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

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 …

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple has peaked

Precocious cow. I hope you got a a4 ruled jotter and a pack of pencils. Much more cost-effective.

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Re: Apple has peaked

"I think the 4S was a big mistake strategically. Don't wish to enrgage the fanbois, but the 4S wasn't a compelling upgrade if you already had a 4. Especially for the crowd that buys based on looks."

Whilst it's true that a niche number of smartphone users upgrade to the newest model every year, the vast majority don't, they sit out their 2 year contracts and then have a look at the offerings, in this context I think Apple plays very well, each iteration is attractive to those coming out of contract whilst not being compelling for those who are on the last iteration, a stratagy somewhat helped by OS upgrades for the previous generations adding some features from the latest phone.

Regarding the OT though, Apple will peak when they're forced to licence their OS's to third parties, which I'd guess will be about 5 years away if they wait for someone else to decide for them.

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Re: Apple has peaked

Given that people have reasons to buy phones at different times, it seems rather risky to base a model assuming that everyone wants to upgrade at the same point once every two years...

(It doesn't help that they can't even stick to that - it's been 2.5 years since the iphone 4... Also unfortunately, the iphone 5 is really the 4SS - still an incremental upgrade.)

Why would they be forced to licence their OS to third parties?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why would they be forced to licence their OS to third parties?

He's dreaming that they're going to capture the majority of the smartphone market.

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No-one is listening to obvious MS troll

First paragraph from your lined article:

"iPhone 5 sales topped five million over the first weekend, beating the previous record set by the iPhone 4S, but still falling short of estimates."

So they beat sales records and that's a sign of "cracks starting to show". Many competitors would be happy to miss those kinds of inflated estimates.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple has peaked

:D Not denying that Jobs was a sociopath...very revealing!

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Re: Apple has peaked

I don't want to praise Apple or the iPhone, but I'm sick of all this "style over substance" crying. Because style is important. People buy clothing, shoes, cars, furniture, houses, EVERYTHING by style and beauty instead of just by "substance". You're wearing rubber boots all day?

Smart phones aren't just tools or office machinery or computers. Not for most people. They're much closer to clothing and shoes: They have to do their job, but they also have to look and feel good and make you feel good. Not understanding that doesn't make you clever.

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@uhuznaa Re: Apple has peaked

Actually you are very wrong. People buy all of the above because they are fashionable, not stylish.

Fashion is fleeting, style is eternal.

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Re: Apple has peaked

I don't want to praise Apple or the iPhone, but I'm sick of all this "style over substance" crying. Because style is important. People buy clothing, shoes, cars, furniture, houses, EVERYTHING by style and beauty instead of just by "substance". You're wearing rubber boots all day?

I guess some of us just aren't as interested in the "fashion" opinions of others as you are..

Smart phones aren't just tools or office machinery or computers. Not for most people. They're much closer to clothing and shoes: They have to do their job, but they also have to look and feel good and make you feel good. Not understanding that doesn't make you clever.

I long for the days before the definition of "smartphone" got changed to this shit. Clearly some people missed the "smart" part. Can we just start calling fashion accessories smugphones and be done with it, so the term smartphone can be reclaimed for phones with actual capability?

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Re: Apple has peaked

I don't think anyone's saying that style isn't important - but it is a problem if a phone only has style, but no substance. Of course you might disagree that it doesn't have "substance" - but that's the disagreement. No one says that style isn't important.

Other phones have style too. And in my book, style doesn't come in the form of an obvious tacky logo. Same reason I don't go for Adidas clothes either, though no doubt some people think it makes them look call. I mean really, if technology was like clothes, would you go around with a light up Apple logo on your back? (Though then again, I'm sure that some people would...)

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Re: Apple has peaked

I am well aware of the statistics of Android vs iOS but I still find it helpful to have conversations with people outside of The Register reader base. A couple of weeks ago I was visiting family and caught up with some old friends. There were six of us present and the breakdown was 4 x iPhone, 1 x HTC and 1 x strange Samsung sliding thing (don't know exactly what it was but it wasn't Android). The professions of those present were 1 IT bod, 1 office manager, 1 police officer, 1 TV production company owner and 2 teachers. The iOS owners (and these are just ordinary people, not geeks) spent a bit of time discussing how great Apple things were but otherwise the conversation didn't really cover phones - Android only got a passing mention when the production company owner said that a number of media related apps on Android seemed to lack things that were built into the iOS versions natively and what a pain it was for him to have to always bear that in mind with his work. Shortly after that the attempt to order pizzas using an iPad app was abandoned as it wouldn't work properly and a Windows netbook was dug out to ensure we didn't go hungry.

