By Alexandra Burlacu | Sep 30, 2012 10:36 AM EDT
Apple CEO Tim Cook apologized Friday, Sept. 28, for the flawed iPhone mapping application the company released last week with iOS 6. Cook reckoned the company "fell short" of meeting expectations, and suggested users try rival map apps until Apple fixes its software.
"We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers, and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better," Cook wrote in an apologetic letter to customers.
Meanwhile, a New York Times report on Friday reveals that Apple's original iPhone released in 2007 was not even supposed to have mapping software. The mapping app was reportedly included just weeks before its debut, coming more as an afterthought than a planned feature.
The Times cites a former iPhone software engineer familiar with the matter. According to the source, late Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs requested a mapping app for the original iPhone "just weeks" before it was scheduled to make its debut back in 2007. Two engineers were reportedly tasked with creating a maps app for the original iPhone's launch, and Apple ultimately teamed up with Google to use the search giant's mapping data.
The story aims to paint a larger picture of Apple's apparent lack of interest for providing Internet services that match its high-end hardware. According to the publication, "numerous interviews" with former Apple employees clearly revealed that the late Steve Jobs, as well as other Apple executives, were more concerned with "the devices for which Apple is best known" rather than Internet services.
The Times further points out Apple's apparent failure to make an Internet-based product that worked. To illustrate its point, the publication cites the company's various attempts at such services, including the MobileMe launch and its former Ping social music network.
When it comes to the new Maps app in iOS 6, a former Apple executive said that colleagues still with the company are "embarrassed by it," and said the slew of issues with the app stem from the merging of map data from various sources. Some of this data is reportedly flawed, and Apple recently came under fire for the mishaps in its mapping application.
The media had a blast this week pointing out the flaws in Apple's new mapping application, such as the duplication of some islands, listing a farm as an airport, omitting some cities, or wrongly locating others.
"I think there's a bigger question of whether hardware companies can be services companies," said Leslie Grandy, a former Apple manager responsible for the Online Apple Store.
Meanwhile, Cook said that users who are frustrated with the maps experience in iOS 6 could download other mapping applications such as Microsoft's Bing, Waze, and Mapquest from the App Store, or use the iPhone's Internet browser to access Google's mapping application.
"At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers," said Cook. "With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment."
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