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Apple CEO Tim Cook Apologizes For Maps App, Recommends Alternatives 451

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-rebrand-it-as-stylized-earth dept.
TheBoat writes "Tim Cook has apologized for the company's Maps app in iOS 6. 'We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.' Cook said the company is continuing to work on the app, but recommended several alternatives in the meantime: apps from Bing, MapQuest, and Waze, or the map websites of Google and Nokia." This is unusual for Apple, but not unprecedented. Steve Jobs acknowledged reception issues with the iPhone 4 in 2010, but he wasn't quite so contrite about it.
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Apple CEO Tim Cook Apologizes For Maps App, Recommends Alternatives

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  • Bye Apple (Score:5, Funny)

    by heptapod (243146) <heptapod@gmail.com> on Friday September 28, 2012 @09:33AM (#41487211) Journal

    Steve Jobs would have never apologized. He woudl've given it just the right spin that everyone would feel contrite over making jokes at Apple's expense. The next release would be perfect, as Steve would have demanded, and the kerfuffle would be consigned to largely forgotten history.

    Tim Cook goofed.

    • Re:Bye Apple (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ArcherB (796902) on Friday September 28, 2012 @09:37AM (#41487267) Journal

      Steve Jobs would have never apologized. He woudl've given it just the right spin that everyone would feel contrite over making jokes at Apple's expense. The next release would be perfect, as Steve would have demanded, and the kerfuffle would be consigned to largely forgotten history.

      Tim Cook goofed.

      I agree that that map app is flawed, but first releases of anything usually is. I have no doubt that this will be fixed in short order as Apple has gobs of money to throw at the problem and knowledge of where the problems are.

      There is no better beta test than a general release.

      Disclaimer: I am an Android user and by no means an Apple fanboi. Frankly, I despise the company for abusing the court system for their anticompetitive practices. However, you have to give Apple credit here for admitting flaws. It's not something the company often does and they should get credit for it.

      • Re:Bye Apple (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 28, 2012 @09:45AM (#41487373)

        I don't know about it being fixed in "short order". Think of how long it took and how many people it took to get Google Maps to the level it's at. Even if Apple spends enough to cut that time in half we're still looking at a decent wait.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543)
          Mod parent up! Apple may have money to throw at this issue, but they do NOT have the time. They might have if they have developed this for a few more years in secret, but now that it's out, they're boned.
      • Re:Bye Apple (Score:5, Insightful)

        by am 2k (217885) on Friday September 28, 2012 @09:52AM (#41487457) Homepage

        I agree that that map app is flawed, but first releases of anything usually is.

        The problem is, this is iOS version 6, not version 1. The customers don't care about inter-company politics. If they would, they wouldn't buy Apple products in the first place, being the kind of company it is.

        • Re:Bye Apple (Score:5, Insightful)

          by interval1066 (668936) on Friday September 28, 2012 @10:30AM (#41487971) Homepage Journal
          Agreed. Apple is so keen to cut their tether to Google they cut the customer's throats, "Kudos" to Apple for admitting they're wrong? Please...
          • Re:Bye Apple (Score:5, Insightful)

            by bennomatic (691188) on Friday September 28, 2012 @11:48AM (#41489103) Homepage
            I agree that the maps app is a step backwards. But calling it "cutting customers' throats" is, you have to admit, a bit of hyperbole. I live in a mid-sized city, I've used iOS6 maps a half-dozen times in the last week, and it's been perfectly fine every time. I know anecdotes are not data, but I'd be willing to wager that for most people, in most areas, doing most searches, it's acceptable.

            Best ever? No. Flawless? Certainly not. As good as we've come to expect from iOS? Nope. But it's not cutting anyone's throat by any stretch of a sane imagination.
            • by AmiMoJo (196126)

              But calling it "cutting customers' throats" is, you have to admit, a bit of hyperbole.

              Your phone telling you to drive down train tracks isn't far off though, you have to admit.

      • Re:Bye Apple (Score:5, Interesting)

        by smooth wombat (796938) on Friday September 28, 2012 @09:57AM (#41487517) Homepage Journal
        I agree that that map app is flawed, but first releases of anything usually is.

