Apple admits Maps not up to snuff, suggests Google Maps (and others) for now

It's not every day that Apple has to admit one of its own products, well, sucks. (Hell, it's not very often that Apple releases a product that's not at least as good as the alternatives.) But this morning, that's exactly what CEO Tim Cook has done in an open letter on Apple's website.

For our purposes, Cook does suggests Google Maps as an alternative, albeit with a web shortcut, since Google's yet to submit a native Google Maps app for iOS.

Writes Cook:

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.

We've got the full letter after the break.

Source: Apple; more:

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

Have you listened to this week's Android Central Podcast?

Android Central

Every week, the Android Central Podcast brings you the latest tech news, analysis and hot takes, with familiar co-hosts and special guests.

  • Subscribe in Pocket Casts: Audio
  • Subscribe in Spotify: Audio
  • Subscribe in iTunes: Audio (opens in new tab)
  • Though I don't think he was completely honest when he stated his reasoning for Apple switching from Google Maps to their own product, this was still pretty impressive. This was a class act for Mr. Cook. I tip my hat to you sir. ...but I'm still not buying an iPhone.
  • Yes. Agreed.
  • I think it's incredibly sad to see Apple fall as fast as they have in the short time Steve Jobs was sick and now dead. There is no possible way that Apple would have released their Maps with Jobs still at the helm. It sucks because that is one less company creating stellar products. They may not have innovated as much as fans like to say they did; but one thing Apple did with Jobs at the helm is create near perfect software and hardware. It's disheartening to see them turn into just another run of the mill software giants in such a short period of time.
  • Steve would have released it. He was instrumental in bringing Siri into IOS and it was released as "beta".
  • I prefer to think of it as an alpha in beta's clothing.
  • Please tell me you are being facetious. I love Android as much, if not more, as the next guy, but where in the h-e-double hockey sticks, did Apple fall to. Their maps app sucks, (among a few other things, I can think of). OK, I get that, but every platform suffers these missteps from time to time. But to say Apple is just "another run of the mill software giant" (to be accurate, they are actually more of a hardware company) is fanboy-ism taken too far. I don't agree with a lot of their practices, whether that be because of ethically questionable moves or just flat out mind numbing decisions, but even I have to admit, the company makes beautiful products. And maybe this gesture is the sign of a different type of Apple for the foreseeable future.
  • I agree...Mr Cook is a much more customer facing CEO than Steve Jobs. Maybe not better in terms of vision, but Jobs would have given some answer like "You aren't using Apple Maps correctly." Apple Maps will get better, and it will be interesting to see how it competes with the likes of Google, Bing, and Nokia, since they are several years ahead of the curve.
  • And they will always be a few years ahead... Google shows no signs of slowing down!
  • Apple really has gone from innovator to follower very quickly. All they do now is copy Android features.
  • Apple maps will never "compete" with Google maps. Even though Cook might recommend Web apps, I predict he won't allow a true Google Maps app on the phone, using that same rejection reason used so often in the past: "duplicates functionality already built into the phone". Don't be in too much of a rush to sing the praises of a man with egg on his face.
  • Class Act my ass. This is nothing more than a lame attempt at PR Spin. They are having their asses handed to them in the tech media with even David Pogue suggesting that the decision to drop Google Maps was a clusterfuck. And it's not the 1st time Apple has apologised. Time Cook deserves no credit for stating the obvious.
  • This! Tim Cook, I d like to introduce you to Roger Goodell.
    Roger has an excellent recipe for crow.
  • YES!!! +100000 AND you win the internets
  • HA! HA!
  • "In order to do this, we had to create a new version of Maps from the ground up." Not true, if I understand things correctly. You had another option: give Google the in-app branding they were asking for in order to release those features. That may not have been an option you were willing to take, but it was *an option*
  • @Phil is that your galaxy s3 running cyanogen mod?
  • Good letter. The Apple maps are bad but this issue has been beaten to death.
  • It's only beaten to death to those of us who didn't rely on the old maps to get us where we are going every day. For those that did it is a significant problem and huge catastrophe because they can't anymore. Yes most of us here view the iPhone as mostly a toy but millions of people rely on it every day and now find suddenly that they can't. That's a huge problem for them and for the first time EVER customer satisfaction has gone down. This isn't a new feature that just doesn't work as expected like mobile me when it came out. This is apple replacing a core feature of the phone that worked well with one that doesn't. Jobs would have never allowed that. He would have rallied his team to fix it st the last minute but if ultimately they were not successful he would have put the maps back even at the last minute even, and pushed the new maps to iOS 6.1.
