The public doesn’t know Apple as a company prone to apology. We imagine its communications team would be far more comfortable issuing a statement to the effect of “the obvious superiority of our products speaks for itself, hahaha”. Hey, we understand—apologies acknowledge the imperfections that come with being human, and CEO’s aren’t generally too big on humility (with good reason).
And yet, CEO Tim Cook felt the need to release an official statement to customers today in order to control the spread of bad publicity stemming from the awfulness that is Apple Maps.
We can’t imagine Cook enjoyed writing this little letter, and we wonder what finally led him to draft it: Was it Motorola’s viciously effective #iLost ad? Was it this hilarious tumblr page? We’re not sure, but we do admire Cook’s ability to acknowledge that his company made a completely terrible product!
Readers should note Cook’s unreservedly apologetic tone in writing that Apple “fell short on this commitment”. Unlike the other big “damage control” missive released this morning, Cook’s note includes the word “sorry”. A real-life apology! We just might be impressed!
Cook promises to get to work on improving the map app, and we’re sure that a few programmers have had anxiety attacks this week–but what will the CEO’s next move be?
Will he go on a ballistic firing spree like Steve Jobs did after the failure of MobileMe? And can you imagine Jobs writing a sentence like this one?
“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.”
Wow. There’s no taking that one back.
Compare that statement to the letter Jobs wrote in 2010 after thousands of iPhone 4 buyers had trouble making calls. It opens by reminding all those annoying complainers that “The iPhone 4 has been the most successful product launch in Apple’s history”, and despite containing the phrase “we apologize for any anxiety we may have caused”, the letter’s tone is almost defiant. No retreat, no surrender, huh?
Looks like things have changed at Apple. Will Cook’s apology convince the Internet to stop making fun of Maps? And is the whole debacle a sign that the world’s most valuable company isn’t quite as invincible as we’ve been led to believe? We’ll be watching closely—and so will the rest of the tech world.