Apple CEO Tim Cook has issued an official statement apologizing for falling short in delivering the best experience possible with the new Maps app. In his letter, Cook explains that in order to include features like turn-by-turn directions and voice integration, Apple “had to create a new version of Maps from the ground up”. He never addressed why but we already have a pretty good idea: they failed to reach a mutually beneficial compromise with Google over the aforementioned features in Google Maps for iOS.

The apology may win Apple some goodwill with disgruntled customers. Cook says they’ll keep working non-stop until Maps lives up to the high standards that are expected of their products. Interestingly enough, the letter also suggests that users frustrated with Apple Maps can try third-party alternatives by downloading map apps like Bing, MapQuest and Waze from the App Store, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on their home screens to the web apps.

Despite all the criticism surrounding the switch to a new maps system, customers have continued to buy the iPhone 5 in droves and update their existing devices to iOS 6. Less than a couple of weeks since its release, already more than 100 million iOS devices are using the new Apple Maps, with that number growing every day.

Here's the full text from Apple CEO Tim Cook's letter:

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