More recently I went to a Spanish restaurant with a group of friends and the subject came up again. I don't know the breakdown of who owned what, but one person (a radiographer or similar) commented that they had been a huge Apple fan but went for the S3 as something different on their latest upgrade. I quoted the figures of nearly 70% Android vs 16% iOS and they were astounded - all of them. They all thought that Apple had by far the largest share of the market.

Which just goes to show that whatever the reality of the stats, people's perception is that Apple is knocking the competition into a cocked hat....

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JDX
Gold badge

Pretty astonishing

Not the apology, but that they didn't know this was coming. Unless the maps for California are great and they never looked anywhere else (would not be that big a surprise). I mean iOS6 has been out on beta...

Surely they should have at least kept google maps one more revision.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pretty astonishing

Obviously this was all carefully choreographed. Because of the betas, they knew this was coming. Days after the story broke, they were hiring Google engineers and making public apologies and promising to be better, and now the story is more or less over in the eyes of the public. Once again Apple has demonstrated they are far better than any other company at managing public perception.

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Pint

«Unless the maps for California are great

and they never looked anywhere else (would not be that big a surprise).» They probably checked to see if they could find their way from headquarters at 1 Infinity Loop in Cupertino to the US District Court for the Northern District of California at 280 S 1st Street in San Jose. And lo and behold - it worked and they said «Apple Maps is awesome ; now we shan't get lost on that 16 km journey to Lucy Koh's court !»...

Henri

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Every time someone says the phrase "world class" a cpu dies.

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FAIL

Deal breaker

Maps are a deal breaker for me. If they aren't working when my phone contract is up for renewal then Apple can get lost. And I can't be the only one.

I therefore I suspect it might be in Googles interests for them to NOT release a stand alone app.

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Re: Deal breaker

Depends on the background numbers.

If Android is a core profit making product for Google, then you're absolutely right.

If, as I suspect, it's really just another means to grab information and feed out ads then taking the high road and releasing a killer app for IOS 6 may have the effect of stopping Apple dead in its tracks, making further development seem absurd because people who've been bitten once won't want to switch from Google maps again and can be spun as Google putting people before self-interest (or some crap like that).

In the background, their proven dominance in Maps would give them a platform for grabbing all kinds of user data from a rival platform and using it to feed the ads that are their overwhelming source of profit.

My sense is that Android is never going to trump IOS as the luxury segment's phone of choice because this is Apple's core business and not Google's. If Google play snottily and refuse to release an app then they'll push some people to Android phones, but most Apple users will discover that Nokia/Bing/whatever aren't that bad an alternative and the furore will die off with Google's core business in a weaker position.

Companies should be precious about their core business that makes them money, not about peripheral businesses that are really just ways to support the core business.

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Re: Deal breaker...luxury segment

???

it's a fucking telephone not trans-Atlantic cruise ship.

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Re: Deal breaker...luxury segment

Oh yes - good f*****g good point. What the hell does it all matter. Buy it or don't. You won't drown because of it.

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Re: Deal breaker

"My sense is that Android is never going to trump IOS as the luxury segment's phone of choice because this is Apple's core business and not Google's."

Who says IOS leads here now? A large number of Android sales are coming from the high end phones like the S3 an Note. I would be interesting to see what sales are in say, the market of phones over £200. (Although looking at "luxury phones" is a flawed stat anyway - it just rewards Apple for being expensive.)

Also, if maps were more important, I'm wondering why they seem to have pulled the maps versions for other platforms - years ago I could run the app even on a low end "feature" phone, but the J2ME no longer seems to be available on their site. Similarly I can't find the Symbian version any more. It seems they're making some decisions to keep some things Android only now.

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Re: Deal breaker

"years ago I could run the app even on a low end "feature" phone, but the J2ME no longer seems to be available on their site. Similarly I can't find the Symbian version any more. It seems they're making some decisions to keep some things Android only now."

Or it could simply be that Symbian is dead as an operating system, and why use J2ME when maps runs just fine in pretty much any smartphone with a web browser?

If they want to reach multiple platforms it makes more sense to put resources into making a mobile site compatible with pre-installed web browsers, and have apps for the 2 biggest platforms (which Google had pre-iOS6, and will have again whenever they get their app done).

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Re: Deal breaker

I say Apple leads there now, and so do the stats. Android may have an overall bigger market share, but that's spread across lots of phones from lots of vendors each of whom make much less profit per unit than Apple (which is the prime indication of market power, and gives Apple lots of room to manouvre if Samsung continue to make headway as the leading alternative).

I've never seen the attraction of spending so much on a phone myself, and my 4 year old HTC Hero works just fine, but ignoring the fact that Apple are the elephant in this market will render invalid any further analysis you undertake.

My point here is simply that Android isn't Google's endgame here. Being the ubiquitous portal for (and gatherer of) information of all kinds and using that to consolidate their absurdly profitable ad machine is.

