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Tim Cook Issues Apology For Apple Maps

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Apple CEO Tim Cook has issued an official apology for the company's half-baked Maps app.

Cook wrote that the mobile mapping product "fell short" of the quality he said the company is committed to delivering.

"We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better," he conceded in a letter to users, posted by Apple on Friday morning.

Apple announced in June that it would drop the popular Google-built maps feature from iOS and would release a homegrown Maps app with iOS 6. Since the glitchy new app launched, users have been vocal about its tendency to mislabel or erase cities, move famous landmarks and warp scenes in 3D Flyover mode, to name a few complaints. Many are also disappointed that Maps doesn't provide transit directions, which was a go-to feature for many fans of the Google-made maps in iOS.

Cook in his letter promised users that Apple is working to better Maps and suggested a handful of third-party apps that users could turn to in the meantime. Wrote 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."

This is a far cry from the paltry statement Apple distributed last week, shortly after Maps became available and the outcry began to rise over bugs in the app. "We launched this new map service knowing it is a major initiative and that we are just getting started with it," an Apple spokeswoman said at the time, per Mashable. "[T]he more people use it, the better it will get."

Here's Tim Cook's apology letter in full, courtesy of Apple:

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

Sources told The Verge this week that Apple apparently announced its own Maps app while it still had another year left on its mapping contract with Google. At least part of the disagreement between the two companies was over a voice-guided navigation feature that Google had included in its Android app but had left out of Apple's iOS app.

BuzzFeed reported recently that Apple is beefing up its Maps staff to keep pace with Google, which already has a seven-year head start on its mapping products and currently employs about 7,000 people for various maps projects.

Google is said to be working on a new maps app for iOS 6. The company could submit the app to Apple for approval into the iTunes App Store by the end of this year, according to anonymous sources who spoke to the New York Times.

What do you think of Apple Maps? Has it made you late or gotten you lost? Do you have horror stories to share? Or rave reviews? Let us know: email us at technology@huffingtonpost.com or tweet @HuffPostTech.

[hat tip TechCrunch]

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