“Even before Apple has announced the name or the shape of its next iPhone — expected to be unveiled by chief executive Tim Cook next Wednesday — analysts are certain that it is going to dominate the Christmas market in the US and, to a lesser extent, Europe,” Charles Arthur reports for The Guardian. “”Our target is for Apple to sell 50 million iPhones in the fourth quarter, of which 28 million will be the iPhone 5,” said Neil Mawston, executive director of research firm Strategy Analytics. That compares with 37 million iPhones in total in the same period a year before, of which Mawston reckons 20 million were the then-new iPhone 4S.”

“There is certainty that the “iPhone 5″ will have a larger, longer screen, thinner design, smaller SIM card, bigger battery and new connector; it is also expected to offer high-speed 4G/LTE wireless broadband, a step up from the 3G first added to the iPhone in 2008,” Arthur reports. “What isn’t known is what the “rabbit in the hat” — the surprise extra — will be. Two years ago it was the high-quality ‘retina’ display; last year, the “Siri” voice recognition system. ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if they come up with some kind of service that differentiates them from the rest and which consumers value,’ says Francisco Jeronimo, smartphones analyst for researchers IDC. The latest reports suggest some sort of music-streaming service, at least in the US, to rival Spotify and Pandora.”

Arthur reports, “Apple collects 71% of the world’s smartphone profits, analysts reckon. Even though Samsung ships the most phones, it takes 37%; Taiwan’s HTC gets 1%. (That total exceeds 100% because it’s offset by losses at Nokia, BlackBerry-maker RIM, Motorola, Sony, LG and others.)”

Read more in the full article here.

[Attribution: Forbes. Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers "Fred Mertz" and "chris" for the heads up.]