CUPERTINO, Calif. (CAP) - Apple CEO Tim Cook apologized today for the new iPhone mapping software, which has been criticized for flaws such as misrouted directions and urging iPhone users to "Kill ... Kill ... Kill" in an eerie, high-pitched voice.
"We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better, and less likely to spur users to homicide," Cook said in a letter to customers posted today on the company's website.
Apple's decision to build its own navigation application reflects a widening rift with Google Inc., whose Google Maps program had resulted in only the rare fatality, usually when an irate user bludgeoned a Google worker attempting to plant a camera for the Living Room View feature.
While the new software developed by Apple adds features such as turn-by-turn navigation, it is widely faulted for unreliable landmark searches, routes that get users lost and an almost hypnotic influence to murder.
"Dude, it was pretty scary," said iPhone user Josh Carlisle, 23, of Freehold, N.J. "I was looking up directions to the N.J. Skateshop in Sayreville, and next thing I know, I'm trying to strangle my mother." Fortunately, Carlisle's mother was able to snap her son out of his trance by spraying him in the face with his own can of Red Bull.
Others haven't been so lucky, according to FBI Special Agent Carl Bender, who says his agency has tracked more than 200 murders - primarily strangling, stabbings, bludgeonings and people who had an iPhone crammed into their windpipes - that can be traced directly to the iPhone Maps problem.
Oddly enough, though, the problem hasn't hurt sales of the new iPhone 5, which has sold more than 3 million units since the problem came to light last week. And of the 5 million units sold prior to that, only eight have been returned.
"And for six of those, it was because they'd just gotten overly excited and bought two," said Cook. "Or in some cases three."
Asked if the fact that it could cause him to kill his mother or other close family members might make him want to exchange his iPhone for another type of smart phone, Carlisle responded by saying, "Actually, I've been thinking about getting a Blackberry." Then he burst out laughing so hard that he had to lie down.
"Dude! Are you crazy? Give up my iPhone?" he added, pointing out that the iPhone 5 is the best idea anyone's had since the reboot of the Spider-Man reboot. "I'm OK with the whole murdering thing."
And "at least it hasn't caught on fire yet," noted Jason Knowlton, 22, of Cambridge, Mass., another Apple enthusiast who recently recovered from temporary blindness caused when his iPad shot flames into his face. "Not that I wouldn't be totally cool with that."
Cook said that the problem should be worked out shortly, or at least in time for the release of the iPhone 6 some time in 2014. In the meantime, he said anyone compelled to murder someone by his or her iPhone will receive a $15 gift card to the iTunes store.
"Sweet!" responded Carlisle, who immediately started searching for more directions.
- CAP News Staff