Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Tim Cook on Apple Maps: “We Are Extremely Sorry”

Here’s how seriously Apple is taking criticism of MappleGate: Via a public statement on the company’s Web site, an incredibly rare admission of fallibility from CEO Tim Cook, which includes an apology:

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

Note that Cook doesn’t blame Google for any of his problems. But he does recommend Google’s Web-based version of its maps service as one of several alternatives iPhone users could try, along with Microsoft’s Bing and AOL’s MapQuest.

In some ways this is comparable to Apple’s response to AntennaGate two years ago, when then-CEO Steve Jobs held a rare press conference to address complaints about the iPhone 4’s performance.

That time around, Apple also admitted that its phone was not perfect, and offered to give iPhone 4 owners $15 each, or a free case. But Jobs also argued every phone maker suffered from similar problems, and that the company really hadn’t heard many complaints, anyway. This time around, Cook is much more contrite.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik