Apple CEO apologizes for Maps bug

The rare apology follows Apple’s launch of its own maps service earlier this month, when it began selling the iPhone 5 and introduced iOS 6, the much-anticipated update to its mobile software platform.

Users complained that the new Maps service – based on data from Dutch navigation device and digital map maker TomTom NV – contained geographic errors and information gaps, and that it lacked features that have made Google Maps so popular, of public transport directions to traffic data and road information. Watch pictures.

“We are deeply sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better,” Cook said in a letter to customers posted on its website, adding that the company is committed to ” not complied with” is “to offer our customers the best possible experience”.

Unusually, he suggested customers download competing mapping services available on Apple’s App Store while the company improves the product.

“As we improve Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps like Bing, MapQuest and Waze from the App Store, or use Google or Nokia Maps by going to their websites and placing an icon on your home screen for theirs Create web app,” the letter reads.

Apple is typically reluctant to tout competing services, and Cook’s contrite apology is a reflection of how Apple is changing under the CEO, who was replaced by co-founder Steve Jobs shortly before his death last year. It’s also taken the extra step of prominently displaying the competing services on its app store.

  Video message: German fugitives take the floor - "we are not murderers"

“It’s a bit unusual, but at the same time, Tim stands by Apple’s commitment to providing customers with the best user experience,” said Shaw Wu, analyst at Sterne Agee.

“People forget that Google Maps was initially inferior to Mapquest and Yahoo Maps,” he added.

Apple’s proprietary Maps feature — assembled by acquiring mapping companies and data from many vendors including Waze, Intermap, DigitalGlobe and Urban Mapping — was launched in June to much fanfare by software chief Scott Forstall. It has been billed as one of the major highlights of the updated iOS6 software.

However, after the software was introduced, errors and omissions quickly arose in the map service, ranging from misplaced buildings and mislabeled cities to duplicate geographic features.

new apple

The last time Apple faced such widespread criticism was in 2010, when users complained about signal reception issues with the then-new iPhone 4 model.

A defiant Jobs at the time dismissed any suggestion that the iPhone 4’s design was flawed, but offered consumers free phone cases at a rare 90-minute press conference called to address these complaints.

While Apple fixed the issue, Jobs only apologized to users after specifically asking if he was sorry. He also said the problem is shared by all major manufacturers, naming competitors Research In Motion Ltd, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd and HTC Corp.

  The photos show stolen grain on a Russian ship

Cook himself played a key role in convincing Jobs to address the negative publicity that grew around the issue, something his biographer says he was initially reluctant to do.

“Finally, Tim Cook was able to rouse him from his lethargy,” Walter Isaacson said in his biography of the late Silicon Valley icon. “He quoted someone as saying Apple was going to be the new Microsoft, smug and arrogant.” The next day, Jobs changed his mind.”

It remains to be seen how quickly Apple can fix the mapping errors. Jobs was in a similar position when he allowed the launch of email syncing software MobileMe in 2008, prompting deadly reviews. The Mercurial CEO took responsibility for this and replaced the CEO. The service is now integrated with the iCloud product.

Mapping is a complex process that takes many resources and years to perfect, said Marcus Thielking, co-founder of Skobbler, maker of the popular GPS Navigation 2 app developed with the crowdsourcing platform OpenStreetMap.

“It helps a lot when you have great data to start with,” he said, adding that different databases seem to have been thrown together when creating Apple Maps. “They (Apple) can provide incremental updates and they will.”

Cook said that more than 100 million iOS devices are using the new Apple Maps and that the more people using Maps, the better it gets. He also gave some clues as to why the company decided to remove Google Maps.

  Russia is imposing sanctions on Biden and a long list of US officials and politicians

Apple introduced Google-powered Maps “initially with the first release of iOS,” and created a homegrown version of the service because it wanted to offer more features, Cook said.

“Over time, we wanted to offer our customers even better maps, including features like turn-by-turn directions, language integration, flyovers, and vector-based maps,” he said in the letter.

Google offers turn-by-turn navigation on Android-based devices, but the popular feature wasn’t available for Apple devices. Apple Maps replaced Google Maps in iOS 6 and the Google service is now only available through a browser.

Apple shares fell 2% to close at $667.10 on the Nasdaq. Reuters


If you liked reading Apple CEO apologizes for Maps bug

Please share with your friends and family.