        So you're saying they've adopted the Microsoft way: release software which is horribly bug infested, let the user's who've paid for the product tell you what's wrong, then go about fixing the problems you either knew about or were too lazy to fix in the first place because you saved a few bucks by not doing testing.
        • Re:Bye Apple (Score:5, Insightful)

          by m.ducharme (1082683) on Friday September 28, 2012 @10:46AM (#41488193)

          Apple's been doing this with (some of) their software titles for years. This is nothing new to them at all. The only thing that's new is that expectations are higher for Apple now, and they can't release a product without the eyes of the world scrutinizing every tiny thing they do.

          Everyone's making a big deal about Apple Map software, but nobody seems to remember that Safari, iTunes, and a half-dozen other Apple applications are steaming piles of shit, and that to make a proper operating system, they had to buy one that was based on BSD. This isn't about Apple adopting a bad software dev strategy, it's about Apple's bad software dev strategy biting them in the ass for the first time.*

          *Disclosure and notice to the flame-warriors: I say these terrible things about Apple not because I'm an Apple hater, but because I've been using Apple products almost exclusively for many years now, and have much experience with Apple's flaws as well as its finer qualities.

        • by jbolden (176878)

          Adopted? What do you think happened with the OSX 10.0. What do you think the first version of iTunes or Keynote was like? Apple can't do magic, first versions of massive complex applications are buggy.

      • Re:Bye Apple (Score:5, Insightful)

        by JDG1980 (2438906) on Friday September 28, 2012 @10:07AM (#41487635)

        I agree that that map app is flawed, but first releases of anything usually is.

        That's acceptable if you're doing something really new and innovative that no one has done before – like the original iPhone itself, or the first release of Siri. On the other hand, if you're entering an existing marketplace, your first release had better be at least as good as the entrenched players, preferably better, or at least offer some substantial other benefit to offset that. (This is why I think Windows Phone 8 is going to be a massive flop.)

        This goes double if you're replacing functionality in an existing product. You can't replace a fully-working utility with a buggy beta and expect users not to complain loudly.

        There is no better beta test than a general release.

        Using customers as beta testers is a sadly common practice in the IT industry, but one reason why Apple has been so popular with users is that they've avoided doing this – up until now.

      • I agree that that map app is flawed, but first releases of anything usually is. I have no doubt that this will be fixed in short order as Apple has gobs of money to throw at the problem and knowledge of where the problems are.

        There is no better beta test than a general release.

        What happened to "It Just Works"?

        The only reason why I use Apple is because they have well finished, polished software that are reliable and very pleasant to use. If I wanted beta apps I wouldn't pay that much on an iPhone or iPad.

        • What happened to "It Just Works"?

          The only reason why I use Apple is because they have well finished, polished software that are reliable and very pleasant to use. If I wanted beta apps I wouldn't pay that much on an iPhone or iPad.

          It's been a while since "It Just Works" was true.
          Furthermore, Windows 7 (and Ubuntu, to a certain extent) has delivered an experience that could be described as "It Just Works", especially when it comes to drivers. Improved competitors tend to highlight one's flaws.

        • by Ash-Fox (726320) on Friday September 28, 2012 @10:56AM (#41488311)

          What happened to "It Just Works"?

          It's now become "It Just Sues!".

      • I agree that that map app is flawed, but first releases of anything usually is. I have no doubt that this will be fixed in short order as Apple has gobs of money to throw at the problem and knowledge of where the problems are.

        The thing is, you're looking at a short term one time fix.. but this isn't a bug in the OS where you can through money and coders at it and then throw a party when they problem is fixed. This isn't a flawed antenna design where you can throw engineers at the problem an offer free bump

    • Re:Bye Apple (Score:5, Interesting)

      by clonehappy (655530) on Friday September 28, 2012 @09:39AM (#41487293)

      Tim Cook goofed.

      Because he's not a lying egomaniac? I hope you were being sarcastic, but you can never be too sure.

      I appreciate his honesty and willingness to be forthcoming about a flaw in their product.

    • Re:Bye Apple (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300) on Friday September 28, 2012 @10:20AM (#41487829)

      I find it funny how the public will equally go nuts over a small problem vs a large one.
      My Maps are not as good as the last time. Vs. Company has been embezling and misusing our tax money. Same amount of anger and fustration. Why do you think companies are staying corrupt. Because if they try to be the good guys whatever minor mistake they will get the same slack is if they make a major problem.

      Can't be the good guy, so let just be the bad guy.

      We should save our bickering for the big stuff, and let the little stuff slide a litte bit. Sure in this case report the problem. OK the CEO appologizes. No that isn't good enough we want Blood because we were 10 minutes lake to that party.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 28, 2012 @09:33AM (#41487215)

    He'd just say you were trying to navigate wrong.

