Apple CEO apologizes for maps debacle

Updated: 2012-09-29 09:41


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Apple CEO apologizes for maps debacle

Scott Forstall, senior vice president of iOS Software at Apple Inc., demonstrates turn-by-turn navigation in iOS6 with Siri during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2012 in San Francisco, California in this June 11, 2012 file photo. Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook apologized Sept 28, 2012 to customers frustrated with glaring errors in its new Maps service, and, in an unusual move for the consumer giant, directed them to rival services instead, such as Google Inc's Maps.[Photo/Agencies]

SAN FRANCISCO - Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook on Friday apologized for the maps glitch in the company's latest iOS 6 mobile operating system, recommending users to use maps alternatives from Apple's competitors.

In an open letter posted on Apple's website, Cook said Apple fell short on its commitment to make world-class products, noting that "we are extremely sorry for the frustration."

Cook reiterated that the more customers use Apple Maps the better it will get.

To address the issue, the Apple CEO recommended users to try options of downloading mapping apps like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on the home screen of their devices.

Analysts and industry watchers applauded Cook's apology and Apple's commitment to provide the best user experience as Apple never touted its competitors' services.

It is seen to be comparable to Apple's response to iPhone 4's antenna issues in 2010, when late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs held a rare press conference to address concerns about the smartphone.

Last Wednesday, Apple released its latest mobile platform iOS 6 which powers iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. On the platform, Apple ditched Google Maps as a pre-installed application for its own mapping service and touted the feature as a key software update for the new iPhone 5.

But users and reviewers started to complain about the service shortly after the system update, citing lack of public transits, geographic errors, incorrect business listings etc.

The mapping service is seen as a rare debacle for Apple's new product introduction and taken as the major drawback that may affect the iPhone 5 sales.

Apple had used Google Maps as a pre-loaded application since it launched first iPhone in 2007. On Wednesday, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said publicly that Apple should have continued to use Google Maps in iOS 6.

According to technology news site AllThingsD, the two tech giants' map talks crashed after Google wanted to keep the turn-by-turn feature to its Android system and was reluctant to include the feature in the iOS system.

The report said Google also wanted more control over its mapping service on iOS and Apple had no choice but to replace Google Maps with its own.