With the release of iOS 6, Apple replaced the Google Maps app that has been present in all previous versions of iOS with their own new in-house mapping solution. At this point, I’m sure the majority of you are aware of the criticism surrounding Apple’s decision to differentiate and develop features they likely wouldn’t get licensing to use from Google – i.e. 3D maps, turn-by-turn directions and flyover.
But, the criticism isn’t so much related to this drastic switch as it is to the countless number of errors users are encountering when using Apple maps: incorrect addresses, improper mapping, erroneous turn-by-turn directions and so much more.
Today, Apple CEO Tim Cook published a letter that’s directed towards disgruntled customers and the new Maps app.
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.
In the letter, copied above, Cook simply apologizes for Apple’s new mapping solution’s shortcomings and promises that it will improve over time. According to Apple, and Tim Cook, the new Maps app is used by over 100 million iOS devices and the more people use it, “the better it will get”. While not entirely explicit as to what that means, they’re referring to the Cloud-based nature of Apple Maps.
Due to the fact that the Maps app pulls data from the Cloud, Apple can make adjustments, revisions and improvements without the need to release an updated version of iOS. Also, when Cook claims that it will improve with the adoption of more users, he simply means that the more people report errors, the better it will get because they can address and correct said errors.
However, for now, Cook is advising those who aren’t content with the new Apple Maps app to temporarily try an alternative such as Bing, MapQuest, Waze or using a browser-based mapping service (e.g. Google maps).
Stay tuned for complete coverage on Apple, iOS 6, the new iPhone 5 and Apple’s new Maps app.