Seoul: Apple, returning the offensive from Samsung, could roll out a smaller, cheaper 'iPhone Mini' next year to grab market share by targeting demand from users of lower-end smartphones, Strategy Analytics said.
Brian J White, a researcher at Topeka Capital Markets, on Wednesday also 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 Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, 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.
(With inputs from Reuters)