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Although we still remain firmly convinced that Apple’s 5.4-inch iPhone will turn out to be a late bloomer, so far the iPhone 12 mini still hasn’t seen nearly the same uptake as other models, and several supply chain sources this week have revealed that Apple has been shifting its production away from the smaller iPhone to focus on its Pro models, which are also turning out to be much more popular than originally anticipated.
There are many reasons why the iPhone 12 mini hasn’t been as popular as expected, not the least of which is simply the fact that Apple chose to release it in November, missing the “super cycle” of demand for new 5G iPhone models.
Only those who were absolutely convinced that the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 was too big would have bothered waiting for the iPhone 12 mini, however we suspect this would have gone down differently if customers had been able to pick them both up for a side-by-side comparison.
On the other hand, Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro lineup is turning out to be much more popular this year than anybody previously expected, and of course, the lack of a “Pro” model in the 5.4-inch size would also be cutting into sales, and we’re seeing ample evidence to support that.
Specifically, DigiTimes has what’s only the latest entry in a series of supply chain reports that have revealed that Apple has told Foxconn and others to cut production of the iPhone 12 mini and instead increase the manufacturing capacity for the iPhone 12 Pro.
In this case, however, the report puts most of the blame for lagging iPhone 12 mini sales right at the foot of the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that it’s slowed down the smartphone market overall in the two key areas where the smaller iPhone had hoped to gain the most ground: the U.S. and Europe.
Meanwhile, China, which for the most part is not nearly as locked down as the western world, has been seeing increasingly strong demand for both iPhone 12 Pro models, which isn’t entirely surprising as the East Asian market has always leaned toward larger smartphones in the first place.
In fact, demand for the iPhone 12 Pro is so high that DigiTimes reveals it’s significantly cutting into Huawei’s bottom line in China for the first time in years, leaving Apple poised to become a dominant player in that market.
Huawei, the largest smartphone brand in China, has seen its smartphone sales being bitten off by Apple’s Pro series products in the past few months with Apple now the second largest 5G handset brand globally, behind only Huawei, the sources said.DigiTimes
An Unusual Year
The pent-up demand for Apple’s 5G iPhone is likely also a contributing factor in the popularity of the iPhone 12 Pro models. Since most iPhone customers operate on a minimum two-year upgrade cycle, there’s a good chance that many higher-end buyers skipped the iPhone 11 Pro last year, anticipating the coming 5G-capable iPhone, and of course early adopters of 5G are also more likely to be those looking toward the iPhone 12 Pro.
Meanwhile, the iPhone 12 mini and even the standard 6.1-inch iPhone 12 have entered a market that’s already been saturated by the iPhone XR, iPhone 11, and 2020 iPhone SE, and users looking for the most affordable iPhones are also less likely to upgrade as frequently, especially with the uncertainty presented by the current global health crisis.
That would have made the iPhone 12 mini a hard sell for many users, since the smaller size isn’t necessarily enough to justify the upgrade for somebody who is already toting an iPhone 11 or an iPhone SE.
That said, the iPhone 12 mini still managed to capture six percent of overall iPhone sales, and although that doesn’t sound like much, based on the trends we’ve seen with Apple’s prior iPhone SE models, there’s a pretty good chance that many iPhone 12 mini sales came from users who wouldn’t have purchased an iPhone 12 at all if not for the smaller version.