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Apple may release an ‘iPhone Mini’ to dethrone Samsung in 2014, analyst says

Galaxy S3 vs iPhone 5

Apple and Samsung are always at odds when it comes to smartphone launches. Both companies produce what have arguably come to be known as the most popular smartphones lines on the market: Apple’s iPhone brand and Samsung’s Galaxy S series. With each subsequent handset release, both companies attempt to outdo one another. According to Strategy Analytics’ Neil Mawston, the Cupertino, Calif.-based iPhone maker could target Samsung’s Galaxy S3 Mini next. A recent report from Reuters indicated that Apple could release an “iPhone Mini” in an effort to oust Samsung from the top of the smartphone market.

Consequently, Samsung is also expected to widen its lead over Apple in the next year. Data obtained by CNET indicates that the Korea-based smartphone maker will claim 33 percent of the mobile market share come 2013, which is an increase from the 31 percent it accounted for in 2012. Meanwhile, Apple’s portion is expected to bump up to 21 percent from 20 percent, according to the report. One of Samsung’s primary advantages is that it offers more options and is therefore able to encompass a larger sector of mobile users.

“We expect Samsung to slightly extend its lead over Apple this year because of its larger multitier product portfolio,” Mawston said to Reuters.

It’s the same basic reason that Android covers a wider scope of the mobile landscape than iOS: variety. Apple may be planning to launch another smartphone, perhaps the 5S, in different screen sizes to deliver this variety to users, Topeka Kansas Capital Markets analyst Brian White said. This would essentially set the stage for an iPhone Mini in the future.

“We think 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,” Mawston told Reuters. “The iPhone 5 is growing fast and profitably right now, so there is little incentive for Apple to launch an ‘iPhone Mini’ this year. We expect the iPhone Mini to be more likely next year, in 2014 when…Apple will be forced to discover fresh growth streams.”

This isn’t the first time analysts have called Apple out on their premium priced products. Jefferies analyst Peter Misek predicted in early December that a low-cost iPhone in the $200-$250 price range could be in Apple’s future.

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