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Mapping a Path Out of Steve Jobs's Shadow

One year since the death of Steve Jobs, Apple is stronger than ever. Can Tim Cook keep it up?

Like all companies, Apple is not immune to bungling a new product, though its apologies haven’t always seemed heartfelt. After slashing the price of the first iPhone by $200 only a few months following its debut in 2007, Apple tried to placate enraged early adopters with a $100 rebate that they could only spend on Apple products. When the iPhone 4 was introduced with a flawed antenna design in 2010, it took 39 days of complaints for Steve Jobs to hold a press conference—and to offer dissatisfied users a free rubber case.

Considering that history, the reaction of new Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook to the outcry over the balky Maps application on the new iPhone 5 was positively penitent. Only one week after customers got their hands on the highly anticipated device, Cook issued a press release acknowledging the mapping service’s obvious flaws—such as turning much of the east side of Portland, Ore., into a nature park. He also took the unusual step of pointing users to alternatives from rivals such as Microsoft and Google. “We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers, and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better,” Cook said in a letter to customers posted on Sept. 28 on Apple’s website.