"I think what you've got here are signs that when a market matures, people come up with feature X, not make-or-break features that make consumers think, 'Oh, this is awesome, I have to have it,'" said Gottheil. "Instead, you have companies [like Samsung and Apple] at similar levels of sophistication, with platforms similarly evolved, that are racking their brains to make people go, "Oooooh and Ahhhhh."
But Apple will react, whether to Samsung's specific moves or in a more general way to the shifting mobile market, all three analysts said.
Marshall, for instance, said Apple would introduce a phablet design, a 5-in. iPhone, this summer. White, however, rejected that. "There are no data points for [an Apple] phablet this year," White said.
Instead, Apple will launch its next-generation iPhone -- White, like many others, referred to it as the "iPhone 5S" -- this June, alongside a lower-priced iPhone that can better compete in international and emerging markets.
"Refreshes will be faster," White predicted of Apple's more-or-less annual new-iPhone debuts. "And as they segment the market, they will have a phablet ... eventually."
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is email@example.com.
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