After iPhone 13, it’s not looking good for Apple’s iPhone Mini


The iPhone 13 Mini lives.

Screenshot by CNET

This story is part of Apple Event, our full coverage of the latest news from Apple.

Apple unveiled the iPhone 13 Mini at its Tuesday event, giving followers of smaller phones one thing to be enthusiastic about but once more. Similar to its predecessor, the iPhone 13 Mini is a 5.4-inch model of Apple’s flagship iPhone that comes with all the identical options in a smaller design.

Nonetheless, there’s an opportunity the $700 iPhone 13 Mini, which is available for preorder and can be released Sept. 24, may very well be Apple’s final smaller iPhone. Studies counsel that final yr’s iPhone 12 Mini did not promote nicely, and newer rumors point out that Apple could reduce the Mini from 2022’s iPhone 14 lineup.

Learn extra: CNET’s opinions of the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini, and the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max

CNET’s Patrick Holland praised the iPhone 12 Mini for its pocket-friendly design, top-notch cameras and 5G assist — all for $100 lower than the iPhone 12. So what’s the issue? The iPhone 12 Mini felt a little bit misplaced in Apple’s iPhone lineup. Priced at $729 when it debuted in 2020, it was hardly a budget phone, particularly contemplating Apple provides different cheap choices such because the iPhone SE and iPhone 11. And after years of embracing bigger telephones, the worth of a miniature iPhone did not really feel as related as Apple could have hoped. 

Learn extra: Should you upgrade to the iPhone 13? We compare to iPhone 12 through iPhone 7 to find out

iPhone 13 Mini may very well be Apple’s final smaller, premium iPhone

Apple is not planning to introduce an iPhone 14 Mini subsequent yr, in keeping with a July report from Nikkei Asian Review. An April analysis be aware from business analyst Ming-Chi Kuo obtained by MacRumors additionally steered that Apple’s 2022 iPhone lineup would lack a sequel to the Mini. 

Eradicating the iPhone Mini from Apple’s flagship lineup can be comprehensible. Studies from the previous yr have steered that individuals simply aren’t enthusiastic about shopping for it. Apple slashed orders of the iPhone 12 Mini within the first half of 2021 due to weak demand, in keeping with a earlier Nikkei Asian Review report. Counterpoint Analysis reported similar findings earlier this yr, saying that the iPhone 12 Mini solely represented 5% of US gross sales of the iPhone 12 lineup within the first half of January. 

If the iPhone 12 Mini hasn’t been promoting nicely, why would Apple even trouble releasing the iPhone 13 Mini? It is partially as a result of the lead time for smartphone growth is greater than a yr, in keeping with Ben Stanton, a analysis supervisor for analysis agency Canalys. As such, there most likely wasn’t sufficient time for Apple to issue iPhone 12 Mini gross sales information into the event cycle for the iPhone 13 technology. 

Apple additionally would not often make main adjustments to its product lineup so rapidly. It stored the controversial butterfly keyboard in its MacBook laptops for about 5 years earlier than solely switching to the brand new Magic Keyboard, regardless of years of buyer complaints. Not everybody loves the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar, however 5 years later it is nonetheless on Apple’s high-end laptops. 


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Why the iPhone 12 Mini did not catch on

There are two easy causes that might clarify why the iPhone 12 Mini struggled in 2020. For one, Apple faces quite a lot of competitors within its own lineup

Take the iPhone 11 for instance. When Apple launched the iPhone 12 final yr, it reduce the iPhone 11’s value right down to $600, which was $100 lower than the iPhone 12 Mini’s beginning value. Regardless that it is not Apple’s latest iPhone, there are many the explanation why prospects could have been tempted to purchase the iPhone 11 over the iPhone 12 over the previous yr.  

Apple’s 2019 iPhone comes with a 6.1-inch display screen, stable battery life, wonderful cameras and quick efficiency, because it runs on a comparatively current A13 Bionic processor. It lacks 5G connectivity, MagSafe assist and Apple’s extra sturdy Ceramic Defend coating, however in any other case comes with lots of the identical advantages because the iPhone 12 (listed below are all the principle differences between the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12). It is even cheaper now that the iPhone 13 has arrived, bringing the worth right down to $500. 

Learn extra: iPhone 13 vs. 13 Mini vs. 13 Pro vs. 13 Pro Max: A spec-by-spec comparison based on rumors

And for many who need the most affordable iPhone attainable with out making massive efficiency sacrifices, there’s the $399 iPhone SE. It has a compact design much like that of the iPhone 8, that means it is lacking Face ID and Apple’s extra trendy bezel-free design. But it surely’s additionally the only current iPhone with Touch ID, and it nonetheless packs loads of energy for a cellphone of its value and dimension because of its A13 Bionic processor.

