Is Apple killing the iPhone Mini?

At Apple’s iPhone event in September 2022, there was a distinct lack of an iPhone mini, leading many to speculate (us included) that the small iPhone form factor is well and truly dead. . So why did Apple skip the mini this year, and are we still stuck with bigger iPhones?

The iPhone 14 Plus replaces the iPhone 13 mini

In September 2021, Apple announced the iPhone 13 mini alongside the standard iPhone 13, 13 Pro, and 13 Pro Max. This followed the iPhone 12 mini which saw a release the previous year. For a while, it looked like iPhone fans who favored pocket space over battery life would be taken care of by the tech giant.

But a January 2022 report by industry analyst firm Counterpoint cited disappointing sales figures for the iPhone 13 mini in China, where just 5% of sales were attributed to the smaller model. These numbers require a pinch of salt before extrapolating to the market as a whole, but rumors have started circulating that Apple will be phasing out the mini in 2022.

So it wasn’t entirely surprising that the iPhone 14 mini never materialized, its absence punctuated by the return of a previous mainstay: the iPhone 14 Plus. The last time Apple rolled out the Plus moniker was in 2018 during the iPhone 8 (and X) event.

Of course, all Pro models (and 2019’s iPhone XS) have seen beefed-up “Max” versions, and the iPhone 14 Pro is no different. There’s always been a market for bigger devices, but in recent years those customers have had to shell out big for high-end flagship models.

While the iPhone 13 mini saved customers $100 compared to the standard version. the iPhone 14 Plus is $100 more than the standard $799 model for the larger 6.7″ screen and about 20% more battery life.

Could the iPhone mini return in 2023?

The iPhone 14 might be one of the least groundbreaking iPhone launches if you’re upgrading from hardware that’s only about a year old. There aren’t too many big new features that will make you want to upgrade from an iPhone 13 to the fact that Apple uses the A15 Bionic system-on-chip in both models. That doesn’t make it a disappointing device, especially if you’ve had your iPhone for a few more years.

Although the iPhone 14 gains an additional GPU core, you shouldn’t expect a breakthrough in performance or power efficiency over last year’s model. This could be due to a global shortage of semiconductors that the world is just beginning to emerge from, or it could also be a sign that Apple is reacting to the way many of its customers spend their money.

Consider this: there are now fewer reasons to upgrade your iPhone (or any smartphone) every year. Manufacturers favor incremental upgrades, slow feature rollouts, and refining hardware year after year. Many of us are happy to wait for the “right time” to upgrade, whether it’s when our old device breaks or feels sluggish, or even when we see something we like that makes our model obsolete. .

iPhone 14 (left) and iPhone 13 mini (right) Apple

Would iPhone 13 (or even 12) mini owners see enough value in an iPhone upgrade if Apple had produced the iPhone 14 mini? Or is Apple betting these folks are just waiting for the next time the company rolls out a smaller model, especially given industry reports that suggest the mini is a niche product anyway? ?

The same could be said of the Plus models, which could potentially see Apple alternate between Plus and mini to satisfy its customers. There will always be a new iPhone, but there won’t always be a full suite of perfect iPhone models for every user.

And then there’s the iPhone SE, Apple’s discount offering that just happens to be smaller and cheaper than the standard models. The iPhone SE may have an updated A15 Bionic chip inside, but the design is tired and outdated and in desperate need of an overhaul. Could this become the new “smaller iPhone” when the time comes?

Last year’s model and iPhone SE are smaller options

If you want a smaller iPhone, the good news is that you can still buy one. The iPhone 13 mini is still available for sale on Apple’s website (as is the iPhone 13 for that matter). It will cost you $200 less than the new iPhone 14 and has a slightly lower version of the same chip in the latest model.

You’ll also miss an improved camera system (with better low-light performance), Collision Detection which automatically calls emergency services when it detects a car accident, the new Action Mode which stabilizes video while you shoot, and about 20% more battery life thanks to its smaller size.

Instead, you’ll get a smaller 5.4-inch screen and a lighter 1.1oz (31.2g) device. US models of the iPhone 13 mini will still have a SIM card slot (while the iPhone 14 will only be eSIM compatible). If the smaller size is really important to you, the downsides of going with the slightly outdated model aren’t huge and you’ll save $200 by doing so.

Your other option is to go for the third-generation iPhone SE, but that’s a tougher sell. The iPhone 13 mini is smaller, lighter, has a much better camera system, better battery life, and the same A15 Bionic system-on-chip at the helm. Although smaller, the iPhone 13 mini has a larger screen that uses the entire front of the device.

There are other benefits to going with the mini, like the ceramic protective glass, better water resistance, higher base storage capacity, and MagSafe charging and accessories. If you can afford the extra $170 asking price over the $429 Apple is asking for the iPhone SE, you’ll get a more capable device.

iPhone Smaller, Shorter Battery Life

For many smartphone owners, battery life is a major sticking point. More efficient chips and OLED screens help, but the best way to give your iPhone more life is to upgrade to a larger model. The bigger the chassis, the bigger the battery inside.

While a smaller device might sound great in theory, if you can dedicate the pocket space to a larger iPhone, you’ll be able to go longer between charges. That’s not to say there aren’t other reasons to go with the mini, particularly if you have smaller hands or find the larger devices bulky.

If the smaller iPhone was your device of choice and you can stick around for another generation, it’s probably worth waiting at least a year to see what Apple does next. It’s also possible we’ll see a full iPhone SE refresh that ticks the boxes for those looking for a smaller device.

Catch up on all the big news from Apple’s September 2022 event, including Apple’s big plans for emergency satellite communications, the new Apple Watch Ultra and the changing face of the iPhone.

Leave a Comment