Apple: Sorry About Our Map App

2012-09-29 10:07:36

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) CEO Tim Cook apologized about the quality of Apple's homegrown map app for iOS 6, but he gave no indication if the company is working with former partner Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) on a standalone location app for the new mobile operating system.

Apple has stirred up a cloud of controversy around its iOS and iPhone 5 updates not seen since "antennagate" in 2010 by dropping the Google-based map app in its OS in favor of a home-brewed version using location data from GPS firm TomTom International BV . "At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers," writes Cook in a letter to users on the Apple website. "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."

As a workaround for now, Cook suggests users download Bing, MapQuest and Waze from the app store or use Google or Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) maps by going to their Websites and creating an icon on their iPhone's home screen to access the map data via their browser.

So it is still not clear when -- or even if -- Google will deliver its own map app for iOS 6. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said earlier this week that it hasn't made a move to submit an app yet but is in constant contact with the Cupertino, Calif.-based company.

Why this mattersThe vendor that controls the map app controls increasingly important and lucrative local search capabilities on the smartphone. It is also another indication, as if one was needed, of how little control carriers have over certain key aspects of smartphone functionality, even as the mapping apps use triangulation data derived from their networks to get a more accurate fix on users.
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