Call me stunned.  I couldn't believe my eyes when I read the letter that comes from Tim Cook, Apple's current CEO.  He basically apologizes for the problems people have had with Apple's upgraded maps app.  There has been documentation online of some of the crazy things that were done on the new maps app.  Churches were marked as a Burger King, the Washington Monument was placed into an empty part of the national mall when it clearly shows up nearby.

Not only does Mr. Cook apologize for the problems, he also made a statement that flat out shocked pretty much everyone.  Cook said,

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.

So basically Apple will work on things and in the meantime, go somewhere else because they have admitted that they suck.  Apple must have a pretty high opinion of themselves that what they come up with will be so good that I will forget using mapquest or one of the many other apps that I will end up using.

I happen to enjoy the iPhone and I use my phone everyday for a variety of things.  When I upgraded to ios 6, I decided to test out the maps app to see if Siri would steer me wrong.  Boy, did she.  I tested it and it told me a completely different way to go home and told me home was in a totally different part of town.  The phone knows where I live, but it can't figure out why I never go where it tells me to.  Add to it that it didn't even know certain streets existed that I and many others use on a daily basis.

Apple needs to learn a powerful lesson.  Clearly they didn't learn it from Siri, which has been a fun, but largely useless feature of the iPhone.  Now they need to learn it from the rebuild of the Maps app.  The powerful lesson is this:  Do not release technology to the masses when it isn't ready.  Siri is closer to being ready for primetime, but is still not there.  The maps app is just bad.

I think I will take Mr. Cook's suggestion and try out some other map apps.  Don't anyone be surprised if I happen to keep using them when Apple finally graces all of us with a decent app that gets us from one place to another.

Check out the letter below:

Tim Cook's letter (apple.com)