Jan 4 2013, 8:06pm CST | by Mark Raby
In an effort to capture an even bigger chunk of the mobile market, Apple may be considering the idea of creating an "iPhone mini" which would be smaller and cheaper than the typical $200 fare that the company pumps out to retailers every year.
Strategy Analytics analyst Neil Mawston sees it as an almost inevitable move for Apple, which faces mounting competition from Samsung in the race for smartphone dominance. Because Samsung pumps out dozens of new devices every year, it has a big stranglehold on the market. Even though the iPhone remains the undisputed leader when you look at individual phone sales, when you look at the industry by company, Samsung is the winner.
According to Mawston, Samsung will sell as many as 290 million smartphones in 2013. Apple, meanwhile, should only move around 180 million iPhone units. That is, unless it does something to expand its reach in the market.
Even if an iPhone mini doesn't materialize this year, though, it could still show up in 2014 or 2015.
"We believe Apple will have to launch an 'iPhone Mini' at some point over the next three years to address the hundreds of millions of prepaid users worldwide that cannot afford the current iPhone. The iPhone 5 is growing fast and profitably right now, so there is limited incentive for Apple to launch a profit-squeezing 'iPhone Mini' this year.
"We expect the 'iPhone Mini' to be more likely next year, in 2014, when Apple's penetration of the global postpaid smartphone market will be nearing saturation and Apple will be forced to discover fresh growth streams elsewhere," said Mawston.
With more than 10 years as a professional writer, Mark Raby has an undeniable pulse on the latest trends. From the quiet rumors to the breaking news of the day, his eagle eye is always focused on the newest scoop and figuring out how and why the big newsmakers are noteworthy and relevant. He is based in New York City.
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