Can mini iPhone boost Apple past Samsung?

By , Jan 4, 2013

iphone 5 ad

It’s a new year, but talk of Apple’s need to produce an inexpensive smartphone is back. This time there is a name for the device: the iPhone mini. Friday, an analyst forecast the company could unveil a cheap iPhone in 2014 to combat Samsung’s handset lead in the face of the high-end smartphone market “nearing saturation”. To break out of its #2 position, Apple must follow Samsung’s success of marketing to many different groups of consumers.

That’s at least the main line of reasoning by analyst Neil Mawston of Strategy Analytics. To date, Apple has only subsidized iPhones that sell with a contract, in addition to the expensive contract-free offering and the somewhat discounted previous versions of the smartphone. Sooner than later, the company will need to recognize the untapped segment of inexpensive prepaid handsets, an area that could boost it beyond its chief rival…

He told 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.

Because demand for the iPhone 5 continues to grow, we’re unlikely to see an inexpensive iPhone this year. However, 2014 is a different story.

Why?

The analyst forecasts the postpaid market is nearly tapped-out and Apple will need to find more room to grow.

Apple’s penetration of the global postpaid market will be nearing saturation and Apple will be forced to discover fresh growth streams elsewhere.

Apple employed a similar strategy with the original iPod music player which later diversified to cover a wide gamut of price points. Of course, repeating this with a smartphone isn’t without its perils as a new form-factor iPhone would inevitable fragment the platform.

Earlier this week, another Apple watcher struck a similar chord, expecting iPhone 5 production will slow in the March 2013 quarter after getting off to a red-hot start.

Unless Apple does find room to grow its iPhone brand, we are likely to settle into a rather stable landscape with Samsung and Apple holding the #1 and #2 handset positions.

AnoStyle teaser
The iPhone 5 in AnoStyle colors.

After Apple displaced LG for the #2 cell phone vendor in the U.S., Mawston foresees Samsung with 33 percent of the 2013 smartphone market and Apple with 21 percent. The South Korean company is expected to gain two percent over 2012 while Apple could increase by one percent.

The analyst isn’t alone in his prediction of an iPhone mini by 2014. Mirroring Strategy Analytics, Jeffries analyst Peter Misek also believes such a handset could be introduced as early as this summer and carry a price tag between $200 and $250.

However, like Mawston, Misek doesn’t see a cheaper iPhone appearing while Apple is actively promoting the iPhone 5. Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard calls for an inexpensive phone as a way for Apple to gain some ground against competitors.

comScore chart (201211, top US mobile vendors)
Apple in a three-month period ending November 2011 overtook LG and became #2 handset maker in the United States.

Such a device has always been seen as a way to entice mobile consumers in China and India to adopt an iPhone over the less expensive Android. But talk of a new iPhone could be prompted by the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy S4 expected in February or March.

In order to blunt the advantage of rivals offering new devices early in the year, Apple is rumored to unveil the iPhone 5S (or iPhone 6) in June or May, instead of waiting until September, when the iPhone 5 was introduced.

iphone nano new
Apple needs way cheaper prepaid offering and not necessarily a much smaller iPhone.

Another factor in the iPhone mini chatter is its departure from the apparent trend for next week’s CES (iDB will be in attendance): the so-called phablet (hello, Samsung Galaxy Note!), basically a collection of large phones spanning both handsets and tablets.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has been a cheerleader for such devices, calling in 2012 for “gorilla-sized” handsets. Additionally, Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White cited market checks leading him to believe Apple will release  the next iPhone in multiple colors and two screen sizes “to better bifurcate the market and expand its reach”.

What is the next growth market for Apple: a smaller iPhone for prepaid consumers, a mix of phones and tablets, or perhaps remaking the Mickey Mouse watch?

