Apple CEO Tim Cook apologized for the faulty technology behind iOS 6 Maps, saying that the in-house application fell short of the company's commitment to "world-class products."
In a letter on Apple's website, Cook said that the company was working to smooth out bugs in a system that many customers griped gave false directions and whose 3D flyover feature made streets and edifices look funky, to say the least.
The Apple system also lacks public-transportation routing, an important feature of Google Maps.
At the same time, he told customers that alternatives were available at Apple's app store from Bing and MapQuest, and instructed them how to access Google Maps on the web.
The issue started when Apple replaced Google Maps with its own mapping device on the new iOS 6. It has been a source of great consternation within a tech community that expects and demands excellence from Apple and its suite of mobile devices.
Sales of the iPhone 5 were brisk during its first weekend, with the company moving 5 million devices and beating sales of the iPhone 4S, but customer satisfaction levels were lower. A recent survey of 16,000 iPhone owners found that those with iOS 6 were less happy with their devices than those with iOS 5.
Here's the text of the letter:
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.