Images like the one are the latest buzz at Apple this week. Customers complained that the new map software on the latest iOS 6 was not performing up to standards. Satellite images (like the one pictured here) were looking strange and locations were showing up inaccurately.

CEO, Tim Cook, immediately issued an apology in regards to this issue, something very unusual of Apple to do. Google, who holds the Android smartphone market, saw this as an immediate opportunity to intervene. Google explained to Apple customers that they could use Google Maps through their web browser.

The intervention from Google comes after a long love-hate relationship between Google and Apple. Originally, Google Maps was installed on the first iPhone. Apple dropped the competitor recently in order to pursue their own breakthrough invention of maps software.

However, as it turns out, this investment fell a little short. It seems that while Apple was hoping for a breakthrough improvement in their maps software, they did not get what they bargained for. Apple worked with experts in map navigation to help with the Apple version of maps. One of Google’s chairmen stated that Apple would have been better of retaining the original Google Maps.

This issue reminds me a little of the class activity of the story of William Sowden Sims. In the story, Sims, a young naval artillery officer, tries to write letters to his superior officers, telling them that he knows how to improve firing accuracy in the United States Navy. However, all of the letters are rejected again and again because the navigators, the most important in the Navy, believed that they knew everything about firing accuracy. It seems that Apple could learn some things from the story of Sims. Apple decided to step away from Google Maps because they believed that they knew how to do things the best way. Ultimately, this carried them away from something very simple such as testing the product out enough before users got it.

In the meantime, Apple stated that customers could use alternative map sources  (Google was even mentioned, but only at the very end of the list). Regardless of this mishap, Apple CEO encouraged customers to continue to use Apple’s maps, stating: “the more our customers use our Maps the better it will get.”

This current issue brings back memories of the original launch of the first iPhone, when customers complained about the price being too high. Shortly after complaints, Apple adjusted prices of the iPhone to satisfy customer’s expectations of price. It seems that Apple will try and use this tactic once more here to solve the problem, this time the focus will only be on improving the maps software.

Do you think it was okay for Apple to launch maps software to the public when they did not fully test it out before? Do you think Apple’s apology was an effective method of coping with the criticism and problem?

Source: Wall Street Journal

11 thoughts on “iApologize

  1. I want to start by saying I REALLY like this article. I was reading on this earlier this week. I personally believe Apple knew what they were doing before releasing the iPhone 5. I think they knew that the maps software wasn’t going to be of the customers expectation, but insisted on releasing it anyway. Apple is one of the biggest, if not THE biggest corporation of our generation and they know that. They know people will still buy their products regardless of an error. I believe Tim Cook was already prepared to give an apology before the new software update was released and the apology was a temporary solution to their problem. I think the apology did not solve the problem but the solution to the maps app is in the works. They have been and are going to be criticized, but it is nothing that Apple cannot overcome.

  2. I think that the question of whether or not it was “okay” for Apple to release the iPhone 5 before they tested it is irrelevant. Its okay for Apple to do whatever they want when releasing one of their products. On the other hand, I believe inadequate testing and debugging of the mapping software has led to a major potential customer and sales problem. It has and could even more hurt their reputation and sales, but the bottom line is not going to be very much affected. The iPhone 5 can download a multitude of different map applications. I do not believe that people would deny themselves from buying the phone just because of problems with one unnecessary base application. Moreover, Apple’s apology is not the only way they are coping with the problem. They are underway to finding software solutions and updates to fix the bugs. The apology was only a way to illustrate their acknowledgment that the customers are unhappy and waiting for a fix. Apple wanted to advertise and make sure their followers know that they are trying. Personally, I believe that the apology was unnecessary, and that Cook should have just informed everyone that they recognized that there is a problem and they will soon release a fix for it. He should not have apologized. Now more than ever I think it was important for him to show no regrets from moving away from Google maps.

