Apple apology over Maps switch
Apple's chief executive Tim Cook has issued a written apology following widespread criticism over mapping software released last week with the company's latest iteration of the iPhone.
"We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better," Mr Cook said in a letter to customers posted today on company's website.
Apple, touting the map feature as a key software change in the iPhone 5, built its navigation application to replace Google Maps program, the iPhone's default map software since the device was first introduced in 2007.
While Apple's new software introduces features such as turn-by-turn navigation, it has been faulted by users and technology gadget reviewers for getting disoriented when navigating users, for the lack of public transit information and for not having an exhaustive catalogue of landmarks for people to search for.
"Maps is an appalling first release," David Pogue, the technology critic for the New York Times, said in a review this week.
"It may be the most embarrassing, least usable piece of software Apple has ever unleashed." Mr Cook said that more than 100 million Apple mobile devices are using the new maps application and that the feature will improve as the company collects more data.
In the meantime, he said people who are frustrated with the experience could download mapping applications such as Microsoft's Bing, Waze and MapQuest from the company's App Store. He said customers also could use the iPhone's Internet browser to use Google's mapping application.
"At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers," Mr Cook said.
"With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment."
The announcement isn't the first time that Apple has had to apologise or reverse track during the introduction of a new iPhone. The company had to provide rebates to customers of the first iPhone in 2007 after it cut the price. It also apologised and gave out free cases to customers because of antenna problems for the iPhone 4 released in 2010.