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It’s no big secret that sales of the diminutive iPhone 12 mini have been disappointing, to say the least. This has led to speculation and rumours of its impending cancellation, and now it’s looking like there could be some truth to those reports.
To be fair, there are some pretty good reasons why the iPhone 12 mini hasn’t been popular, from bad timing on Apple’s part to a global health pandemic that’s limited hands-on exposure to the smaller 5.4-inch device. None of this changes the fact, however, that while the rest of Apple’s iPhone 12 lineup continues to break sales records, the iPhone 12 mini doesn’t even make the list.
This has led to Apple heavily slashing iPhone 12 mini production, and even the possibility that it could have to make a payout to Samsung for failing to purchase the amount of 5.4-inch OLED screens that it had originally committed to.
Still, it’s not like the iPhone 12 mini hasn’t been selling at all. Most analysts estimate that it makes up around 5 percent of Apple’s global iPhone sales, which is no small amount when you consider that the company sold over 200 million iPhones last year.
The fact that the iPhone 12 mini came as a surprise, only six months after the iPhone SE arrived, and a month after the 6.1-inch version, likely didn’t help sales. This makes it hard to count the iPhone 12 mini out quite yet.
So, it’s not all that surprising that Apple reportedly plans to stick with the same four-model lineup for this year’s “iPhone 13,” but now it looks like it may simply be giving the 5.4-inch model one more chance to prove itself, with plans to pull the plug for the 2022 “iPhone 14” lineup.
Less Mini, More Max
According to a new report today from the venerable Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is already making plans to drop the 5.4-inch version for next year’s iPhone lineup.
Instead, Kuo says, Apple will shift the standard iPhone lineup to the same sizes as the Pro models, meaning that we’ll likely see a 6.1-inch “iPhone 14” and a 6.7-inch “iPhone 14 Max.”
Of course, the actual names and final sizes might differ, as it’s too early to know if Apple plans to stick with the squared-edge iPhone 12 design into 2022, so a new design may result in slightly different screen sizes as well. Regardless of the actual sizes, however, the idea is that there will only be two sizes of iPhone, and both will be available in standard and Pro versions.
What’s not entirely clear from Kuo’s investor note, however, is whether this is Apple’s final answer. It’s conceivably possible that the “iPhone 13 mini” could end up selling well enough to cause Apple to rethink its decision for next year’s lineup.
However, it’s also pretty easy to see the advantage for Apple in unifying its sizes. This year’s 6.1-inch iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro shared many similarities, with an almost identical physical design and lots of common components — even the displays were interchangeable between both models. This also likely explains why Apple was able to release both 6.1-inch iPhone models together in October, while making us wait until November to get our hands on the 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch versions.
Even if Apple does decide to retire the iPhone mini from the lineup, fans of smaller iPhones can still hope that it may not spell the last word for the 5.4-inch form factor. Since Apple’s iPhone SE lineup has traditionally borrowed older designs, there’s always the possibility that history could repeat itself, and today’s iPhone 12 mini could become the 2023 iPhone SE with an A16 chip, in much the same way that the 2020 iPhone SE was an upgraded 2017 iPhone 8 and the original 2016 iPhone SE breathed new life into the 2013 iPhone 5s.