“The iPhone has a ‘long runway,’ Oppenheimer & Co.’s Ittai Kidron suggests, and the iPad an even longer runway, with the prospect of a ‘mini’ iPhone, and competitors playing catch-up to the iPad, with no room under Apple’s ‘aggressive’ pricing umbrella,” Tiernan Ray reports for Barron’s. “The mini iPhone, in fact, is a question of ‘when, not if’ there will be a lower-cost version of the device, especially for emerging markets and into the ‘mid-tier’ of the phone market. It makes sense, he argues, for the iPhone to follow the iPod ‘found its way into lower price tiers.'”

MacDailyNews Take: In its most basic form, iPod simply plays sound. The iPhone, of course, does much more. It’s easier to shrink sizes, reduce or remove screens, and reduce prices with an iPod than it is with an iPhone. After all, make the iPhone’s screen any smaller and you lose most of what makes an iPhone an iPhone. You’ll be left with just a phone and there’s nothing much unique about that. Making something just to slap their logo on it isn’t Apple’s style. Now, we do see an opening for an iPhone with a larger-screen which could co-exist with current screen-size iPhones that’d be renamed “iPhone mini” or “nano” or whatever. Any “Mini iPhone” smaller than the current iPhone 4 would have to offer something unique (or at least worthwhile) to users or Apple won’t produce it.

Ray reports, “The iPad will probably retain a ‘commanding share in the space and leave it somehwat insulated from the wave of tablet competition,’ writes Kidron, given that Apple’s first-mover advantage could be a bulwark as in the iPod market, with ‘mindshare hard to break.’ …Kidron offers a prediction for 73 million iPhones to be shipped this fiscal year ending in September, and 28.5 million iPads, which is in line with to slightly below other estimates I’ve seen. For fiscal 2012, he’s modeling 97.6 million iPhones and 44 million.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]