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Low sales, a competitive market and increasing price sensitivity of users may have prompted Apple to move from mini phones to Plus phones.
On September 7, Apple announced the iPhone 14 series, which includes 4 new phones, but the mini model was missing this time. Until 2021, the company’s smartphone lineup has been rolling out upgrades in a set pattern. 5.4-inch iPhone mini, 6.1-inch iPhone, 6.1-inch Pro model and 6.7-inch Pro Max.
There was no upgrade to their 5.4-inch iPhone mini this year. Rather, Apple introduced the iPhone Plus size with a 6.7-inch display at a lower price point instead of the Pro model. The lack of a mini upgrade shows signs of sunset in the mini segment.
Low sales, a competitive market and increasing price sensitivity of users may have prompted Apple to move from mini phones to Plus phones. According to data service provider Statista, the iPhone 12 mini contributed 6.5% in 2020 and 4% of all iPhone sales in 2021 in the US.
Priced at ₹64,900, just ₹5,000 less than the larger iPhone 13, the iPhone 13 mini contributed just 5% of total iPhone shipments in the first half of 2022.
“Consumer interest in low-end and high-end devices is sustaining the market, while interest in mid-range devices is quickly fading,” Canalys research analyst Brian Lynch said in a report published in August.
The premium-priced smaller form factor Mini was ignored, while the higher-end iPhone13 Pro and 13 Pro Max saw more demand. According to CRIP (Consumer Research Intelligence Partners) data from the March quarter of 2022, the iPhone 13 mini contributed only about 3% of total iPhone 13 sales in the US in that quarter.
At the bottom end, the SE got better response than the mini. Apple then decided to expand its target audience with the introduction of the iPhone 14 Plus rather than focusing on trying to expand the mini market. The iPhone 14 Plus is aimed at consumers who want to get an iPhone with a larger display without spending more on the Pro models.
The launch of the iPhone 14 Plus does not end with mini models, as the iPhone 13 mini is still on sale on Apple’s online store. However, for dedicated users looking for a performance-packed small form factor, there are few upgrade options. They can either opt for the SE, which hasn’t had any major design updates in years, or upgrade to the larger iPhone 14.
So while Apple chose not to upgrade the mini, with the 14 Plus it might be able to attract a larger consumer base, as mobile devices with larger displays have always outperformed small phones in terms of sales.
This is based on the trend of companies to stop producing smaller sized devices to give way to smartphones with larger displays.
Until now, mini iPhones have remained one of the last small devices with flagship-level specifications. And with Apple not saying anything about any new mini iPhones, the market for smaller smartphones seems to be shrinking.