Apple could introduce yet another new product in the iOS device lineup by next year, according to Strategy Analytics analyst Neil Mawston.
The analyst claims that, in order to fight back against Samsung’s volume smartphone sales, Apple could introduce a cheaper “iPhone mini” in 2014 to better compete with its top Android rival.
Mawston provided the following statement to CNET:
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.
This rumor is questionable for a number of reasons. For starters, it would be rather ironic if Apple introduced a smaller smartphone after pushing the iPhone 5 with a larger 4-inch screen. Moreover, there are already a number of cheaper iPhone options available in the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and even the more recent iPhone 4S. Last, introducing yet another new screen size for developers to work with is just adding to the increasing fragmentation between iOS devices.
But, like most rumors, we’re posting this in the interest of discussion only. Mawston could be right, but almost no analysts have a perfect track record when it comes to speculating about Apple, so it’s important to treat this rumor as nothing more than that — a rumor — until there is further information available to back up this analyst’s claims. Considering that Apple just recently launched the iPad mini, do you think they could release a similar “iPhone mini” next year?