Samsung to widen smartphone gap with Apple this year: Strategy Analytics
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"Samsung plays in more segments and this should enable it to capture more volume than Apple (assuming Apple does not launch an 'iPhone Mini' this year)," Mawston said. Brian J. White, a researcher at Topeka Capital Markets, on Wednesday raised the possibility that Apple may launch a smaller and lower-priced iPhone – the iPhone Mini – to further penetrate markets such as China and India.
White said in a report that he believed Apple will launch the next iPhone, the iPhone 5S, in May or June, and offer more options in screen sizes. This would eventually open up the possibility for the iPhone Mini, he said.
But Mawston said the iPhone Mini was not expected to hit the market until after this year.
"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," he said.
"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," he said.
Samsung Electronics, once a laggard in the smartphone market, has quickly surpassed Apple as the world's largest smartphone maker.
Strong smartphone sales have helped to lift both the company's shares, which hit a record high of 1.584 million won ($1,500) on Thursday, and its earnings, with a record profit expected for a fifth quarter in a row in the latest October-to-December period. The results are expected to be announced early next week.
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