Apple might be the most profitable smartphone manufacturer today but apparently it wants more. When the company rolled out the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c in September, it also launched a line of colorful protective cases that sell between $29 and $35. This move is bad news for Otterbox, a brand known for its protective solutions for mobile devices.

The Colorado-based company ruled the market for iPhone protective cases for a long time; however, things are about to change. Based on a research done by the Consumer Intelligence Research Partners or CIRP, Otterbox controls 50 percent market share for iPhone 4s cases, but Apple is slowly catching up in the sales of iPhone 5s and 5c cases.

"Apple targeted the biggest accessory segment by introducing new iPhone 5S and 5C cases with the launch of the new phones. Otterbox dominates the market for iPhone 4S cases, though, with over half of the market. A number of other case makers, including Belkin, Griffin, Incase, Incipio, LifeProof, Speck, and Spigen, each have a couple of percentage points in share of all three iPhone models. And, a significant percentage of all iPhone owners, including almost half of iPhone 5C owners, do not know their case brand or manufacturer," said CIRP co-founder Mike Levin in an interview.

Apple is now no.2 in the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c smartphone case market with a 15 percent and 10 percent  share, respectively. Otterbox is still in command with a 20 percent share for iPhone 5c cases and 25 percent share for iPhone 5s cases. However, the equations may change in Apple's favor if it decides to make rugged, protective cases, something that Otterbox specializes in.

The survey of CIRP also found out that 76 percent of consumers who buy iPhones also get their cases from Apple. The study revealed that owners who buy cases do not know who manufactured them.

"Among those polled, nearly half of all iPhone 5c owners indicated they don't know their case's brand, while 30 percent of iPhone 5s owners were unsure who made their accessory - representing larger shares than Otterbox, Apple, or anyone else was able to carve out," the report stated.

CIRP collected data from 400 iPhone owners in the U.S. about a month after the launch of the new Apple handsets in September.

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