Tim Cook Apologizes

Tim Cook:

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. Without sounding too much like an Apple apologist, I think it should be pointed out just how difficult it is to build a database of every US business, home location, landmark, and street. Google stands on nearly a pile of mapping information that is a decade old. Apple is starting from scratch, which is why it is pooling information from TomTom, Yelp, and OpenMaps. These solutions aren't perfect, but as more people continue to use Apple's new Maps app, the information will become more refined and accurate. Another major point which has been lost on most the media is that Google has been denying Apple the ability to integrate turn-by-turn navigation alongside their maps data. According to John Gruber, this was the last straw for Apple, forcing them to build their own solution. Personally, I've had mixed experience with the new Maps. The good by far outweighs the bad, though. The ability to fire up Siri, say "Take me to Tom Jones' house," and then momentarily be shown and told directions to my friend's house is simply gold. I don't think we still realize the power of combining Siri and turn-by-turn navigation. It really is like having your own navigator sitting next to you. I've been delighted to find Siri understand and execute things like, "Please take me to the nearest gas station along my route." I think what this all comes down to is a general discontentment among tech enthusiasts. Each year, Apple announces an amazing new iPhone, and each year, the media finds something less than perfect to make headlines out of. All in all, they're not big deals: the iPhone 3GS still didn't have a physical keyboard, the iPhone 4's antenna turned out to not effect most folks, Siri on the iPhone 4S had downtime, and now, the new Maps app has incomplete information. Yes, these are valid complaints, but they shouldn't detract from the fact that Apple has changed the way we find information and communicate with teach other through their record breaking products. If you're still unconvinced, I urge you to watch this YouTube video.