Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may hold a huge chunk of the smartphone market share, but as the competition heats up with the introduction of new phones from BlackBerry (USA) (NASDAQ:RIM) (TSE:RIM) and Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) Apple is going to have to keep stretching in order to stay ahead.

Apple

Analysts at Barclays PLC (ADR) (NYSE:BCS) (LON:BARC) issued a report to investors this morning highlighting some of the areas Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has an opportunity to shine in. They discussed the necessity for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to release an iPhablet or iPhone with at least a 5-inch screen. They expect the device to come out by 2014 and to be priced “at a premium” and have a “top-of-the-line display.”

The analysts also point out that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) “has always distinguished itself with its ecosystem even if its products were the most expensive without the leading credit.” They call the iPhone “arguably the most useful phone in the market,” specifically because it has more than 800,000 apps. Barclays PLC (ADR) (NYSE:BCS) (LON:BARC) analysts cite NetMarketShare.com, which indicates that the iOS operating system is “responsible” for more than 60 percent of mobile internet activity.

The analysts said apps are going to continue to be a “differentiator” for Apple against its peers “over the long term.” They believe the strategy gives iOS “a distinctive stickiness,” enhancing loyalty in the process. In January Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced that more than 40 billion apps had been downloaded from its app store, a significant increase from the 35 billion apps announced less than three months before.

Of course Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is making the most of the stickiness created by its App Store, debuting new URLs to promote it during the Super Bowl. For example, AppStore.com/StarTrekApp creates an easy way for the developers of that app to advertise it while making it easy for interested downloaders to find it in the App Store.

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