It's pretty rare for consumers NOT to be gaga over any type of Apple product. And it's also pretty rare for Apple to apologize for anything.
But early Friday, Apple CEO Tim Cook issued a statement saying the Cupertino, Calif.-based company is "extremely sorry" for the frustration that its maps application has caused and it's doing everything it can to make it better.
Cook said in a letter posted online that Apple "fell short" in its commitment to make the best possible products for its customers.
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He recommended that people try alternatives by downloading competing map apps from the App Store while Apple works on its own maps products.
The company released an update to its iPhone and iPad operating system last week that replaced Google Maps with Apple's own maps application. But users complained that the new maps have fewer details, lack public transit directions and misplace landmarks, among other problems.
Most startling is Cook's suggestion that users go back to using Google Maps. While the old Google maps app will not be available, users can simply bookmark Google's web version. Cook's letter includes a link to instructions to do that.
Google has been coy about creating a new map app for download in the Apple app store for use on iPhone and iPad. Google chairman Eric Schmidt has said Google is not working on a replacement offering but other insiders at the company dispute that.
Google has a lot to gain with Apple's map trouble: Google still offers its superior maps app on phones that run the company's Android operating system.
This is not the first time Apple has had to backtrack on a product. Steve Jobs called a special press event in July of 2010 shortly after users discovered their iPhone4 would disconnect calls if they held their phones in a certain way. The press dubbed it "Antennagate".
Here's Cook's letter in full:
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.