I was a bit surprised at first. Why not just take the criticism? It's not going to get worse from where it is, why apologise. But then I noticed something…
It may be an interesting way to get everyone thinking about alternatives. Yes, Google maps is listed there, but who knows how to add something to your home screen? Everyone wants Google back but do they know that there are alternatives? Maybe they might like them. I doubt it was a tactic but it may just be an interesting happenstance. Dilute the customers and then reel them back in?
Update: The article doesn't mention the source of the maps data. A quick mention that the data was sourced from many leading cartography services and government data sources would explain the situation better.
Moreover, "Antennagate" wasn't particularly an apology. They emphasised their antenna research and testing environments and "in an act of good faith" offered a free $25 case. Thats how you deal with the criticism, show the effort and care not highlight the hearsay.