Tim Cook map apology: (AAPL) Apple CEO is 'extremely sorry' for replacing Google Maps in iOS 6

I'm "extremely sorry" isn't what you'd expect to hear from the chief executive of one of the most successful companies in the world -- but that's what Apple's Tim Cook is saying to customers on Apple.com.

After more than a week of gripes with Apple's new map software, which replaced the very popular Google Maps, Cook is apologizing Friday for the frustration it has caused customers.

The maps were implemented into the new iPhone 5 and older generation phones through the iOS 6, Apple's latest operating system.

Critics say the new Apple map system contains loads of mistakes and the company has faced a chorus of complaints since iOS 6 was made available for download.

"What Apple has done with #iOS6 maps is like planning a mission to outer space and NOT TALKING TO NASA," tweeted tech-loving comedian Baratunde Thurston, a former digital director for The Onion.

Apple announced earlier this year it was replacing its mobile map software from Google with a new Apple-designed system. All iPhone and iPad users are now forced to use the new map system when they update their software or buy the iPhone 5, which will come pre-loaded with the maps.

You can, however, still use Google Maps via a web browser by going to maps.Google.com .

 

Screenshots posted online appear to show a museum located underneath a river, while the map service seems to deny the existence of the English town Stratford-upon-Avon, where Shakespeare was born. Other users say a search for London directed them to London, Ontario, in Canada, instead of the British capital.

Many customers say they are upset that Apple has removed mentions of public transportation routes or stations from its new map service, a popular feature on the Google system which allowed users to see bus and train schedules at individual stations.

Ireland's Minister for Justice expressed concern that the new Apple maps identify a working farm in a residential area of suburban Dublin as an airport, a potential hazard for pilots.

The Apple's maps have already inspired a Tumblr feed, the ironically named "The Amazing iOS 6 Maps," filled with examples of mangled mapping. And some Twitter users pointed out the irony in that the new map system was unable to pinpoint an Apple store in Sydney, Australia, which it placed on the wrong side of the road.

Tech blogger and entrepreneur Anil Dash was especially critical of the new maps, which he called "pretty but dumb," and of Apple for releasing what he said was a flawed product.

"Apple made this maps change despite its shortcomings because they put their own priorities for corporate strategy ahead of user experience," he wrote. "That's a huge change for Apple in the post-iPod era, where they've built so much of their value by doing the hard work as a company so that things could be easy for users."

Apple did not respond to requests from comment from CNN. But in a statement to tech blog All Things D, the company preached patience.

"Customers around the world are upgrading to iOS 6 with over 200 new features including Apple Maps, our first map service," spokeswoman Trudy Miller said. "We are excited to offer this service with innovative new features like Flyover, turn-by-turn navigation and Siri integration. We launched this new map service knowing it is a major initiative and that we are just getting started with it. Maps is a cloud-based solution and the more people use it, the better it will get. We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better."

Some tech bloggers on Thursday were advising owners of older iPhones not to upgrade to iOS 6 because of the maps.

Meanwhile, Dutch satellite navigation company TomTom, which provided the data for the new map system, told CNN it is not responsible for the way the maps work.

The poor reception for Apple's maps don't appear to have dented the popularity of the iPhone 5, however. Apple announced on Monday that pre-orders of the phone topped 2 million in just 24 hours and that its initial supply batch for the phone sold out in just an hour.

Cook's full letter is as follows:

The full letter follows:

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

-------------------------------------

Rory Anderson, CNN contributed to this report.


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