Apple CEO Tim Cook took the most drastic step yet to address the growing furor over the company's beleaguered map application, saying he was "extremely sorry" for the frustration felt by customers and vowing to improve the program.
An apology from Apple is a rare thing, but the company has said sorry from time to time, including the "Antennagate" troubles two years ago with the iPhone 4. This time again, Apple has been forced to confront a problem publicly. The maps flap has allowed competitors such as Motorola Mobility take a swipe at the smartphone giant, and left it vulnerable to criticism.
Cook also took the unusual step of recommending alternatives such as the Bing, MapQuest, or Waze maps apps, or using Google or Nokia's map Web sites while the company works to improve its own app.
The issue began when Apple opted to boot Google Maps from iOS 6, essentially forcing customers to use its own native app, which many complain lacks details, is filled with distorted images, and provides erroneous directions.
Here's the full letter:
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.
©2013 CBS Interactive Inc., a CBS Company. All rights reserved. Used by permission.