Apple Inc. (AAPL: Quote) on Friday apologized to its customers for its deeply flawed Maps application that marred the otherwise spectacular launch of its new iPhone 5 and the iOS 6 mobile operating system recently.
In a letter to Apple's customers that was posted online, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said that with the launch of the new Maps last week, Apple "fell short" on its commitment to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to customers.
Cook said, "We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better."
Apple has been facing criticism for phasing out Google Maps in favor of its own maps application on the iPhone 5.
The application frequently offers bizarre directions and mistakenly places certain cities and towns where they should not be. The new mapping software began reaching users of older iPhones along with an update to Apple's iOS 6.
The problems with the 3-D mapping features have already been noted by technology gadget reviewers.
Google, Inc.'s (GOOG: Quote) maps application "Google Maps", which allows users to get directions among other services, has been immensely popular with iPhone users. It had been provided with the iPhone ever since its first model was introduced in 2007.
But, with Google becoming a strong competitor in the smartphone hardware market recently, Apple worked on a replacement application just to reduce its dependence on Google.
Cook said that Maps was launched by Apple initially with the first version of iOS. He added that as time progressed, Apple wanted to provide its customers with even better Maps including features such as turn-by-turn directions, voice integration, Flyover and vector-based maps.
Cook noted that there were already more than 100 million iOS devices using the new Apple Maps, with more joining every day.
"The more our customers use our Maps the better it will get and we greatly appreciate all of the feedback we have received from you."
In an unusual move, Cook further 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."
Apple unveiled the iPhone 5 on September 12 at a company-held event in San Francisco. The launch is part of the company's efforts to strengthen its presence in the smartphone market in the coming holiday season.
Earlier this week, Apple said that iPhone 5 sales breached the 5 million mark within just three days of its sales launch on September 21. Sales came from the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the UK over the weekend.
However, analysts had predicted opening weekend iPhone 5 sales between 6 million and 10 million units. The sales seemed to have fallen short of market projections due to supply constraints.
In Friday's regular session, AAPL is trading at $672.54, down $8.78 or 1.29 percent on a volume of 5.87 million shares.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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