In different phrases, there wasn’t actually a spot for the Mini in Apple’s iPhone 12 lineup. It wasn’t fairly low-cost sufficient to be a finances cellphone just like the iPhone SE, and there wasn’t sufficient that set it other than the Telephone 11. 

Apple is taking an analogous strategy this yr by keeping the iPhone 12 in its lineup alongside the iPhone 13. The iPhone 12 Mini now begins at $600, whereas the iPhone 12 begins at $700. Meaning the iPhone 12 is identical value because the iPhone 13 Mini, whereas final yr’s miniature iPhone is $100 cheaper than this yr’s mannequin.

However there is a key motive why the iPhone 13 Mini may even see a greater consequence than its predecessor: provider offers. Apple’s telecom companions are providing aggressive reductions this yr that might make it laborious for iPhone customers to show down the iPhone 13 or its smaller companion. AT&T, for example, is mainly freely giving the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini totally free by providing as much as $700 in reductions, as my colleague Eli Blumenthal points out. And T-Mobile has a pretty iPhone 13 trade-in deal going, too.


Apple’s $599 iPhone 11 remains to be a superb worth in 2021.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The opposite main hurdle to the iPhone 12 Mini’s success was that people simply prefer phones with larger screens. Studies from analytics firm Flurry and Client Intelligence Analysis Companions additionally indicated that the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max was the preferred of Apple’s 2020 Telephone fashions. 

Patrick famous in his iPhone 12 Mini evaluate that some could discover the system’s smaller display screen much less sensible for typing, studying and viewing paperwork — vital duties that many individuals use their telephones for on a regular basis. That smaller dimension additionally meant a smaller battery and due to this fact shorter battery life, a compromise many individuals may not have been prepared to make. Apple clearly understands this, which is why it is prolonged the iPhone 13 Mini’s battery life by an hour-and-a-half in comparison with the iPhone 12 Mini. (The iPhone 13 Mini’s battery life will nonetheless be shorter than the iPhone 13’s, nonetheless.)

Plus, the iPhone 12 Mini’s compact design could have been much less worthwhile throughout a yr when many individuals spent most of their days at residence. Who cares about having a cellphone that is extra moveable while you’re not going wherever? 


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The one time I recurrently battle to make use of my cellphone with one hand is throughout my morning commute since I am often gripping the subway pole. In any other case, a cellphone with a display screen that is 6.1 inches or bigger is often manageable. I additionally think about that having a cellphone with a bigger display screen and longer battery life was notably vital over the past yr contemplating the period of time we have spent on video calls all through 2020.

And eventually, massive smartphones aren’t new, that means most of Apple’s prospects have doubtless tailored to the larger screens. A phone with a 6.1-inch screen was thought-about massive in 2014, however as we speak that is simply the norm. So perhaps you had trepidation in 2014, however as we speak you are used to it and will even need a bigger display screen. 

Learn extra: iPhone Flip rumors: A foldable iPhone probably won’t debut soon

The iPhone 13 Mini and past

Some experiences we have seen across the iPhone 14 up to now point out Apple is planning to concentrate on bigger telephones for its flagship fashions. Apple’s 2022 iPhone household will nonetheless consist of 4 iPhones, in keeping with Nikkei Asian Overview and Kuo. Nonetheless, Apple will reportedly substitute the Mini with one other 6.7-inch variant, that means there’ll doubtless be two variations of the iPhone 14 Professional Max. 

Apple might as an alternative focus its finances smartphone efforts on the iPhone SE. A brand new iPhone SE 3 mannequin with 5G assist, the identical A15 Bionic chip that powers the iPhone 13, and a 4.7-inch LCD display screen might arrive within the first half of 2022, experiences Nikkei Asian Overview.

The iPhone 13 Mini actually has extra going for it than the iPhone 12 Mini did. Carriers are providing compelling reductions that might make it a sexy purchase over cheaper older fashions. Apple has addressed one of many greatest complaints in regards to the iPhone 12 Mini by extending the iPhone 13 Mini’s battery life. And folks would possibly discover extra worth in a compact cellphone now that the COVID-19 vaccine has made it safer to spend much less time at residence in comparison with 2020. Solely time will inform whether or not these adjustments are sufficient to make the iPhone 13 Mini stand out in Apple’s more and more crowded iPhone lineup. | After iPhone 13, it is not wanting good for Apple’s iPhone Mini


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