Fire Up the Rumor Mill: Apple May Have an iPhone Mini in the Works

Did you really think we could go any longer without a fresh Apple rumor piquing people’s interest? The latest scuttlebutt on the next rumored Apple device is that the Cupertino company could be working on an iPhone Mini to compete with its main rival, Samsung, in more specific market segments.

Samsung is the current king of smartphone sales, despite legal efforts on Apple’s part to hamstring the Korean company, and Strategy Analytics told Reuters that Samsung will widen its lead over Apple this coming year. Samsung’s edge, the firm suggests, is that it has a broader product portfolio that allows the company to tap into a lower-end customer base that is currently outside of Apple’s reach.

iPhone 5
The iPhone 5, which could have a smaller sibling in 2014

Indeed, Samsung has a dizzying number of devices large, small, and in between, and it continues to add more to its portfolio at a relatively blistering rate; Apple has a few generations of the iPhone as well as the iPad and the iPad Mini.

Analysts suggest that the next iPhone, which will likely be the iPhone 5S (or iPhone 6?), will debut sometime in late spring or early summer, with 2014 being the earliest we might see an iPhone Mini.

We’re not saying that a low-cost, prepaid iPhone Mini is a bad idea, but we imagine that Steve Jobs, who famously championed sharply pared-down product lines and obsessed over every nuance and detail of Apple device designs, might be rolling over in his grave at the thought of an Apple product whipped up just to nibble at market share. Put another way: It might be a good way to compete with Samsung, but it doesn’t sound very magical or revolutionary.