NEW YORK — Apple CEO Tim Cook apologized Friday for the company’s error-ridden new mobile mapping service, pledging to improve the application installed on tens of millions of smartphones and, in an unusual mea culpa, inviting frustrated consumers to turn to the competition.
In a letter posted online Friday, Cook said Apple “fell short” of its own expectations.
“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 nonstop until Maps lives up to the same incredibly high standard,” Cook said.
Apple released an update to its iPhone and iPad operating system last week that replaced Google Maps with Apple’s own map application. But users quickly complained that the new software offered fewer details, lacked public transit directions and misplaced landmarks, among other problems. People have been flocking to social media to complain and make fun of the app’s glitches, which include judging landscape features by their names. The hulking Madison Square Garden arena in New York, for instance, shows up as green park space because of the word “garden.”
Until the software is improved, Cook recommended that people use competing map applications to get around – a rare move for the world’s most valuable company, which prides itself on producing industry-leading gadgets that easily surpass rivals.
Apple has made missteps in the past – even under founder and CEO Steve Jobs, whose dogged perfectionism was legendary.
Cook said Apple’s maps will get better as more people use the app and provide feedback.
That’s true for all digital maps. Google’s system wasn’t perfect when it launched, but it got better over the years as users pointed out mistakes and helped the company collect its vast trove of data.
But for now, Cook actually recommends that users look at other options – including Google maps.
“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,” Cook wrote.