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Why Apple dropped the iPhone mini and took up iPhone 14 Plus instead – The Indian Express

While watching the live telecast of Apple’s Far Out event, I could already predict what was about to come. Once again, Apple shook up the iPhone lineup with the iPhone 14 and clearly, the Pro series got maximum drool-worthy features. As I was expecting, Cupertino dropped the iPhone mini from its lineup in favour of a 6.7-inch ‘Plus’ model—not a Pro model but rather a premium mid-range offering with a starting price of Rs 89,900.
Of course, I was disappointed as there was no iPhone mini model in Apple’s iPhone 14 series. As a tech writer, and someone who has covered this sector for a very long time, I wondered what made Apple kill the 5.4-inch iPhone mini after two iterations and jump straight to a 6.7-inch device. Apple never tried to address the reasons behind its decision during the eagerly-watched event, but it is apparent that last year’s iPhone 13 mini has had a low sale share in the iPhone 13 series. Its predecessor, the iPhone 12 mini, too saw low sales.
Market research firm Canalys reports that the iPhone 13 mini had a tiny share of 5 per cent in total iPhone shipments in H1 2022. In comparison, the iPhone 13 had a 42 per cent share and the top-end iPhone 13 Pro Max had a 15 per cent share. And, the iPhone SE 3 had a 12 per cent share, far more than the iPhone 13 mini. The iPhone mini has always been a niche device, but then one like the iPhone Pro Max is expensive but still sells in millions.
I don’t think that when the iPhone mini was conceptualised internally, Apple wasn’t aware of consumers’ preference for big-screen devices. For a very long time, as back as the iPhone 6 Plus, Apple realised that large-screen-sized smartphones appeal to a large section of users. Apple has always had an idea about the numbers the iPhone mini would end up doing, but despite a small user base, the company did try to address that consumer segment which is not comfortable using big-screen smartphones. A company like Apple wouldn’t get into a segment which has no users or where there is no profit to be made.
The problem isn’t that Apple doesn’t want to target people who have an affinity for smaller phones. The iPhone SE 3 is the perfect example. It may lack premium design and features but it is still a compact smartphone at heart. No wonder the third-generation iPhone SE was the second-most shipped smartphone in North America in Q2 2022, according to Canalys. That means there is a demand for compact smartphones but then those users don’t want to pay $699 for a mini-sized phone even if it has a better design and cameras. At $429, the iPhone SE 3 is a hit ‘small’ smartphone despite having a tad boring design.
The iPhone mini was a sweet experiment, and Apple did listen to people who wanted a premium, small phone. I wish Apple had continued with the iPhone mini this year, but in the face of fierce competition and higher prices of components, dropping that series from the lineup seemed like a logical decision. One needs to accept that demand for big-screen smartphones has grown rapidly and every player has benefited, including Apple.
However, unlike Samsung and Oppo, Apple had no big-screen smartphone in the premium mid-tier segment until the iPhone 14 Plus. The user base in this segment is dominated by consumers who can’t afford the iPhone Pro Max but still want a device with a gigantic display and long battery life. Loyal customers will want to upgrade to the latest iPhone 14 Plus and Apple sees big opportunities in markets like China and India, where the company is expecting a flood of new customers to jump to a 6.7-inch phone. Adding the iPhone 14 Plus to the lineup is a calculated choice. To understand why Apple is such a huge and profitable company, one really has to look at how Cupertino sees the micro-segments.
The iPhone mini 13 was always about ‘sentiments’ but the iPhone 14 Plus will be important to Apple’s bottom line. With the iPhone 14 Plus starting at $899, Apple has managed to raise the average price of the iPhones it sells—likely because customers are opting for models with bigger screens or better batteries.
The discontinuation of the ‘mini’ form factor wasn’t a shocker for me as I was already prepared for it. But as a fan, I wish to see the iPhone mini being resurrected soon.
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Anuj BhatiaAnuj Bhatia is a writer at The Indian Express, where he works on stori… read more

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