be any different with Goog. 

I actually worry more about Google adjusting in the face of increasingly differentiated methods of finding information and the collapse of the glory days of online advertising, their real cash cows. In many ways they are scrambling to escape the 90s as much as Microsoft in this new landscape. If the best they can do is steal other companies’ sh*t or shoot for the bottom of the barrel they are in trouble (Dell, anyone?), and it’s a little different than the PC wars - Microsoft was at least making money with their products. Last time I checked, Android was by and large a bust in that regard, a $99 Nexus won’t exactly be filling their coffers to overflowing. . . .

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