Apple’s CEO says “we fell short” on iOS 6 Maps, suggests using alternatives

Ian Hardy

September 28, 2012 9:10am


Last week when Apple’s new maps app went live customers were quick to complain about how unfinished it was. An Apple spokesperson stated that “We’re just getting started with it.” Clearly, now a week later and millions of customers upgrading to iOS 6, CEO Tim Cook has written an open letter to the masses and stated “we fell short” and that they are “extremely sorry for the frustration.” Cook noted that they are working on making maps better, but also suggests users to possibly look into alternatives like “Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps.” Full letter below:

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

Source: Apple

  • AppleStockHolder

    A good CEO owns up to the problem. Steve Jobs would have never admitted that Maps sucks.

    • roman20

      It’s just damage control.
      The switch was purely based on politics and hurt feelings, Apple still had over a year left on the Google maps contract. They could have used that time to polish Maps.

    • Samuel

      Steve Jobs would have never ever let that incomplete app to make part of the suite on iOS 6, he would had preferred to go with google maps for another round rather to make the loyal customoer suffer.

    • anonymous

      In other words, iOS users you are f****d, kindly use Google maps!

    • Kroms

      LOL This is hilarious!
      Tim Cook is a bad Businessman. You never admit you were wrong. Lets see what the Stock holders think of COOK admitting he let things slip on HIS watch once Apple starts to lower it’s margins.
      That day will come like it or not. True Business heavy hitters never say sh$t like this.

      As bad as this is, wait till more and more people realize how easily the Iphone5 scratches because of the BLACK Iodized paint on the body. This will eventually be a huge problem with this phone. Unless Iphone users Buy a case.

    • Blackkey

      I thnk Steve Jobs would have said that I was searching it wrong.

    • bb

      A good CEO would apologize, but a great ceo wouldn’t have made that mistake in the first place. First antennagate, siri, maps and aluminum black covered backing with too many scracthes oh and less not forget ever year they never have enough product.

  • ns.dev

    For some reason, I think if Jobs was still in carge it would be something like:

    “It’s not a problem, the world is just shaped wrong.”

    • DR

      and people will agree…

    • anonymous

      For some reason, I think if Jobs was still in carge it would be something like:

      “It’s not a problem, the world is just shaped wrong.”

      ….Yes, it should be rectangular with rounded corners.

    • Jay

      Wait, something is wrong on the iPhone 5? Well, at least Apple is consistent. Every time they launch a new iPhone it’s got something screwed up that affects all of their customers.

      Wonder when Google is going to file suit for them copying Google Maps?

  • Alex

    Apple’s Maps problems are a manpower problem, not a fundamental technology problem. Easy to fix, unlike antennagate.

  • Cob

    Honestly if Steve jobs was CEO still he wouldn’t have released maps yet

  • Hi

    I’m not a huge apple fan but the iMap of whatever has been working for me better than google maps did. Google maps for me had the tendency to tell me I was random places and be way off on addresses. Issues seem to be fixed. Of course this could just be in my particular city.

    • Brian

      It must be your city.
      I use all sorts of mapping software through my job. I find errors with all of them, but Google Maps is easily the most accurate and thorough. If I do find errors, it’s generally a new subdivision that doesn’t show up on Google Maps. From time to time, I’ll find an address in the wrong place, but that’s exceedingly rare.

      Bing and Mapquest are very close behind Google, and maybe even better in some areas. I haven’t used the maps on iOS6, but if the problems are as widespread as they seem to be, it won’t be an easy fix. These are fixed via users reporting errors & the developers researching the errors & fixing them. Google has generally responded within a week to a missing street or bad address. It remains to be seen how Apple will address errors.

      In the past, they wouldn’t even admit they existed. Perhaps Tim Cook’s disposition will spread…

    • bazinga

      @Hi Right, and the antenna worked great on your iphone 4 too, right?

  • Jack

    I live in KW and I’ve been using maps for about a week now and I haven’t had any issues so far.
    Not sure what all the fuss is about….
    Does it only suck in the states?

    • kungriffey

      I agree. I’ve been using maps in Toronto on a daily basis and I have had no issues.

    • COB

      I was there last weekend and it actually worked really well there.

    • Randy – 1

      No, it’s not just in the States. I don’t have an iPhone but do have an iPad with iOS 6.

      I had to go to the FedEx depot here in downtown Toronto to pick up a package. I put in the address with “, Toronto” so it knew the city (though Google maps discerns that by knowing your current position) and it directed me to some place in Louisiana! …and no, the City wasn’t named Toronto as well.