  • I am really surprised that Apple acknowledged this... I thought there would be a whole "You're mapping it wrong..." campaign. But it's good they did this... maybe they had no choice.
  • Talk about having a serving of humble pie. Hopefully Google will make a far better standalone app for the iPhone and iPad. One thing I did note that was missing for the iPad itself was a post iOS 6 native YouTube client.
  • That's already in the appstore
  • My understanding is YouTube was removed from iOS6, but Google has an app in the App store they can DL and use.
  • I am so torn between Apple and Google. I love the simplicity, fluidity and security of iOS along with it's well integrated ecosystem.. but also hate it's lack of openness. I also dislike the Apple ego. In my ideal world iOS would be jailbroken and there would be more tools for integrating with non-Apple services and products. OR, Android OPTIONALLY allowed tighter security and more consistently great app/service implementation. Anyways, kudos to Tim for swallowing some pride, but I still think I will give up my 4S for a Note II.
  • Apple is playing "Mr. Nice Guy" right now..
    It's so different act compared to last WWDC when they mocking Android version naming using dessert.
    They know that they won't always have the upper hand -like in Steve Jobs era-, so they play it safe.
    They got their lesson with Siri ads that received complaints and played it well this time.
  • LMAO
  • So using Google maps as an alternative til they fix what they didn't need to fix to begin with is fine, unless you have an iPhone 5. Correct me if I'm wrong but you can't even install Google's Maps on the iPhone 5 can you?
  • He means typing G maps into the browser. I've been using apple maps for a few weeks. I am not seeing any trouble here in Michigan.
  • Less money for attorneys, more money for software engineers.
  • Exactly. Innovate not Litigate.
  • so the dbag suggests other trash 1st and then says .... or google/nokia, thanks ahole
  • Wow man. Get some counseling. They're just cell phones.
  • Given the vast amount of bad publicity this generated, I don't think Cook had a choice but do some damage control. It is far more conciliatory than I would expect.
  • I miss Steve, it was more fun when he got pissed off and blames the consumers
  • ^This :-)
  • Only one thing crossed my mind when I read this:
  • Just what was it about working WITH Google to make maps on iOS as effective as it already was on Android? I thought I understood this, now I'm confused by it. Was Apple locking Google out of key areas, was this a pure money issue, or was it a control issue?
  • I would say more of a control issue IMHO.
  • It seems like Apple is losing its grip slightly. Last year it was SIRI that was their new biggest thing, which was in BETA and had/still has a lot of issues. This year, iOS6 with new Apple Maps is their big thing and same thing.... seems to still be in beta with lots of issues. I thought Apple was all about "polish" and some other crap.
  • Steve Jobs would have said that Apple maps are correct and its the world in general which is wrong.
  • The problem with this for apple is, if they screw one more up, and do not deliver a perfect imap soon, they will loose the image of perfection, and people will start looking somewhere else at the same level. There are too many good competitors, HTC, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung. (They are in alphabetical order not preference)
    Either they come up with something really perfect or different nexty time or their market share is going to freeze if they are lucky
  • olololol My favorite part is where Tim suggests Bing or MapQuest before Google. 
  • Google has the best Navigation app from them all i believe. but Bing isnt as far off as you think. They are porting layers after layers of mapping data from Nokia, which we know owns Navteq. My girls traffic data on her lumia 710 is far more accurate than my EVO LTE :(
  • I'm not defending Apple or their decision to develop their own mapping application. I think it still takes a lot of courage to admit when you messed up. I just wanted to point out that he seemed to recommend mapping applications over web based mapping tools. Both were listed in alphabetical order. I personally wouldn't read too much into this as an endorsement of one company's alternative over another.
  • Some people will always buy the iPhone no matter what!!
  • Yeah. That's true. People just love the updates, support, culture, etc.
  • LMFAO.... "including features such as turn-by-turn directions, voice integration, Flyover and vector-based maps." in other words "we want to release an apple branded google maps" up yours tim and CO. hope you all burn in hell! :)
  • Hard to feel bad for them after what they just did to Samsung....