A love letter for iPhone mini

iPhone 13 miniSource: Joe Wituschek / iMore

I remember when I first picked up the iPhone 13 mini. I was coming from an iPhone 12 Pro and had snapped a shot of the “world’s smallest 5G phone” as Apple described it.

I remember my first thought was, “Wow, this thing is so small. I’m missing the telephoto lens. I’m worried about battery life. Not sure if this will work.” Within a week, I fell in love with Apple’s small iPhone and didn’t miss the slightly larger iPhone. It finally felt like a full-fledged iPhone that could fit comfortably in your pocket. Using it is also a pleasure β€” compared to the larger iPhones, it’s incredibly light and takes you back to a world that you can really use with one hand. It injects the best features of the present into the best form factor of the past.

Since then, I’ve been hoping the company will continue to realize it has something special in a small “flagship” iPhone, but reports have surfaced that Apple decided to fail its little iPhone experiment.

The iPhone mini isn’t a failure β€” it’s a beloved phone that hasn’t made it into the hands of enough potential customers to make its case yet.

People love small iPhones – they just forget

One of the things (actually the biggest thing) that many point to when rejecting the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 13 mini are sales metrics, and that’s a valid argument at first glance. Despite the iPhone 12 mini being heavily marketed as the “world’s smallest 5G phone,” it didn’t make up a huge chunk of sales when compared to Apple’s larger iPhone 12 models.

That hasn’t changed with the iPhone 13 mini, though Apple fixed one of the biggest issues with the tiny iPhone: battery life. Admittedly, battery life was annoying with the iPhone 12 mini, even for “normal” users. Apple increased the battery life of the iPhone 13 mini in hours, which practically resulted in a perfect small iPhone. However, the iPhone 13 mini made up a small portion of the sales when compared to the larger iPhones.

So why does the small iPhone constitute such small sales? I think this picture is more than just “people like big screens”. This is another argument many reject against the viability of a smaller “flagship” iPhone – people simply moved and, with larger screens available, everyone looked at their smaller iPhone with disdain, switched to a larger phone, and completely refused to count. I don’t think it’s that simple – I think people have just forgotten how cool a tiny iPhone is because they haven’t had the option for so long.

iPhone 13 mini

Source: Joe Wituschek / iMore

You should feel the benefit of a drastic change in the size of the phone in your hand; It can’t feel like placing an order online. This has put the small iPhone at a disadvantage since the two phones were launched during a pandemic that made going to the store to shop for the new iPhone less likely. If you couldn’t try something before making such a drastic switch, you’d probably be less inclined to try it, right? However, there is a small test group that got this opportunity and became ardent advocates of a small iPhone: tech journalists and content makers.

This is a group that wouldn’t initially expect to abandon their iPhone Pro model in favor of a smaller model, right? They are ‘professional’ so they would probably choose the pro iPhone, right? They want the best that the iPhone has to offer: bigger screens, a higher refresh rate, more and better cameras, and better battery life. However, many of those who are usually associated with ardent iPhone Pro Max users, having had the opportunity to test the iPhone mini, abandoned their iPhone Pro model in favor of the small iPhone.

Herein lies my point. iPhone mini sales are still small because most people have never had the chance to just hold one in their hand and fall in love with the practicality of the iPhone mini again.

Is the mini reincarnated?

Now, while there are a small (but growing!) number of us pleading with Apple to keep the iPhone mini alive, more and more rumors and leaks are pointing to the death of our beloved little iPhone as soon as this year. Multiple renderings have shown that, for the iPhone 14 models, the company will abandon the idea of ​​the iPhone 14 mini and instead go for a regular iPhone with a larger screen. This might result in an assortment that looks something like this:

  • iPhone 14 (6.1 inch)
  • iPhone 14 Max (6.7 inch)
  • iPhone 14 Pro (6.1 inch)
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max (6.7 inch)

If the iPhone 14 mini is already dead and never coming back as part of the “flagship” iPhone lineup, does that mean our desires for the tiny iPhone are gone forever? Probably not, as there is still a regularly updated iPhone in the lineup that is a perfect candidate to take over the small but powerful iPhone position: the iPhone SE.

When Apple unveiled the new iPhone SE at its March event earlier this month, many were hoping for a redesign that we’ve known since the iPhone 6. While the phone is undoubtedly a great value for the price it now also packs itself in. A chip like the iPhone 13 and 5G lineup, better durability, and better camera features because of the processor, many had been hoping for that “edge-to-edge” screen that’s grown we’ve come to expect from any iPhone since the iPhone X.

iPhone 13 mini

Source: Joe Wituschek / iMore

This is where the iPhone mini can continue to live, but it will require additional sacrifices than we’ve come to expect from iPhone SE features and price. If Apple is going to bring the iPhone mini design, with its edge-to-edge display and smaller footprint, to a price point close to the iPhone SE, that will mean sacrifices in other areas. We will most likely need to lose:

  • Face ID for Touch ID built into the power button
  • Ultra-wide rear camera in favor of a single wide camera
  • MagSafe Charging for Qi Wireless Charging
  • mmWave 5G in favor of sub-6Hz 5G
  • $429 for iPhone SE

Merging iPhone SE technology with iPhone mini design and form factor, while certainly a trade-off for both sides in terms of cost and features, may be the perfect marriage for those looking for a small iPhone that gives them everything they need but ignores the things they can live without.

Until next time my friend

While this theoretical pairing of the iPhone SE and iPhone mini sounds great in my head, there’s of course no guarantee that Apple will go that route. The iPhone SE could take in Apple’s newer design spirit, but instead of jumping all the way into the iPhone 12 era, it took the iPhone X form factor during the iPhone 11 era with its larger size and curved corners.

So, until Apple actually announces the next generation iPhone SE, it’s more and more likely that we iPhone mini fans will be stuck in this world where, if we want the latest and greatest iPhone has to offer, it will mean saying goodbye to the beloved small iPhone and back to the big phone world. .

While some will hold up as long as possible with their iPhone mini, I’m sure many will reluctantly give up their small phones in favor of the new features they’ll take advantage of. And at this point, all the big phone advocates will claim victory and declare that small phones are a thing of the past.

Until the new iPhone SE is announced, which is likely to be one of the best iPhones, we hope.