      So, I put in the address followed by “,Toronto, ON, Canada” and it came back with “Location not found”. I went to Google Maps on my Android phone and it gave me walking directions and street view immediately.

  • Hi

    No issues with iMap crew checking in. Seriously less issues than I had with google maps

  • hoo dat

    I find it odd that Apple is willing to own up to Maps being unfinished, but not the phone’s finish chipping immediately out of the box, or even before.

  • Alex

    Well, still better than having his phone attacked by a single link.

    • ns.dev

      I seem to remember web pages that could JB iPhones. I’d much rather have a bad page wipe my phone then get root access.

  • theMediaman

    When did Apple stop making the Future?

    • Omega

      They never started. They just rehashed the past.

    • DR

      When did they even start?
      all they’ve been doing in copying an invention or innovation and then patenting it.

  • N4BB

    Ha ha we screwed up just use Bing. Oh and maybe visit the google website. Not going near iOS 6. Let’s go BB10.

    • Collin

      bb10?? is that supposed to be a joke?? that phone is ugly as sin and so is the operating system..

  • David

    That’s an understatement. The entire phone fell short, not just the friggin’ map.

  • XS

    Oh man, that was really desperate. But what choice he had? There are so many issues with iPhone 5 and IOS6 that he had to choose for which to apologize, and he chose the right one: maps can be improved or they can go back on using Google Maps (if they have no choice) but what to do with all those quality complaints, this means loosing main argument. How are they gonna bring up “cheap plastic” argument? I feel so sorry for Apple.

  • N

    Apple is following Microsoft strategy. They release products with bugs, then provide SP1, SP2, SP3 and dish this as a great customer support.

  • Art Vandelay

    So why did you Apple get rid of Google Maps one year prior to the end of the contract? This is pure arrogance and inconsiderate to your customers. It’s just sad to see people defending Apple on this..

    • Rio

      Arrogance and inconsiderate? Please. Google maps was holding them back.

      WHile google implemented turn by turn and voice directions on every other android phone they failed to put anything even close to what apple has implemented.

      Yes Apple maps are very inaccurate in certain areas but atleast they put in the features we all want.

    • ns.dev

      Google didn’t hold them back, Apple probably could have negotiated for turn by turn. Apple doesn’t really like negoitiating though. FYI: The old maps app was created by Apple (not Google, same as old YT), and used Google for the data source.

    • bazinga

      @ Rio. Ya, now you get turn by turn directions… right off the bridge. Does apple have a ‘how to swim’ app?

    • sp

      @Rio welcome back Apple fanatic. lol

      @bazinga of course they have a swimming app. its 15.99/download but should come bundled with iPhone and iMaps turn by turn… it should, but they are milking all the money they can get. lol….

      BAZINGA!!!

  • Trembler

    Cook make have thought he was dissing Google or Nokia by putting them at the end of the line like that but what he is doing is making the company look like they don’t know what they are doing.

    If I had someone tell me a list of apps to use, I would expect the better ones to show up in front and I think I am not alone in this.

    So what I read is this:
    Tim Cook thinks mapquest is better than Google Maps and Nokia’s maps.

    With that kind of thining, no wonder why they are in so much trouble. Sure their stock price and cash chest doesn’t show it but their pile of failures in the last 2 years combined with the drop in QA is a bad sign of what is to come for them. They are going to need that warchest to pull themselves off the ropes because they are taking a beating on the reputation front. iPhone 5, same phone as last year but with a new connector, a stretched screen and crappy maps. Oh yeah, we took off the #1 video site for your benefit. But wait, they added a 2 year old technology to their phone and are now innovative again. They truly are a victum of their own success.

    • ns.dev

      Google & Nokia maps are listed blow the other because they don’t have a native app (yet). Cook was just listing native apps, followed by web apps.

    • bb

      its ok gene munster and other financial analysts have said that the map funciton having issues will not stop apple from selling phones because the users don’t care. The stock went down to 663 and back up again…so analysts are telling the users what to think. But the truth is you don’t have to have the best product to sell, you need the richest clients. People with less money look for bargains, people with too much buy a phone with crap apps for mega bucks.

    • HO

      @ns.Dev u must be fkn joking, Google Maps is not native?, even more funny is that Nokia is not native…sorry pal, but my N8 has built-in GPS maps, I only need GPS satellite fix and it will guide me, or even without it, I just put both start and finish point and it will work, it comes built in with every single Nokia, Google Maps goes with every single Android phone but u still need Data and Gps fix if not using the offline map.

      Buddy, stay with ur crappy miPhone trash, those are native and will guide u to the proper place for u, NOWHERE!

