This morning, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple (AAPL), posted a public apology on the company’s website for the frustration caused by the newest maps application that came bundled with the iPhone 5. He said:
"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."
While reiterating Apple’s commitment to the app, he suggested that frustrated users try App Store and online alternatives. A maps application from Google (GOOG), provider of the previous bundled map application, appears to be months away.
Some customers have said that they enjoyed the new visuals and features of the Apple map app, but there have been many complaints about location searches failing or incorrect (often humorous) factual location errors.
In the meantime, Google just rolled out a huge update to its maps—adding 45-degree aerial views, which let you make out details in landmarks that are impossible to see from straight overhead shots, to 51 different cities. In addition, the company added a high-resolution image upgrade for 17 major cities and 112 countries or regions. Talk about rubbing salt in Apple’s wounds!
On the whole though, I don’t see the map app fiasco as anything to be concerned about. If you recall, this isn’t the first time that Apple has faced criticism from customers—the iPhone 4 had weak reception if you held the phone a certain way and Apple offered free plastic cases to customers and earlier, when Apple customers complained about the price of the first iPhone dropping so quickly after its introduction, Steve Jobs apologized and offered a $100 store credit for anyone who had purchased the phone at the higher price.
As for the stock, it’s pulled back slightly from its all-time highs of $700, and I think that there’s plenty of room for this cult company to run. While there may be some volatility leading up to the next product innovation or creation, I see Apple as a trillion dollar company in the next three to four years and the only way to cash in is to buy shares now.