Last Friday, Tim Cook made Apple history…or iHistory, if you care to refer to it as that.
Apple Maps, one of the new features of iOS 6, has been universally panned as inferior to the Google Maps app found in previous versions of iOS. Users cite numerous inconsistencies and issues with the turn-by-turn directions. Overall, it sucks as a project, and it’s been the laughingstock of the tech industry. Apple users were ticked, and rightfully so.
But on this Friday, Tim Cook did something Apple had never done: He apologized for the poor quality of Apple Maps.
Steve Jobs never apologized. He would go to great lengths to not apologize for something Apple did, even when it was clearly Apple’s fault. Steve Jobs would run three marathons in a row while pushing a stroller with all 14 of Octomom’s kids before he would apologize to the public, or to anyone in general. When the iPhone 4 was released, and it was shown that a design flaw with the iPhone caused the antenna to lower the signal, Jobs offered an alternative, but never once did he apologize for it, or any other product.
By Apologizing, Cook shows that there are parts of him that are not similar to iGod. He has admitted that Apple Maps is an inferior product. Yes Virginia, Apple can mess up once or twice. Remember the Newton?
Now a lot of people are thinking that this is a sign that Apple is starting to go on the downturn. I disagree. I think it is a sign that Apple’s new captain is displaying a sense of maturity that his predecessor never had. It’s obvious that he’s demonstrating to the public that he is not iGod, but he’s also showing that Apple is becoming a more friendly culture. Less self-centered and more willing to do good.
Whether Apple’s newfound maturity develops or not depends entirely on the consistency Cook shows with his own personality. If Cook goes back to the usual borderline rudeness and ambition that iGod had, it will seriously hurt Apple. But if he continues to demonstrate vulnerability and maturity, Apple may start shedding some of the elitism that Jobs inadvertently developed.
At the very least, Tim needs to fix up Apple Maps, or at least give every iOS user a free Thomas Guide.