The cavalcade of industry analysts aren’t done with their wild and wacky predictions about Apple’s future.

This time, ABI Research says that Apple’s share of the smartphone market will peak at 22 percent this year and remain flat all the way through 2018:

“Barring an unlikely collapse in Samsung’s business, even Apple will be chasing Samsung’s technology, software, and device leadership in 2013 through the foreseeable future,” says senior analyst Michael Morgan.

Along with that nugget of wisdom, ABI also has some interesting predictions about the massive growth of the smartphone market in general. In 2014, smartphone shipments are expected to account for 50 percent of all handset shipments worldwide to become the largest segment of the industry.

Four years later, 2.4 billion smartphones will account for 69 percent of all handset shipments. Half of those smartphones in 2018 will be LTE capable.

While some might say a smaller, cheaper iPhone ‘mini’ might help Apple grow its markets share, I’m still extremely skeptical that we’ll ever see an inexpensive version of the handset.

Apple has always mainly been concerned about one thing: profit. I’ll never say never about a cheap iPhone. But if Apple does introduce one, the handset’s chief purpose would be to expand the company’s bottom line.