Frustrated that Apple's substandard Maps app is stinking up your iPhone or iPad? Apple understands. In an open letter to Apple customers today Apple's CEO Tim Cook has apologised for the Maps app, which he says 'falls short' of the standards Apple customers expect. See also: iPhone 5 review.

Cook says that the tech giant is working to improve the app, but in the mean time suggests that iOS 6 users may be better off using Bing Maps, or going online to access Google Maps. See also: Google Maps vs. Bing Maps: A Showdown of Satellite Images.

In the letter Cook claims that more than 100 million iOS devices are already using iOS Maps, and that the feedback this is generating will help to improve the much-maligned app.

The new Maps app included in iOS 6 has come in  for stinging criticism, and its presence means there is no Google Maps app.

The Flyover feature is an attractive way to see buildings in 3D relief, but this is only available in select larger cities. And not on the iPhone 4, for instance. Flying around the Thames embankment is great eye candy though, using two fingers to circle around the London Eye, for example.

Apple has stated that its new Maps feature is a work in progress but that doesn't help users who've upgraded and were expecting the same functionality they've become used to from the built-in mapping feature.

Until Apple fixes this crucial part of its mobile operating system, a stopgap can be found by making a Home screen shortcut for Google or Bing's online maps.

That won't help in apps like Find My Friends, though, which are stuck with Apple's deficient mapping function. This app has now been updated for iOS 6, and can use geofencing to alert you when a friend arrives at or departs from a chosen location.

Here's the full letter from Tim Cook to Apple customers:

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

Apple sorry