  • Really bad in Canada (Score:5, Informative)

    by jest3r (458429) on Friday September 28, 2012 @09:34AM (#41487225)

    In an effort to figure out how innacurate the data in my area is I did the following:
    - Fired up Xcode
    - Determined that Apple Maps uses the CLGeocoder Class by peeking at the iPhone's debug console in Xcode while doing live searches in Apple Maps
    - Scraped an official list of towns and cities in the province of Ontario from the provincial governments website.
    - Coded up something quick in Xcode to get the results of a couple thousand searches. Searches always included the province name to be more specific.
    - Ran a quick analysis of the results - not perfect but enough to get a perspective on the matter.

    This is what I found:
    - 2028 cities and towns searched
    - 688 are not even on the map! Error Code 8
    - 551 are clearly incorrect (wrong country, street names that are similar to town names etc.)
    - 389 were close but not good enough (for example turn-by-turn might send you off a bridge but you'll get rescued close to where you want to be)
    - Only about 400 results were actually correct.

    Actual results data here and methodology here for those interested: http://www.mtonic.com/applemaps/ [mtonic.com]
    (It's not perfect but gives you an idea of how bad it really is in Ontario Canada anyways)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wile_e_wonka (934864)

      Now run a comparison to Google's maps so we can see side by side.

  • by hawks5999 (588198) on Friday September 28, 2012 @09:34AM (#41487237)
    He would have just told us all that we are using the maps wrong, and we'd all apologize to him.
  • Wait, What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543) on Friday September 28, 2012 @09:34AM (#41487245)
    I thought the whole No Google Maps on iOS was a plan, didn't they use their app for 5 minutes, and realize the HUGE outcry when they removed it? Further, due to the massive amounts of money (which apple has in spades) and time (which apple doesn't have at this point) what can they hope to do to fix it? And why didn't they pull the plug before it got to release state? Somebody really dropped the ball, or lied out of their ass during the status meetings. I'm wondering when the firings will start.
    • Re:Wait, What? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jo_ham (604554) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (999mahoj)> on Friday September 28, 2012 @10:13AM (#41487721)

      No, the plan was never "no google maps on iOS" the plan was "we need turn-by-turn navigation in iOS and our existing deal with Google does not enable that and we can't agree on licensing terms so we will have to roll our own".

      There's no conspiracy to exorcise Google from iOS - they still have several apps on iOS, it's just that the native maps app is no longer one of them (an app written by Apple in the first place).

      You've always been able to use google maps from Safari (or make an icon for it so you can launch it like an app), and many people did it this way because it had more features then the built in app which hadn't been updated in a long time. The same thing was true of Youtube - the version provided by Google on the web was better than the built in one (which Apple wrote back in 2007 and didn't see the need to update for this reason).

  • by kstatefan40 (922281) <[kstatefan40] [at] [yahoo.com]> on Friday September 28, 2012 @09:36AM (#41487261) Homepage

    Steve Jobs must be turning in his grave. It sounds like Mr. Cook failed to learn from Mr. Job's demand for perfection before release. I guess this could be like iPhone v1 not having the copy and paste feature at product launch. Eventually, I wonder if people will get sick of dealing with this kind of attitude from Apple? I did - a long time ago.

    • by dopaz (148229)

      A solution to both the iOS 6 map problem and iPhone V1 copy/paste problem is to simple: skip the first revision of a significant iteration. An iPhone 4S with iOS 5 has great maps. Early adopters have been treated as beta testers for years, and not just by Apple.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Andy Dodd (701)

        " An iPhone 4S with iOS 5 has great maps"
        No it doesn't... It doesn't even do basic turn-by-turn routing. Something standalone GPS units and Google Maps have had for years.

        • by dopaz (148229) on Friday September 28, 2012 @10:08AM (#41487653) Homepage

          The Maps app does indeed do basic turn-by-turn routing. What it doesn't do is text-to-voice, to announce the upcoming turns. Until Google released "Google Maps Navigation", Maps on Android didn't announce turns either.

        • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Friday September 28, 2012 @10:10AM (#41487687)

          turn-by-turn routing... Something standalone GPS units and Google Maps have had for years.

