Analyst: Passbook paves way for Apple success, but Maps needs help now

Apple's looking to improve Maps with new hires

Apple is on pace to make an estimated $4.9 billion (£3.01 billion) from the App Store, according to new data from research firm IHS iSuppli.

If Apple lives up to expectations, it will mean a revenue increase of 70 percent from the $2.9 billion (£1.78 billion) it made from the App Store in 2011. The IHS iSuppli also estimated Apple will control about two-thirds of the global app market by the end of the year.

The firm credited new iOS 6 features Passbook and Apple Maps for the increase of profits and relevance.

"Until now, Apple's iOS ecosystem has focused on virtual services, such as apps, digital music and movies," Ian Fogg, senior principal analyst for mobile at IHS, said in a company press release.

"The new Apple Maps and Passbook apps and accompanying location platform for app developers is the keystone for this real-world expansion, and will help support the accelerated growth of the Apple App Store market in 2012. "

But before Maps app can help Apple completely take over the world, there are still a few kinks that need working out.

Many have criticized Apple when it replaced the more robust Google Maps with its own version. In fact, Apple Maps has draw almost universal ire from the Apple fans and detractors alike.

Looking for new Map talent

Amid the criticism, Apple has asked for patience from its customers and has apparently taken action to fix what are unmistakable problems.

Over the last several weeks, multiple job listings on its site have hinted that the company is looking for software engineers to bolster its Maps team.

The postings said Apple is looking for engineers to develop 3D flyover models, work on real-time rendering techniques, clear up performance bottlenecks, and create "new and innovative" features.

Another telling job post said the company is looking for an engineer to work on both the Maps client and serve to develop "advanced dynamic label layout of road label, points of interest and other labels on the map." Detractors have criticized Apple's Maps for having much less labels than its competitors.

Paving the way to success

If Apple can catch up in the navigation game, IHS predicts Maps could become quite the compelling app, but only a small part of Apple's future success. The firm predicted customers will upgrade to iOS 6 quickly and in large numbers, citing such a move as the cornerstone for oncoming mobile dominance.

In fact, within 24 hours of the upgrade becoming available, iOS 6 accounted for 15 percent of all of Apple's web traffic, according to two separate research firms.

It took iOS 5 five days to reach 20 percent and Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich eight months to get in iOS 6's league.

However, for Apple to truly succeed, it needs to continue to integrate itself into the lives of its customers with programs like iCloud and Game Center to create a rich digital ecosystem with lots of fully up-to-date users, according to IHS.

"Apple is preparing to become not just a computer company or just a mobile hardware provider, but it seeks to be a key company in all parts of consumers' lives - from entertainment, communication and business that is now expanding into real-world transactions for travel, entertainment events, daily deals and even retail," Fogg said.

"iOS 6 heralds just the start of this journey. And while Apple's Maps solution may lag that of rivals initially, Apple still has all of the capabilities to win."

Via iSuppli, AppleInsider, Engadget