I think this is a not needed gesture, and he’s giving in to a vocal minority on the web that’s screaming about an issue which is not really an issue for most of us.
What I mainly read is things like ‘oh, it’s not really bad in the US, but once you get over to Europe and other places…’. Well, being in Europe myself I have tested Apples new maps app quite a bit since it’s public release, and I can tell you that it’s actually really good in my use-cases.
Especially turn-by-turn is awesome. I also never had a problem finding what I wanted…besides “Mount Everest”, which is not in Europe, but I digress.
What I also hear is that public transport information is not available. I’m sorry, but let’s put this into perspective: If you live in a metro area and only use public transportation, are you really telling me that you can’t read the schedule at the bus stop? Can you really not wait for five minutes for the next subway? Really?
It seems to me that this is bitching at a high level.
Is maps perfect? Hell no! But it’s miles away from being as bad as this minority makes the web believe it is.
This, to me, is the most coherent explanation of why Apple did what they did.
Personally, I like the new maps. Yes, it’s rough around the edges for some people, but living in Munich myself (3D maps are available here), I can appreciate the work the company put into this. I haven’t yet run into any problem.