On September 7, Apple announced the iPhone 14 line-up which includes 4 new phones but the mini model was missing this time. Until 2021, the company’s smartphone line-up introduced upgrades in a set pattern. An iPhone with a 5.4-inch display, the mini, an iPhone with a 6.1 inch, a Pro model with a 6.1 inch display and the Pro Max with a 6.7 inch display.
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This year there was no upgrade to their 5.4 inch iPhone mini. Rather Apple introduced a Plus sized iPhone with a 6.7 inch display at a lower price instead of the Pro model. The absence of mini upgrade shows signs of sunset in the mini segment.
Low sales, a competitive market and rising user sensitivity to prices may have prompted Apple’s shift away from mini to Plus sized phones. The iPhone 12 mini contributed 6.5% in 2020 and 4%of all iPhone sales in 2021 in the U.S., according to data service provider Statista.
The iPhone 13 mini, which is priced at ₹64,900, just ₹5,000 less than the bigger iPhone 13, contributed just 5% of the total iPhone shipments in the first half 2022.
“Consumer interest for low-end and high-end devices is sustaining the market, while the appetite for mid-range devices is vanishing fast,” said Brian Lynch, research analyst at Canalys in a report published in August.
The mini with its smaller form factor at a premium price was ignored while the higher-end iPhone13 Pro and 13 Pro Max saw greater demand. According to data from CRIP (Consumer Research Intelligence Partners) from the March quarter of 2022, the iPhone 13 mini contributed just about 3% of total iPhone 13 sales in the U.S in that quarter.
In the lower end, the SE received a better response compared to the mini. Apple then with the introduction of the iPhone 14 Plus has chosen to expand its target audience rather than focus on trying to expand the market for the mini. The iPhone 14 Plus is aimed at consumers looking to get their hands on a larger display iPhone without having to spend more on the Pro models.
The launch of the iPhone 14 Plus is not the end for the mini models as the iPhone 13 mini continues to be on sale on Apple’s web store. However, for the niche user looking for a performance packed small form factor, there is little choice for upgrade. They can either opt for the SE which has not gone through any major design updates for years or move to the bigger iPhone 14.
So while Apple has made a choice to not upgrade the mini, with the 14 Plus it might just be able to attract a larger consumer base as mobile devices with larger displays have always outperformed small sized phones in terms of sale.
This is based on the trend of smaller sized devices being discontinued by companies to make way to larger display smartphones.
The mini iPhones had till now remained one of the last few small devices with flagship-level specs. And with no word from Apple about any new mini iPhones, it seems the market for smaller smartphones is getting smaller.