In response to competitive pressure from Samsung, Apple may be forced to bring out a low-cost iPhone mini within the next three years, an analyst at Strategy Analytics has predicted, kicking off another round of feverish speculation.
Research from Strategy Analytics suggests Samsung will capture 33pc of the world smartphone market, up from 31pc at the end of 2012.
Apple will reach 21pc of the global smartphone market, up just 1pc on 2012.
According to CNET, Strategy Analytics analyst Neil Mawston has predicted Samsung will sell 290m smartphones in 2013 while Apple will sell 180m iPhone devices.
In order to catch up on Samsung, which operates in lower-cost segments, Mawston said Apple may release an iPhone mini smartphone.
“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,” Mawston said.
“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 post-paid smartphone market will be nearing saturation and Apple will be forced to discover fresh growth streams elsewhere,” Mawston added.