An analogy to Google refusing to serve maps to IOS customers would be Oracle refusing to serve its software on anything except Sun gear. In the narrow context of boosting the hardware business it would have a small positive effect, but the wider consequence to its prime revenue generator would be disastrous.

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Re: Deal breaker

"Or it could simply be that Symbian is dead as an operating system"

It's mostly phased out, though there's still a massive userbase. If it was just Symbian maybe, but dropping out all other platforms suggest something more.

"why use J2ME when maps runs just fine in pretty much any smartphone with a web browser?"

Right so years ago I could run it on any dirt cheap Java smartphone, now it only runs on more expensive smartphones that run the right kind of OS (not pretty much any). Although fair enough, if the website works better with mobile web browers these days, there's less need for specific "apps".

"and have apps for the 2 biggest platforms (which Google had pre-iOS6, and will have again whenever they get their app done)."

They only had it for Apple because they paid for it, and there's no evidence they plan to cater for the minority of Apple users (and sorry, it's misleading put Apple on the same level as Android - Android is way ahead, and if they only want to cater for the biggest, they might as well just support Android and nothing else).

Plus if it works with the web browser, why does Apple need a special app? Android does because you get more features - the sat nav. But why does Apple need an app for something every other platform can do in the web browser?

I don't see evidence that these days, Google are so concerned about getting their maps on every phone - and with Android so dominant, they don't really need to, I guess.

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Re: Deal breaker

"I say Apple leads there now, and so do the stats."

Reference? You may be right, I'm just curious to see the breakdown in sales.

"Android may have an overall bigger market share, but that's spread across lots of phones from lots of vendors"

Being spread over lots of phones is irrelevant. As for manufacturers, Samsung alone sell more Android phones that Apple's entire phone sales. By about a factor of 2, in Q2 2012.

As for profit:

"which is the prime indication of market power"

No it isn't. Yes, Apple do well in profit, but I don't care about that. The only people who should care are Apple shareholders. I'm not an Apple shareholder, so this isn't the prime indication for anything I care about.

I don't know what an elephant is.

I do agree there is a difference. Apple are out to make profit selling overpriced phones to a niche. Google want a platform on as many devices as possible. I agree entirely. (Plus I don't think it's just about information - they also get a 30% cut through Google Play, and it seems they do want to build on this to create a general sales portal for every smartphone - even if that wasn't their original intention, it's one that will create money for them.)

Your Oracle analogy isn't valid, as Sun hardware is a minority. Here, Android is by far the dominant platform. Not catering for the minority of Apple users is no more relevant than not catering for Symbian, Blackberry, J2ME or anyone else (iphone being number 2 is very recent, only as of this year - and that's in quartery sales, not installed userbase - and they're way behind Android, making them a niche like anyone else).

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Re: Deal breaker

As I said above, ignoring Apple's dominance makes any further analysis invalid.

Statements like 'Android is by far the dominant platform' and 'catering for the minority of Apple users is no more relevant than...' prove my point that you're out of touch with the market.

Your dislike for Apple will not make it go away. I'm not a big fan of closed systems either, but while the demographic with the most disposable income and the least interest in value (my opinion only) keep buying Apple en mass the advertisors will keep spending money targeting them. If Google really think that forcing Apple users to discover that there are okay alternatives to Google maps is a good idea long term then I think they'll be making a serious mistake.

Because so many people here seem to confuse what they want to happen with what will happen, there's a good reason not to want Google to get out of IOS development too. It will force a standards war which will either lead to Android or IOS getting more dominant. Whichever one wins will have less reason to innovate thereafter. Dominance is always bad news for us.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Deal breaker

Deal breaker - this is one of those situations where they are fine for 99.9% of people but 0.1% of people are very vocal and 100% of other phone owners jump on the band wagon.

I have used the new maps - for ME they are BETTER - not popular perhaps but true. Maps are more up to date everywhere I have bothered to check (my house, my parents, many of my friends, my office and routes I have driven over the last week).

If I found them lacking I would just go to maps.google.co.uk and make a desktop shortcut and use that - takes 10 seconds.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Deal breaker

Google would be happy for Apple to keep paying out for them. In the long term they could be better - better Siri and other app integration - opened up to developers etc. They have been out for 1 week FFS.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Deal breaker

"I don't know what an elephant is."

It's a big animal, with four feet and a trunk. Lives in warm places.

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FAIL

Apple Maps are crowd sourced

Use a competing map service til we fix it.

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Anonymous Coward

It's nothing like the Antenna issue, the Antenna issue was pretty much unfixable as it was a design fault. The map issue is easy to fix, go to itunes, download a map app, put it where you had the default map app.

Problem solved. Where as the stupid new size is a problem, so I'll stick with my duff antenna.

