Apple's chief executive officer Tim Cook released a statement Friday apologizing for customers' dissatisfaction with Apple Maps - the new app included on the latest software update for iPhones.
Apple came under fire for dropping Google Maps from its latest mobile operating system iOS 6, which is pre-installed on all iPhone 5s. The new mobile operating system dropped the Google Maps app, which had been included in the iPhone since its initial release in 2007, opting for its own Apple Maps app instead.
The move was controversial because immediately following the update, users complained of getting lost, not seeing landmarks and the lack of public transit directions. Many felt like the move away from Google was premature and rushed.
"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," Cook said in the letter published on Apple's website.
In a recent report by AllThingsD, "multiple sources familiar with Apple" said that Apple's made the move because it wanted voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation - a feature that is already available in Google Maps for Android mobile phones. But the sources posit that Google invested tremendous resources into bringing the feature to Android and it didn't want to give a competitor its precious data. The source said that voice navigation was the "deal-breaker."
The heated negotiations may be why Apple rushed to launch Apple Maps. The Verge reported that Apple had another year left on its contract with Google, but decided to ditch the app a year early.
Read Tim Cook's full letter below:
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.