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  • jose castro

    why go smaller.. there would be no point.. small button to text and such.. people would not buy it… loss of money is all i got to say..

    im sure you would loss a lot of features people want…

    cant even play games or anything…

    • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

      I’m 100% sure iTards will buy it; thrust me, unfortunately, they exist

  • Pixie

    lmao a mini iPhone that would be stupid, Dont you think the 4/4S is the mini iPhone now seeing as 5 is taller screen

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      they are both mini

      • Jurassic

        Some people (like you) want a bigass heavy phone to carry around with them all day.

        Other people avoid those over-sized phones, and prefer to have a small, light phone, with a useable-sized display.

        There has been this rush by some manufacturers over the past few years, to see who can make the largest and heaviest phone.

        Multi-touch phones started off with 3.5″ displays, then manufacturers came out with 4″, then 4.5″, then 5″, and now 5.5″ displays.

        The next logical step would be a phone with a 6″ display (the size of an e-reader!). It’s a ridiculous race, and it drags phone designs further away from what a mobile phone should be… compact and light.

        It was announced this week that more than 1 out of every 3 smartphones sold in the US is an iPhone. That is 35% of ALL smartphones from different manufacturers combined (including Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry OS, etc.) is an iPhone.

        Clearly the iPhone is the optimal size.

      • JamesR624

        Right? By usable, do you mean only people 14 and under? The iPhone’s display makes typing on the keyboard a fucking nightmare. I just know its gonna be all the kids down voting me and claiming its not a problem. If it wasn’t, then why did the Galaxy Note II, the biggest screened phone in existence do so well, it almost outsold the iPhone?

      • Jurassic

        Just because you have a problem with the iPhone keyboard, doesn’t mean everyone else in the world does too (in fact sales numbers show this to be true).

        I’m a full-grown, male human being, and I had no problem typing on the iPhone 4 screen, and it’s even easier on the iPhone 5.

        Gripe all you want. Your experience (if true) is not everyone else’s.

      • http://twitter.com/DonSexyBeast Don Reid

        man you probably just have fat fingers

      • http://www.facebook.com/xxLIUZHENYUxx Liu Zhenyu

        The Keyboard is optimal, just because you have a large hand doesn’t mean everyone else does, not forgetting you can always rotate landscape.

      • Ronald Weaver

        I love iphones and couldn’t agree more. I think its time for apple to make the software way more customizable too. it’s a really boring phone without a jailbreak. I purchased the first gen up to the 4s and all we get is sounds and wallpaper. Oh yeah note fonts wow!

      • http://twitter.com/rud0lf77 Rudolf Lichtner

        If it weren’t you I would have said: “Your brain is mini”, but I think you are ok ^^

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-Cooper/100000164561256 Matthew Cooper

      I was about to say the same thing.

  • http://twitter.com/MHCsk MHCsk

    iPad mini worked, so prehaps..

    I’m not actually fan of mini iPhone concept. iPad has big screen so there is nothing wrong on shrinking it a bit. But the iPhone has small screen already, so there is no point in making it even smaller. If they made it thinner, with A4 or A5 perhaps, changed the design a bit and lower the price.. that could do the trick.

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      only cause the iPad was already big

  • wonderboydave

    just sell the iphone4 unlocked for dirt cheap.. like 100 bucks or something.

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      4S is already free on most criers with 2 year plan

      • http://www.facebook.com/dietermarkus Markus Hudobnik

        That’s wrong. The 4 is free on most carriers. 4S is around $100 still

  • http://www.facebook.com/adrianofgmatos Adriano Filipe Matos

    So many stupid news in a row. All these rumors makes no sense. Wasn’t the iPhone 3GS, 4 and 4S with the right size for one hand? Then came the 5 and now this?? I don’t want one “sample” of a phone. This is actually stupid but sure Apple. You should invest and making new products (with no inovations what so ever) and let the software behind. This is why i still love my 3GS with Jailbreak.

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      its so boring now that folks are making up lame crape just to get ad views.. next it will be “lochness monster seen using iPhone 6..”

