Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, has publicly apologised for the state of its widely ridiculed new Maps app. It’s an incredible, and near-unprecedented, admission of failure. Well I didn’t see this coming!
It’s been hard to miss the ridicule directed at Apple’s new Maps app. Released last week as part of iOS 6, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, the new app replaced the one previously powered by Google and was meant to bring Apple up-to-date with competing maps on Android and Windows Phone. The reality was quite different.
From Paddington Station going missing and being directed to Luton on the South West Coast, Apple’s new Maps app has been the very definition of a farce. It’s not totally without merit – the maps look lovely, load very fast and now have turn-by-turn navigation – but without accuracy all this counts for naught.
Apple’s public apology
And after a week the criticism has become so vocal that Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has written a public apology, in which he writes:
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.
It’s a vanilla apology if ever I saw one, but there’s one killer sentence:
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.
In effect, Tim Cook is saying Apple’s Maps are so bad, you’re better off using rival services via a web browser. It’s hard to fault the logic.
Use another mapping service
For me this apology is a revelation. Apple has apologised for things in the past, such as the infamous antenna-gate incident with the iPhone 4. But even in apologising for that, Apple was defiant – it dedicated a lot of time to pointing out it was a problem not unique to the iPhone, for example. It was ‘sorry we got caught’ not ‘we’re sorry for making a mistake’.
But here Tim Cook right out admits a total failure; a failure that was obvious to many who tried the app before its official release.
No doubt the post-mortem will be long and tortuous, but if evidence were ever needed of the difference between Tim Cook and the late Steve Jobs, just read this apology.