Apple may retire the iPhone mini, but the little iPhone dream continues

Hold this mini closer, little handers. Apple could sideline your fate.

When CEO Tim Cook finally reveals the iPhone 14 (or whatever name the company decides to give it) on September 7, Apple analysts like Ming-Chi Kuo say there will be four phones in total: two 6.1-inch models and two 6.7-inch models. This means that the 5.4-inch iPhone mini model that graced the iPhone 12 and 13 product lines could disappear forever. Do. Damn. If rumors are to be believed, Apple is going in the complete opposite direction, turning the dial from mini to “Max” with a 6.7-inch replacement for the tiny phone.


Here’s what Apple might show off at the iPhone 14 event in September

Why would Apple do this to us small phone lovers? And do we still have a future in the iPhone ecosystem?

A little story

A small phone for small hands.
Credit: Zlata Ivleva / Mashable

The iPhone 12 mini, released in 2020, was Apple’s first mini model. With a starting price of $700, it saved consumers just $100 over the cost of the full-size iPhone 12. It had exactly the guts of a 6.1-inch iPhone 12, but with a 5.4-inch screen that kept it relatively compact. Everything else, from the A14 Bionic chipset inside to its 4GB RAM and dual-camera setup on the back, was the same between the two models.

And it was great! Our reviewer Brenda Stolyar loved how it felt in her hands and that it had the same cutting-edge (at the time) chipset as its larger siblings. That said, she felt the phone was “too small” for her liking when it came to serious smartphone use.

Let me explain: I rely heavily on my phone throughout the day and night, whether it’s watching Netflix, texting friends in endless group chats, or browsing social media. So not only was it frustrating to have to constantly stare at or navigate such a small screen for long periods of time, but when typing with both hands, my fingers felt squashed while resting on the back of the phone.

Look, I’m not proud of my excessive smartphone use, but it made me realize how crucial a big screen is to me.

Still, there were people who ultimately preferred the smaller size. People who bothered to buy one seemed to agree that it’s one of the most comfortable iPhones to hold.

Apple followed that up with the iPhone 13 mini a year later and didn’t stray from the formula: same iPhone 13 specs, different screen size. The Apple event kept screen dimensions and prices unchanged year-over-year while upgrading the chipset. So if the mini has two chances of success, why doesn’t this idea have a third?

Why would Apple kill the iPhone mini?

One word: Sales.

According to market research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, the iPhone 13 mini only accounted for 3% of total iPhone sales in the first quarter of 2022. That’s not good.

iPhone 13 next to iPhone 13 Mini

iPhone 13 (left) and iPhone 13 mini (right).
Credit: Stan Schroeder/Mashable

For whatever reason, the market demand Apple must have seen for a smaller flagship iPhone just hasn’t materialized since the first mini launched in 2020. According to Annette Zimmerman, vice president analyst at the research firm Gartner says the iPhone mini has become “sort of a niche” in our new COVID-driven world, where smartphones are more important than ever.

“The pandemic has enabled an acceleration of the smartphone’s critical role, such as performing tasks via mobile apps on the go or remotely, making the smartphone more indispensable than ever,” Zimmerman said. “This dynamic is better served by larger standard screens than by more compact designs, so acceptance of larger handsets has become the norm and is growing.”

The price of the iPhone mini probably didn’t help either. Maybe the iPhone fanatics wanted a bigger discount for sacrificing so much screen real estate. It also had a light, toy-like feel, but not a toy-like price. But even if the iPhone mini is dead, that doesn’t mean Apple is totally done with the idea of ​​a smaller, cheaper, but equally capable iPhone.

The real iPhone mini was here from the start

iPhone SE 2022

The iPhone SE 2022.
Credit: Stan Schroeder/Mashable

The supposed death of the iPhone mini may seem sad at first glance, but if you dig deeper, it’s not that bad. You see, Apple already sells a same After Miniature iPhone with most of the same specs you’d get from an iPhone 13 mini. It’s called the iPhone SE.

With a 4.7-inch screen, the same A15 Bionic chip and 4GB of RAM as the iPhone 13 mini, and a much nicer starting price of $429, the latest iPhone SE can do most of the same things as the iPhone 13 mini. an iPhone mini but for much less money. Sure, you only get a single 12-megapixel rear camera lens, but that’s the biggest compromise.

Well, aside from the fact that if you like the SE, you’ll have to be patient. Apple does not update the iPhone SE every year. The three older models in the lineup were released in 2016, 2020, and 2022, so you might have to wait a few years between upgrades. It’s not that bad though!

And while the mini failed to find a solid following, that’s not necessarily the case with the SE. Runar Bjørhovde, an analyst at research firm Canalys, said you shouldn’t worry about Apple killing the SE lineup, just like how it might kill the mini, because it plays an important role in the portfolio. from Apple.


iPhone SE (2022) review: Old design, new power

“It actually serves as an opening for people who can’t necessarily pay that much for an iPhone,” Bjørhovde said. “For many users who are now feeling the pressure of rising prices, perhaps their disposable income is starting to shrink a bit, the option of going for a cheaper iPhone may suddenly be much more appealing, especially if you are a fairly loyal Apple user.

If there’s no future for the iPhone mini, those who loved its small body (and brand) can rest assured they’ll still have the iPhone SE to keep their little hands warm.

About Franklin Cheatham

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