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Tim Cook: 'So sorry for Apple's crap maps app - try Bing or Nokia'

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Apple CEO Tim Cook has, out of the blue, apologised for the crap Apple maps app in iOS 6 - and suggested punters turn to rivals Microsoft, Google and Nokia.

The letter published on Friday on Apple.com states that everyone at Apple is "extremely sorry" for "the frustration" that the new satnav-like software caused for loyal fanbois. Apple's minions are "working non-stop" to turn around the less-than-brilliant service.

A previous Apple statement on the new mapping system, which was introduced in iOS 6 and the iPhone 5 to replace Google's map app, suggested that users themselves would have to get a shift on if they wanted the service to get better. Meanwhile Apple has been hiring new bods to fix up the mess.

In his letter today, Cook wrote:

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.

In the meantime he actually recommended rival maps products to iOS users:

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.

Apple isn't prone to apologising so profusely, or even talking very much outside its media circus launch events, but it's not unprecedented: Steve Jobs issued a reluctant apology for antenna-gate after the iPhone 4 dropped its mobile transceiver signal if touched in the wrong places. As with the antenna flaw, the maps debacle affects a core function of the iPhone, but is perhaps worse in that Apple knew the maps change was coming - it deliberately threw out Google's superior service - whereas antenna problems could be pegged down to the slightly more forgivable sin of overly ambitious electronic design. ®

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