Apple won't remove its admittedly-imperfect Maps app from iOS 6, so the Cupertino, Calif.-based computer company is focusing on fixes and damage control right now. After Apple CEO Tim Cook posted an open letter apology to the company's website on Friday morning, Apple also updated its App Stores with a special section on the Featured page, which offers a list of alternative maps applications for users to choose from as Apple engineers fix its controversial Maps app behind the scenes.
In the new App Store section called "Find maps for your iPhone," Apple has chosen a number of popular maps applications, a number of which were mentioned by Cook in his open letter, including Waze, MapQuest, and Bing. The list also includes MotionX GPS Drive, which has the most ratings and a high 4.5 star rating, GPS and Scout by Telenav, Garmin U.S.A., Gokivo GPS Navigator, CoPilot Live Premium HD, Navigon USA, Magellan RoadMate USA, CoPilot GPS, and AT&T Navigator.
"At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers," Cook wrote on Apple's 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."
Apple's self-branded Maps application, which debuted with the release of iOS 6 on Sept. 19, has been a real sticking point with iOS users. Google Maps, which was part of the iOS experience from the very first iPhone launch in 2007, has now been replaced with Apple’s new offering, and users are upset. Apple rivals are baring their teeth with attack ads, and users are collecting some of the most embarrassing specimens from Apple Maps' early goings in a Tumblr blog mockingly called, “The Amazing iOS 6 Maps.”
As you can see from “The Amazing iOS 6 Maps” Tumblr page, users are experiencing issues and bugs with map details, especially as they transition from the 2D to the 3D satellite renderings, and users are also complaining of the lack of robust search in the application. Users need to search exact or similar terms to the businesses they’re looking for, and the businesses and restaurants listed on the site are only the ones registered on Yelp, which makes the Apple Maps catalog far less substantial than Google Maps, which can rely on Google’s scrupulous search engine.
Without Google's data, Apple knew its best course of action was to release the new Maps software at its most ready point and deliver it to users so they could start improving the platform based on user feedback. It would take far too long for Apple’s new Maps application to improve without the help of its global iOS customers -- Google Maps wasn't built in a day, after all -- so it made sense for Apple to accept that the Maps application was ready enough to replace Google Maps, even if its replacement was only about 75 to 80 percent complete.
"There are already more than 100 million iOS devices using the new Apple Maps, with more and more joining us every day," Cook wrote. "In just over a week, iOS users with the new Maps have already searched for nearly half a billion locations. 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."
There will surely be plenty of users that desperately want their Google Maps back, and Tim Cook addressed that issue too with an easy fix: Simply visit Google Maps on the iPhone, and add the website's icon to the home screen, which Apple explains on its website. Once the user adds Google Maps to their iOS 6 home screen, the only features missing in the Web app will be Street View and the old stylish animations for when a pin would drop on a location, but other than that, all of the old features from Google’s popular Maps app are still there. Users can find local businesses by searching any number of terms, and they can also view areas’ traffic, transit and cycling routes, as well as see 2D and 3D satellite views.
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