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Apple Maps is getting better than it was when I wrote this–I went back to that bar, and my phone managed to place it in the right borough, at least, this time–but as more and more people get iOS 6, more and more people are discovering that, well, their maps just aren’t as good as they used to be. So Apple this morning posted a rare apology, attributed to CEO Tim Cook, in which the company admits to “falling short” with the new Maps app.

Apple also claims that that the new Maps was designed to address Google’s unwillingness to provide iOS users with the same features that Android users get in Google Maps, like turn-by-turn navigation, which is probably true (although it ignores that Apple’s been attempting to eradicate all Google apps from stock iOS, including the banishment of the inoffensive YouTube app). And Apple reiterates that Apple Maps will get better as more people use it.

Weirdly, in the meantime, Cook suggests using a competing maps app, including Bing, probably the biggest non-Google competitor.

Apple doesn’t apologize very often. Even during the last major bout of internet-complaining surrounding a flaw or perceived flaw in an Apple product, Apple’s response wasn’t so much an apology as a “get off our backs.” Here’s that one, in response to the iPhone 4’s “death grip” issues–it’d drop its cell signal if you attempted to surround it in your hand-flesh and squeeze the life out of it.

Gripping any phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas. This is a fact of life for every wireless phone. If you ever experience this on your Phone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases.

But given that a maps app is easily one of the most vital parts of a modern smartphone, it’s not too surprising that this is the time for Apple to show its apologetic side.