          Which is exactly why Apple chose to invest in their own map data and software: they could not come to an acceptable agreement with their direct competitor to allow them to offer this feature. Apple made the right decision. When they catch up in a year they will be in a better place and consumers will have more choice. Win, win.

  • Where's Steve? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich&aol,com> on Friday September 28, 2012 @09:37AM (#41487273) Journal

    Steve Jobs never would have apologized. While he was certainly one to recognize errors and correct them expeditiously, he'd never own up to it in public. His sometimes boisterous show of unwillingness to compromise is partly what has created Apple's entire image as a "no compromise" company.

    Tim Cook is certainly a different guy, with a different approach. I feel he has somehow cheapened the iGadgets with this move - first by releasing a product that never should have made it through validation, and second by apologizing for it in public.

  • I knew it (Score:4, Funny)

    by thegarbz (1787294) on Friday September 28, 2012 @09:39AM (#41487299)

    Ha I knew Apple would blame then end user for everything and spin it as just another fea... wait what?

    This is actually quite a dramatic about face from the usual way Apple deals with problems. Where's the blame, then the spin, and instead of an apology I was expecting Tim Cook holding up a competitor's product going "see it has problems too!"

    I'm impressed.

    • I suspect the different approach is because Apple has finally figured out that this is a very different problem from any they've faced in the past. They can't put coders or engineers on overtime and issue a patch or change the design and offer to exchange bad phones within a few days or a few weeks.

      This is a problem that's going to persist for months, possibly years - as they scramble to build what amounts to an entirely new division producing an new product line (one that existing companies have already b

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Friday September 28, 2012 @09:45AM (#41487369) Homepage

    I want an apology for the fact that they've decided my 2.5 year old iPad isn't getting an iOS upgrade.

    That's way too short of a life to decide to abandon it. Telling your early adopters "tough luck" isn't a great idea.

  • by alen (225700) on Friday September 28, 2012 @09:45AM (#41487371)

    i've used them here. the parsing is screwy. you have to input the address exactly or it will screw it up. but it wasn't too much trouble to do it for a few contacts.

    otherwise the routing works very nicely. previous maps app didn't have turn by turn and this is a pretty big improvement. especially the real time traffic from waze that's built in

    • I am actually well pleased, so far. Routing is good, the roads between my place and my parents' house are a bit goofy, and unlike my other nav software (Navigon) it gave the two most sensible routes. It also has traffic info even on crappy little roads here in the Netherlands, marked more clearly than it was on Google's map app. The parsing is not as good as Google's, but I found that typing in part of the street name resulted in a list of suggestions sorted on proximity, which allows me to quickly fill
  • Failure in reporting (Score:5, Informative)

    by Andy Dodd (701) <[ude.llenroc] [ta] [7dta]> on Friday September 28, 2012 @09:54AM (#41487485) Homepage

    Good job driving ad traffic to BGR, who didn't even bother to link to the original source:

    http://www.apple.com/letter-from-tim-cook-on-maps/ [apple.com]

  • by TheNinjaroach (878876) on Friday September 28, 2012 @10:00AM (#41487551)
    Suggesting the Google Maps website is really thick. If Apple really wanted to fix the situation ASAP, why don't they re-release the Google Maps app?
  • by WilyCoder (736280) on Friday September 28, 2012 @10:01AM (#41487573)

    Never thought I would see the day where Apple would introduce the iApologize...

  • by Picass0 (147474) on Friday September 28, 2012 @10:05AM (#41487617) Homepage Journal

    Apple screwed up (although they are haldly unique) is pushing the concept that an Operating system is a bunch of personal and productivity applications. Road Navigation software is not part of the operating system.

    The OS is the core environment, utility, houskeeping software, and desktop. Marketing idiots have confused the common consumer into thinking an OS also has programs for adding glitter to ponies.

    As seen here, when an app breaks the perception becomes the who OS is flawed.

  • A correction (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mr_Silver (213637) on Friday September 28, 2012 @10:19AM (#41487807)

    The idea that Steve Jobs never apologized for anything seems to be starting to become a common Slashdot misconception.

    I'm sure people can think of times when they wish he did apologize for something, but to say he never did would be inaccurate.

  • by RossR (94714) on Friday September 28, 2012 @10:38AM (#41488079)

    I think what we (the consumers and people concerned with lock-in) should be pushing for is the ability to go back to older versions of iOS on devices that we own. If every story about this failure mentioned that people who try the new version are locked in without the ability to go back to a working version, maybe Apple would cave.

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