At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. 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.
On one hand, given the volume of ongoing upset swirling around Apple's Maps, I applaud Tim Cook for holding accountability for the company's troubles, directing users toward its competitors, and attempting to placate vociferous journalists.
On the other, I'm perturbed by the fact that such a statement has been necessitated by the excess of upset surrounding Apple Maps. I'm perfectly aware that Apple's solution is lacking in practical use for people in certain areas, and I recognize the problems therein. What is of endless frustration to me is the overarching impatience that has been instilled in Apple's audience.
Since the launch of iOS 6, Apple's competitors have launched petty attacks, the media has preyed upon the business decisions prompting Apple's shift away from Google, and the broader consumer-base has been pushed into a state of mis-perceived outrage.
We've been worked, in other words, into a veritable frenzy of anger and entitlement over a business decision that we know — emphatically — was going to have to occur sooner rather than later. And yet, just as the media necessitated a press conference following the laughable "antenna-gate" scandal, we once again find ourselves reading through an apology from a chief executive whose sole aim is to create good user experiences for his customers.
Perhaps they haven't succeeded unilaterally in the first iteration, but Maps is an altogether different animal than a phone or tablet. It's an ambitious and admirable move fraught with pitfalls. I applaud Tim Cook for holding accountability for this and I feel sympathetic for those who have been genuinely slighted by Maps, but that is not to say that I perceive Maps as the universal failure it has been presented to be.
Our collective impatience and media-enforced misperceptions have created an atmosphere in which praising Apple for attempting to improve upon its competitors in an extraordinarily difficult field has become fodder for hate-filled emails and Tweets. That is not something that this community should be known for, nor should it be so commonplace and acceptable to act in such a fashion.
I do not wish to be perceived as an Apple apologist, but I'm certainly willing to admit that I'm an apologist for a competitive, innovative, and forward-thinking technology industry.
Apple is attempting to build something for the long-term benefit of its customers and, although the very first iteration of its Maps may be lacking in certain areas, is it not premature to decry Maps as an all-out failure?
Don't forget that the mere threat of Apple producing its own mapping solution prompted a hastened Google press conference announcing hurried improvements to its Maps. That is a sign of a healthy and competitive market. A market that will unquestionably be of sincere benefit to the end-user.
Focusing upon warped three-dimensional vector images of the Brooklyn Bridge — a portion of Maps that is more akin to the novelty of Google Earth than it is a topographical utility — is an effort in petty ignorance. Apple is working in the background for the benefit of its customers and Maps will improve. Should they still be considered lacking in six months time, users may then have legitimate license for concern. But within two weeks of their release, in a brand new market for the company, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Call me a fanboy or an apologist. That's fine. But your anger will subside, the product will improve, and the market will benefit. That's not some statement of clairvoyance, it's simply a recognition of the dynamics of a healthy and competitive market — one in which Apple and Google must tirelessly compete.
This has all happened before with major Apple product launches and, sadly, I presume that it will happen again. Such is the state of the technology industry, and such is disappointingly the nature of our attitudes toward change.