  3. I agree that it was unnecessary for Tim Cook to issue an apology, because it doesn’t show the break from Google as strong or maybe even the right decision. I don’t necessarily believe that it will highly affect the sale of the iPhone 5 because there are other alternatives to fix this problem like free map apps that have always been around, that Cook even suggests in his apology and it isn’t just affecting iPhone 5 because anyone who upgrades to iOS 6 will have the new map system and I can’t see that it will cause a mass iPhone switch over to Android. The upside to this is that there is the amazing app store and anyone can download any navigational app to their choosing until a software update is released. As a new owner of the phone, I’m more upset that there is not stock of new cases in the Apple stores and that the new aluminum backs on the black phones can be easily scratched to the original color, but the maps will eventually be fixed.

  4. I agree with the post above, Apple did not need to apologize and frankly should not have. Google is the most direct threat to the company, I think the apology can be viewed as weak leadership for not fully supporting their own software. The software might be bugged but so is all of new technologies. Although the new integration of the maps software comes at the frustration of users, I am confident that apple will fix the problems bugging the maps software and the technology will be another great innovation for the company.

  5. I think this is only a major issue because it involves Apple. If it were any other technology company I don’t think there would be as much frustration. With that said, I feel the frustration is fairly placed. Consumers that choose to purchase Apple devices do so because they want/expect a high-quality product. Consequently, Apple has a responsibility to meet their consumer’s high expectations and to consistently deliver a high-quality product. Instead, it appears that Apple may have been hasty in developing “Maps” in order to ensure that it was ready to include with iPhone 5 – which was highly anticipated. Ultimately, I believe Tim Cook responded in the only way he could have. He acknowledged the mistake, took responsibility, and promised that it would be fixed soon. Whether he should have directed users back to Google is debatable. I don’t think it will have any major consequences in the long run.

  6. Apple has been trying to become very independent, almost everything they produce or do comes from Apple. I agree with some of the posts Tim Cook did not have to apologize. It does show a bit of weakness on Apples part, but with Apple’s reputation there is no doubt that they are going to fix this problem soon. Apple is very good in meeting their customers expectations and deliver that high-quality product.

  7. I believe it was a smart thing to do having Tim Cook apologize. It shows that Apple cares about the customer and that they are hearing the complaints and Apple is working on a solution. Other companies might just chose to leave the problem alone and ignore their customers complaints, but not Apple they listen to the customer and want to have the best products.

  8. Well i agree with many of our posts above on that Apple did not necessarily need to issue an apology, however, it was a smart move anyway. As they try to appease customers who may be overreacting. When developing the new software i’m sure they did not just say oh this isn’t going to work but let’s send it out anyway. Like all software it was most likely tested and worked on until it reached a level of operations that they deemed successful enough to release. The bugs and glitches should not be that big of a deal that’s what the updates are for to correct mistakes like those and they occur all the time. The problem here is that people, tend to overreact and that is part of this uproar. The reason they are asking for continued usage is simple they have just released brand new application that they’ve not had before where as google has worked at it for a substantially longer amount of time and improved based on feedback and monitoring to see what works and what doesn’t. Overall though i doubt this will cause a substantial decline in sales as the quality of the iPhone should not be negated in the eyes of any consumer as other companies experience technological difficulties constantly and none have had a better track record of improvement and innovation than apple.

  9. As Michael stated above, I also believe that it was a good choice for Tim Cook to apologize. Although Apple is trying to gain independence, there is no excuse for them to put a product on the market that is not ready to perform or stand up to customers expectations. Tim Cook apologizing makes Apple look good in the public eye because it proves that they are a company that values customer satisfaction. In addition, Apple is proving that they are even more loyal to customer satisfaction by trying to solve the problem instead of thinking they are so independent that they can afford to ignore the problem.

  10. I have to agree with many of the people here. It was clearly an error the new going into releasing it but did it anyway. Apple is a very proud company and because of there beliefs and standards they have to have their own version. This lead to the major error that is now Google maps. To me a major company like this, doing what they did is unbelievable and highly unprofessional.

  11. I do agree with the opinion that Apple’s apology was a good choice. It does not make them look weak by any means, it actually shows that they care a great deal about their customers. Mistakes happen to everyone, and regardless of whether or not they completed enough product testing prior to the release of the new iPhone, the apology makes them seem human and allows their customers to feel as if they can relate to them on a more personal level. It was a smart move.

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