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Anonymous Coward

if I were Larry Page

1. Quickly knock out google maps app with an embedded chrome browser for displaying info about Towns, POI etc. Proper full-fat Chrome now, such that Apple would never allow it. In these chrome activities have a semi-hidden option to expose the URL bar so that a cunning user can use the gMaps to get to a fully working Chrome browser session.

2. submit app to appstore - wait for rejection

3. Leak app to the jailbroken community torrent sites

4. Wait-for/Drum-up outcry from ios users. Put some PR on it with righteous 'woes and curses on that bad anti-competitive Apple ' spin - hopefully get the media hissing - why won't Apple allow gMaps app?

5. Enjoy.

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Re: if I were Larry Page

That is a plan as cunning as a fox who's just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: if I were Larry Page

I'd release android for jailbroken iPhones which works well.

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Anonymous Coward

IE6

Now you can see why corporations are/were clinging to IE6 like a sloth to a cold tree.

Whatever Google Maps' shortcomings, it's a tried and tested solution that works reliably within established parameters. You know where you are with it. Can you find your way around town with it? Yes.

3D mapping and other improvements may be a nice idea, but if it doesn't work reliably then only the nerds are going to stick with it.

That's why corporations are happy to sit back for a few years and let the product mature before considering it.

Apple rolling out something from scratch on the scale of international 3D mapping software was never going to go smoothly. I'm sure it'll be fantastic one day. Though by the time it's polished, I'm equally sure Google won't be far behind with its next generation of Google Maps and Street View.

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Re: IE6

Google won't be far behind???

assuming that is that Google sit on their collective arses and do nothing in the mean time?

cos yes i can see that happening!

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Silver badge

You seem to have forgotten that Google did it first

Pop open Google Earth and take a look at central London.

3D buildings in well-known cities were there for at least two years.

Ok, they didn't put it on a Smartphone yet, but to be fair, I don't really want it there either, I use maps for getting around.

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Re: IE6

Yeah I can't wait for 3d mapping, it will be so useful to find locations when I'm flying in my hovercar.

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Anonymous Coward

Apology not accepted.

Go back and do it again.

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WTF?

Maps must be fun

As an 'elderly, confused', I got an Android phone. Liked it a lot, rooted it same afternoon. But it seems the only way I can get the sainted 'Google' Maps' integrated is by getting some kind of Google ID, so that they can track me - no thanks! (Meanwhile some other mapping system downloads useful slabs all over Europe). And my various TomToms in several cars almost never mislead. But my son can't upgrade his I-Thing because 'the maps don't work'. Whatever is going wrong?

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Facepalm

Re: Maps must be fun

Well, since you are "elderly and confused", let me give you a hint here. It doesn't matter what mapping application you use, whoever wants to, can still track you. They don't need a google ID for it. Your internet connected device (phone, computer, tablet) sends enough information that "they" can connect the dots and know exactly who you are, what credit cards you use, what you buy, how much you pay in property taxes, your eating habits, your sexual orientation, voting record etc... All this information is available for sale and purchase.

So, since "they" already have all this info, you might as well just install google maps. It's much better than anything else anyway. At least you get the benefits.

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Happy

Re: Maps must be fun

Well now, being another 'elderly and confused' I reckon you're seriously overstating 'their' magical powers. Besides, with a little forethought you can ensure that they only track who you want them to think you are.

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Silver badge

Re: Maps must be fun

'elderly, confused', rooted it same afternoon. You're lying abou the "elderly, confused" bit arent' you?

I can't even switch the fucking GPS on on my android phone without submitting "anonymous info" to google. And yes, that's with the wi-fi location disabled before any smartarses tell me I don't know what I'm doing. If that info was really anonymous it'd be of no value whatsoever to google (it's just a pair of coordinates).

Google are a bunch of bastards when i comes to respecting peoples privacy. It's my phone, it's my GPS, why the fuck can't I turn it on without telling gooogle where I am?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Maps must be fun

" can't even switch the fucking GPS on on my android phone without submitting "anonymous info" "

Yes you can, but if you want WIFI assisted GPS, they want a bit of info back... I.E. when your phone finds a hotspot, it tells google where it is, it works both ways...

Try a non assisted GPS and it'll take ages to track a satellite, with assisted, tis pretty instant when you leave your house...

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Well I never.

Makes a change from the usual "it's fine - you're just not hip enough to use it properly" Apple response.

I won't be updating my iPad until google release a native app.

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well i doubt even apple would dare say 'if maps don't work you must be going to the wrong places'

well not now that steve has gone they wont

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Silver badge
Joke

Just don't go there.

Not that big a deal

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Anonymous Coward

Not that...

big OF a deal. I think... :-)

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Silver badge

re: I won't be updating my iPad until google release a native app.

What will that give you that you don't get from installing the web app?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not that...

Not in English, no. The clunky vestigial "of", which ruins the flow of the sentence is a peculiarity of merkins.

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