Following the less than enthusiastic response to its new mapping application in iOS 6, Apple CEO Tim Cook has sent a heartfelt letter to customers apologising for not being able to “deliver the best experience possible to our customers” and that it “fell short on this commitment.”

In the letter, Cook says that Apple is “extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.”

Cook says that in the week after the release of iOS 6, Apple has seen more than half a billion locations in its Maps app, no doubt helped by the 100 million users that have updated their devices to run the new software.

But it’s the part where Cook suggests Apple device owners use competing products that will receive the most press today. The Apple CEO says that the more people use Maps, the better it will get, but he also suggests that while the company is improving its service, users can try alternatives from Microsoft, MapQuest, Waze from the App Store or use Google or Nokia’s web apps in the browser:

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.

Last week, Apple addressed the state of its Maps app, noting that it launched the service knowing that it is a ‘major initiative’ and that it was just getting started with it. “The more people use it, the better it will get, said Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller at the time.

However, with users finding it almost impossible to find landmarks and other locations within the app, Apple has been forced to apologise for its lack in functionality, with the company’s chief executive making no excuses for its rushed launch.

Cook ends his letter with: “Everything we do at Apple is aimed at making our products the best in the world. We know that you expect that from us, and we will keep working non-stop until Maps lives up to the same incredibly high standard.”

With the apology out of the way, Apple will be doing all it can to improve the quality of its new service. It isn’t known what the company intends to do remedy the situation, but reports have stated that Apple’s maps teams are working day and night to remove erroneous data and increase its accuracy.

The letter in full:

To our customers,

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.

We launched Maps initially with the first version of iOS. As time progressed, we wanted to provide our customers with even better Maps including features such as turn-by-turn directions, voice integration, Flyover and vector-based maps. In order to do this, we had to create a new version of Maps from the ground up.

There are already more than 100 million iOS devices using the new Apple Maps, with more and more joining us every day. 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.

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.

Everything we do at Apple is aimed at making our products the best in the world. We know that you expect that from us, and we will keep working non-stop until Maps lives up to the same incredibly high standard.

Tim Cook
Apple’s CEO

Image Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images