Apple boss: Our maps suck, try Google instead

Apple chief Tim Cook has admitted the new iPhone and iPad map service just isn’t good enough. He’s told customers to try out rival services or even just visit the Google Maps website instead.

Apple stopped using Google to provide its map service starting with the recent release of iOS6. Originally it appeared Apple was simply doing whatever it could to make the iPhone and iPad into Google-free products given the rivalry between the two with the rise of Android.

More recently it’s been claimed the two sides were planning to continue their partnership but talks broke down when Google refused to add the spoken navigation feature that appears on Android devices.

To say the least, the new map service has been a flop. As well as having entire towns in completely the wrong place, there are countless cases of built-up areas being shown as fields or parks, and vice versa. Individual locations are often misplaced and there are even data errors such as a taxidermist being listed as a taxi cab company (and appearing in searches to that effect.)

Many areas are severely lacking in detail, while some aerial satellite images are just plain bizarre, as shown above courtesy of the “Amazing iOS6 Maps” tumblr.

At first it appeared to be a few amusing mistakes, but the complaints have now mounted up to the point that it’s impossible to have any real confidence that a particular section of map is accurate.

While most people assumed Google would simply produce an app (albeit with a slight delay as it will have had little notice of the need to do so), the company has said that this is currently in the works. It’s not yet confirmed if this app will alter the Google Maps website to make Street View work on Apple device browsers.

Now Cook has said that “We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.”

Although Apple is actively working on those improvements, it appears part of the plan is to use specific customer complaints to pinpoint the fixes (“The more our customers use our Maps the better it will get,”) so it could be a slow process.

In the meantime, Cook has a suggestion for disappointed users, albeit many will have figured it out themselves:

“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.”