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-Cooper/100000164561256 Matthew Cooper

        Haha

      • 4p0c4lyps3

        Roflmao

    • RarestName

      They’re talking about the width.

  • THEBANDIT240

    iPod touch + Nokia = inexpensive iphone

  • Jerry

    the fucking iphone 4/4s is mini enough. why in Gods name would they make a mini iphone when people are already bitching that the iphone 5s screen is small

  • Mohammad Ridwan

    Ain’t gonna happen… This Apple we are talking about…

  • maurid

    I think Apple doesn’t have a clue as to what the hell to do next.

    “Jobs left 5 years worth of products and ideas” my ass.

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      best post i have seen on here in a long time..

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=604885391 Richard Borkovec

      My thoughts exactly. Jobs would KILL whoever wanted to put the iPhone in more than two colors and one size. If he did leave behind this many ideas, they’re clearly ignoring every single one of them.

  • http://twitter.com/piyushr21 Piyush

    iPhone “NOTE” would be awesome ;)

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      call it MAC phone

  • http://www.facebook.com/dietermarkus Markus Hudobnik

    They could make a cheaper product not a small device

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      apple doesn’t do cheap

      • http://www.facebook.com/dietermarkus Markus Hudobnik

        Very true

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    ummm really?? WTF?? the iphone is already a damn mini phone.. its small as hell… and apple does not need to worry about samsung.. iphone and ipad rule the earth

  • http://www.facebook.com/dietermarkus Markus Hudobnik

    Or when the iPhone 6 comes out (iPhone 5S) they should slightly upgrade the iPhone 4 and keep that as the “cheaper device”

  • Kaptivator

    I wouldn’t mind this for my child as she reaches that age of wanting/needing a cell phone. Something that is not to involved as the “regular” iPhone. Something that she could use to build her responsibility and trust towards another iPhone as she matures. Granted, she uses my iPad and things of the sort, but I just don’t trust her with an expensive phone that will get dropped, tossed around in her book bag and who knows what else. A stripped down version in a smaller package is ideal for parents in the market for a cellphone for their kids. I would seriously consider it if this was to go into production.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=604885391 Richard Borkovec

      iPhone 4 with Lifeproof case = completely childproof, and doesn’t add much bulk.

      • Kaptivator

        This is true…

  • http://www.facebook.com/shingo.hoshino Shingo Hoshino

    wkwkwkwkwkwkwk………..so wkwkwkwkkwkwkkwkw

  • http://twitter.com/oneBurge Burge

    The iPhone nano as it was called when the first iPhone came out didn’t happen then .. Apple just make the older version of the iPhone cheaper when a new one comes out…that’s apple way of going for a cheaper market..

  • http://www.facebook.com/razick.rilshad Razick Rilshad

    We need bigger than iphone 5

  • sambuzzlight

    i wouldn’t mind seeing a iPhone mini which has same 3.5 inches screen but is smaller than iP4 and 4s, but next iphone in rainbow colors? no please.

  • http://twitter.com/Jackzzz99 Jack Wong

    It is about the monthly fee from the carrier… there is only 1 SMS plan from at&t now, $20 for unlimited or $30 for unlimited family…

    Lower the price for iPhone doesn’t help at all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jared-Brunet/615181232 Jared Brunet

    Just ask HP…with there crazy small Veer 4G phone before they pulled the plug on webOS.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-Cooper/100000164561256 Matthew Cooper

    I remember hearing this concept years ago and thinking yeah I could use a smaller iphone but granted that was when smaller phones were the fad. I think Apple will only cause its popularity to decline with choices like this now

  • Acicey

    lol that’s weird they are making a mini iPhone heh heh

  • Jurassic

    It’s a wonder how some “analysts” keep their jobs, starting illogical rumors like this one.

    There is as much chance that Apple will come out with a a smaller, cheaper version of the iPhone, as there is that they would start making and selling Windows PCs.

