iPhone 14 means the end of the mini – but Apple needs a better little phone
When Apple unveils the iPhone 14 lineup in a week and a half – the company has set a September 7 date for its next product launch – we expect to welcome four new models to the iPhone lineup. But it also marks the end of the road for a particular type of iPhone.
September’s Apple event is sure to mark the end of the mini, first introduced as part of the iPhone 12 lineup two years ago. And if Apple’s phone sales reports are any indication – remember that the company doesn’t break down its sales by device – few people are going to shed too many tears at the end of the mini.
People love bigger phones these days because we spend more time on our mobile device doing the kinds of things we’d rather manage on a laptop or desktop screen. Having more screen real estate in the palm of your hand lets you tackle these tasks better.
And if the rumors about Apple’s iPhone 14 plans are accurate, the company seems to have gotten that message. In addition to the standard 6.1-inch iPhone 14 and the usual pair of iPhone 14 Pro models, Apple’s fourth new handset this fall will likely be the iPhone 14 Max, a more affordable version of the Apple phone. 6.7 inches.
What is a small phone fan for?
For the dwindling number of small-screen phone fans, there aren’t many alternatives to the iPhone 14 mini that don’t involve settling for a discounted iPhone 13 mini or upgrading to a compact android device. And I think that’s a shame – bigger phones might be all the rage these days, but I still think there’s a market for a compact iPhone at the right price.
As good as the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 13 mini were – and Tom’s Guide ranked these devices very high among the best iPhones – I think Apple missed the mark in one area. At $699, the price of the current mini may have been too close to the $799 iPhone 13 to convince people they were getting a bargain.
Admittedly, the main appeal of small phones is that the device is easy to use with one hand and to store in a pocket – certainly easier than your typical phablet. But I think people also expect smaller phones to cost less than their big-screen siblings. Whether that’s a reasonable expectation or not is up for debate, but there’s certainly a psychological component to paying much less for less phone.
The iPhone SE was meant to fill that role, and the original model released in 2016 lived up to the text. This phone was both compact and inexpensive, and it helped Apple capture a segment of the bargain-hunting phone market traditionally put off by the company’s reputation for high-end devices. of range.
But I don’t feel the same kind of excitement or the current iPhone SE 2022 model, and it’s not hard to see why. Unlike the original SE which reflected a somewhat contemporary iPhone design, the current SE sports a look Apple last used on its flagship phones with 2017’s iPhone 8, big bezels and all. It just seems out of place these days, when displays stretch almost to the edge of your handset.
What Apple does next
If Apple wanted to try its luck in the small phone market – a big “if” given the likely fate of the mini – I think it would have more success if it adapted the iPhone mini design to an available device. on an iPhone SE the price. That would mean downscaling in other ways – ditching the ultra-wide-angle lens and possibly replacing the OLED panel with an LCD – but those are trade-offs smaller phone buyers would be willing to make if that meant a compact and affordable device.
Would Apple take such a step? Probably not. While most Apple phone rumors these days are laser-locked on the upcoming iPhone 14, there was a bit of a stir earlier this year about an iPhone SE Plus in the works at Apple. . This phone wasn’t expected until 2023, and given the current lack of buzz about it, it’s probably a safe bet.
But as the “Plus” would imply, you’ll be getting a bigger phone than the 4.7-inch iPhone SE 2022. Some reports suggest the Plus model will feature a 5.5-inch display, which would make sense if Apple kept the iPhone 8 design. (The iPhone 8 Plus offered a 5.5-inch display.) Still, others have suggested that Apple may be moving to a 6.1-inch panel, given the public’s apparent disdain for smaller screens. .
I’m not sure I’ll buy the 6.1-inch report, given that Apple would need to differentiate such a device from the standard iPhone 14. Then again, I’m also not sure the iPhone SE Plus is a viable rumor to start with.
What I do know is that there is an audience for reasonably priced compact phones. It’s up to Apple to determine if this market is worth pursuing.