  • Jake

    Best part of that letter was where he suggested to go to the Google maps website lol

  • iphoneuser

    Now that the lord and master of the sheeps have conceded that their own app suck, what do all the fanboys who says the map app was good now say?

    • Mike

      “That’s ok, I don’t use maps anyway.”

      “But the screen is really pretty!”

      “I always look up addresses in a physical map book, and it’s fine! Really!”

      “That’s a tradeoff I’m willing to make for all the ‘woo’ and ‘ahh’ I get when I whip out my new iPhone 5.”

      “You’re holding the phone wrong.”

      “If Apple tells me your store is located here and you’re not, you’re just gonna lose my business.”

    • ns.dev

      “Correct dirrections are too mainstream.”

  • Mike

    Throw away a good product from another company and implement your own lousy solution. What a revolutionary process!

  • Mark

    Somewhere Steve Jobs is putting on a jacket… because hell froze over.

  • Shadyguy

    I second all the people laughing about big Tim referring his iSheep to Google Maps. He knows they are his arch nemisis now right – thats why he removed them completely from iOS6 didn’t he? Oh yea and Tim you are currectly suing this company you are referring your isheep herd to.

  • Shane

    I have not had a problem with the maps yet. Although as soon as I do, I will be throughly pissed.

  • Mike Johnston

    Agreed, jobs would never have let it happen. New CEO = rush to market and not perfection, all it takes is a series of mistakes, often starting with something small to bring down a giant.

    • ns.dev

      Because the puck mouse wasn’t a mistake…

    • bb

      the bigger they are the harder they fall…oh but wait they will get the customers back with their kevlar mac books…at $3000 a piece…that will make them happy.

  • bulletwithbatwings

    And this is why I’m so against all the reviewers that gave this phone a 9/10(almost everyone did), vs the Xperia T that got roughly 8’s, or any other android or windows phone that has to bend over backwards to get a 9. A product is a marriage of hardware AND software, and a phone with broken maps in 2012 cannot be a 9/10.

  • Patrick

    Long way from matching Google’s maps

  • PR

    the real issue here is the iPhone is the highest price phone, there should not be ANY ISSUES, you pay a higher price for the higher quality, and you arent getting that.

    Premium price, garbage product,

  • pacalis

    This is a massive screw up – cobbling together maps is not a strategy. Apple should have bought a major player like Garmin and be done with it. Maybe they still should.

  • Kroms

    It AMAZES me how some of you IPHONE5 users are saying you do not have an Issue with MAPS.
    Why ?
    Because if ( IF) this had been the Samsung Sg3 or Any other Android Phone with Google Maps doing this , You’d be screaming how APPLE is the best and how everything else especially Google and Android is Garbage.
    Apple screwed up, there maps are terrible and not reliable and lets not forget!! How is that SIRI working for directions in CANADA Folks! Oh wait….it doesnt.
    Terrible.

  • Shenzen

    will apple maps be deployed on bb10?

  • Gus83

    And everyone gets a free rubber bumper!

    • 2dfx

      This isn’t Oprah.

  • hoo dat

    Correct or not, I hardly think directing people to a WP fan blog that’s critical of Apple to be the damming indictment you seem to think it is. How about I supply a link to an Apple site that pokes holes in Nokia? I could if I truly wanted to be what an utter and complete waste of time it would be, so, guess what, I won’t. Next time try something from independent main stream or tech media sites, at least then they’d carry more weight.

  • blackberrydude

    damn I hate Apple, first with changing their connector and not following the rest of the manufacturers with the micro-usb, and now with their version of Maps. Idiots, Google Maps works perfectly, why change it? Damn fools.

  • ActivesiN

    I’m genuinely impressed that the CEO made an actual apology, still dropping Google maps was a dumb idea but at least now apple knows it was a dumb idea

  • Tim3tripp3r

    @Anonymous
    Maybe that’s where Apple f#d up – It’s really hard to get the algorithm just right to convert the square world with rectangle corners to show properly in the real world. Jk
    Also to all the peeps who says maps perfect on iOs 6 – hands up for anyone not living in a major metro area. Yah that’s I thought.

  • Chris

    The world is flat!

  • abc123

    I know that if I used iOS Maps and it couldn’t find my address or took me in the wrong direction, I wouldn’t have the confidence to trust that app anymore… no matter how much better they make it in the future. This is the type of app that must work… esp. if they are promoting the capability of turn by turn directions.

    Google should seize the opportunity to get their app back into the app store and destroy iOS maps for good.

  • Amy

    Don’t worry apple will fix it on the next iphone… iPhone 5S

  • kroms

    THIS is what happens Tim when your so HELL Bent on Suing people and not paying attention to your products TIM !