    When PC manufacturers started selling cheap, sub-$400 desktop computers, did Apple follow with a similarly priced Mac? Nope.

    When PC manufacturers started selling cheap, sub-$400 “Netbook” computers, did Apple follow with a similarly priced Mac “Netbook”? Nope. (Netbooks were trying to compete with the more expensive and highly successful MacBook Air, but they failed miserably).

    When tablet manufacturers started selling 10″ tablets in the $300 range, and 7″ tablets in the $200 range, did Apple make a cheap version of the iPad to match those prices? Nope. (In fact Apple’s iPad mini is priced much higher than many 10″ tablets, but it has been a HUGE sales success!)

    These so-called analysts need to understand and remember that Apple does not follow competitors in a race to the bottom of cheapness (in both price and quality). Apple has become the largest and most profitable company on the planet by selling high-quality, innovative products, at reasonable prices.

    Most people buy products based on value… not on cheap prices.

    To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: “Nowadays tech companies know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

  • http://twitter.com/DvdGman David Gitman

    iphone mini is just stupid. why will you buy a mini iphone when you can afford in the same amount of money iphone 5 with taller screen?

  • nima

    No, the only way is open ios platform for JailBreaK!!!

  • Muhammad

    Apple STAHP

  • nima

    I’m 16 years old and I want to put some cool apps on my iPhone 5, o I forgot I’m not 18 I can’t use a credit card! Instead I will JailBreaK my iPhone 5, oh there is no JailBreaK… Uhh soo I think the only way to get some paid apps and tweaks is for free is android!
    Bye bye iPhone!
    This the story of my life! I really love apple and its past but if it needs to keep up it needs to free up its platform..

    • http://twitter.com/kyelewis Kye Lewis

      Buy… an iTunes gift card?

  • http://twitter.com/Khmer9_Web Khmer9.Net

    How To Download And Install Cracked Apps On IPhone Or IPad Running On IOS 6 Without Jailbreak Using KuaiYong

    Original From: http://Www.Khmer9.Net/2013/01/How-To-Download-And-Install-Cracked-Apps-On-Iphone-Or-Ipad-Running-On-Ios-6-Without-Jailbreak-Using-Kuaiyong.Html#.UOc8c-TIXTA

  • http://www.facebook.com/jajidejumbo Justin Koopmann

    first enlarge the screen and then make it even smaller again, because f*ck logic..

  • http://twitter.com/nAcolz Acolz

    I would buy it, I have a 3GS and would really love a 3″ screen.

  • http://twitter.com/xuz0 Bing

    no apple. I want iPhablet

  • Joe Benning

    I’m waiting for the iBeeper…

  • Guest

    Judging from the photo of the “iphone nano”, it will be a huge success,

  • http://www.facebook.com/virusassault Riaz Toorabally

    Judging from the photo of the “iphone nano”, it will be a huge success.. parents will certainly be buying this for their kids. looks like an excellent alternative to the iphone 4s or 5 in terms of price.. not all parents have “big” wallets..

  • AdamChew

    Looks like all the analysts always have the last words and know everything about Apple and what they must do to succeed.

    Weren’t they the ones also said Apple must make netbooks to compete with the the PC netbooks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ishaanmalhotra92 Ishaan Malhotra

    How much more mini can an iPhone go?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ishaanmalhotra92 Ishaan Malhotra

    Tim Cook sucks!!

  • http://twitter.com/AlbertoMS89 Alberto Martinez

    I seriously doubt Apple will do the “iPhone mini, if anything they will bring out a prepaid iPhone with the specs of an older iPhone to compensate for the lower cost, now that makes more sense.

  • Ronald Weaver

    I think the better Question would be. Can a bigger iphone help apple iPhone sales?

  • http://www.facebook.com/cataronganjr Edgar Tinay Catarongan Jr.

    senseless

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1571231852 Nesar Alom

    All the iPhones in my appinion are small. Apple need to make larger screen size if they were too succeed in upcoming years