Wash apples, and remove any bad spots. Roughly chop into quarters, and add to sauce pan, along with the water. (Don't peel or core the apples - you'll want the wonderful flavor and color from the peels, and the pectin from the cores.)
Simmer gently over medium heat, until apples are thoroughly soft. (This will greatly depend on the ripeness and variety of the apples you're using, so this could take anywhere from 20-40 minutes.)
Remove cooked apples from heat, and let cool slightly. Run the whole mixture through a food mill to remove stems, peels, cores, and seeds. Return the smooth apple mixture to the sauce pan, and discard the peels and cores.
Add maple syrup, vinegar, and spices, to the cooked apple mixture, and return to the stove. Simmer very gently over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the apple butter is very thick and smooth. As it thickens, you'll need to stir it more frequently to ensure that it doesn't burn on. I find it really helps to use my lowest-heat burner for this stage of the cooking.
Ladle apple butter into jars, and store in the refrigerator, or follow the canning instructions below.