Apple has been under fire from customers thanks to the buggy and incomplete nature of its new Maps app in iOS 6 — and now Apple's CEO Tim Cook has published an open letter in which he admits that the new app "fell short" of the company's high standards and promised that the company was "doing everything." Incredibly, Cook also spends a significant portion of his letter suggesting third-party alternative apps that customers can use "while we're improving Maps" — his suggestions include apps from Bing, Mapquest, and Waze, as well as web apps from Nokia and Google. Of course, Maps currently suggests third-party alternatives for the missing transit directions, but that's a bit different than Apple suggesting complete replacements for its new service.

"We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers."

Cook also noted in his letter that Apple is "doing everything we can to make Maps better," and also said that the 100 million iOS 6 users with the new Maps app will help improve the service — echoing comments that an Apple spokesperson made the day after the iOS 6 launch.

It's a fairly unprecedented move for the CEO of a major company to be suggesting third-party solutions as an alternative to its own service, and it's also uncommon for Apple to so quickly come around and admit fault for a situation like this. Back in 2007, Steve Jobs wrote an open letter apologizing to early adopters for dropping the iPhone's price after less than three months on the market, and the company offered up free cases to iPhone 4 buyers having trouble with the device's controversial antenna, but this is still a bold declaration of the failures of iOS 6's premier feature. We're hoping that the uncommonly candid Apple backs up its words with actions and is able to push an improved Maps product out to its customers soon.

The full text of Cook's statement is below.

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