A Screen Digest analyst has claimed that the biggest surprise with the next iPhone may well be its price, predicting that Apple will start to compete with competitors such as Nokia on smartphone pricing.

The analysts identify an industry-wide consensus on a need for less fragmentation in the smartphone market.

However, that said, Screen Digest "believes that the stakes are simply too high for major players to settle early on platforms that will define the next decade in devices ranging from smartphones, tablets, or even TVs.

380 million smartphones sold in 2014

"With PC heavyweights such as HP, Dell, Microsoft and Intel joining the battle, smartphones alone are expected to reach 380m units shipped in 2014, or 30% of all mobile handsets shipped, according to latest figures released today by Screen Digest as part of its mobile intelligence service."

Google's Android is predicted to be the fastest growing smartphone operating system, with Julien Theys, Senior Analyst at Screen Digest, noting: "In less than two years Android has managed to mature into a complete and reliable product that positions it as the leading contender for becoming the default smartphone OS for most manufacturers."

Symbian is still the OS shipped in most handsets, set to become the first Smartphone OS to break the 100m yearly shipments barrier in 2015.

"The next year should be the year where Apple aims at broadening its target market," claims the analyst.

"Apple's revenue in the smartphone market is nothing short of remarkable. However there will be hard choices to make in pricing and operator partnerships - especially in the US - if Apple wants to increase its market share. The biggest surprise of the iPhone's next iteration could very well be its price."

Via Screen Digest