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RIP iPhone Mini, may you be resurrected soon

Black iPhone 12 mini standing upright
(Image credit: Future)

Apple has always championed the small phone. Even when the competing Android phone makers were making their base models bigger, Apple kept the iPhone small. After the success of the iPhone SE, Apple added a mini model to its main lineup of iPhones, starting with the iPhone 12 mini. We also got an iPhone 13 mini, cementing the idea that the iPhone mini was here to stay.

However, with the iPhone 14 series launch getting closer, rumors are strongly saying that Apple will not release an iPhone 14 mini, but instead an iPhone 14 Plus or Max instead. Is this the death of the iPhone mini? Or will it live to see another day?

The iPhone Mini is dead, long live the iPhone Mini

iPhone 13 And Mini Dark And Light Hero

(Image credit: Joseph Keller / iMore)

The iPhone mini was arguably one of the most hyped models in recent years. Ever since folks like me used the first iPhone SE, which coexisted with the bigger models, we wanted a flagship-tier iPhone in a small size, and Apple delivered. The iPhone 12 Mini was perfect, and it was even positioned as the lowered entry point into the iPhone 12 series.

Apple actually near-perfected the mini with the 13 mini, improving upon the battery life. The smaller notch helped too. As someone who has owned both the 12 mini and the 13 mini, the latter was a major upgrade. the 14 mini could've been the perfect small phone if Apple could make similar improvements, but it seems more and more likely that it won't come to exist.

When Apple kills a product, we're often left in the dark about the exact reasons, but we can speculate about why Apple may be pulling the plug on this little powerhouse.

Why won't the iPhone 14 series not have a Mini model?

iPhone 14 Pro render

(Image credit: Ian Zelbo)

There have been a lot of potential reasons attached to the rumors of Apple killing the iPhone mini. Initially, there were multiple reports about the sales figures for iPhone 12 mini and 13 mini models. Despite the apparently disappointing sales of the 12 Mini, Apple went ahead with the 13 mini. 

The 13 mini has had a low share in the 13 series sales too, which could be a reason why Apple's pulling the plug on the model with the next series. A newer report had also confirmed that Apple was killing the mini for sure while mentioning that it was keeping the new chip for the Pro models. 

Apple also likes to shake things up a little now and then. So it makes sense that the company is making a cheaper big phone, which may be called the iPhone 14 Plus. Given the popularity of big phones, this seems like a no-brainer. What hurts though, is that it's coming at the cost of our precious iPhone mini.

Are small iPhones dead?

Apple iPhone 13 Mini in hand with Safari browser open

(Image credit: Joseph Keller / iMore)

Likely not. There are a lot of things to consider here. First off, the newer report from 9to5Mac confirming the death of the iPhone mini also said that Apple is keeping the new chips for the Pro models. This could mean that Apple has decided to pause the mini lineup since it wouldn't be much different from the 13 Mini and also will likely not sell enough.

So fingers crossed that this shift in approach will see Apple releasing a new mini once every few years rather than every year. It would make sense to keep a low-volume model on a two or three-year refresh cycle.

Alternatively, it's possible that the next mini could arrive as the iPhone SE. Apple has the SE lineup, which it has been giving iterative updates semi-regularly. Now that the iPhone 8 design is way too old, and we'll have three iterations of the notch (if the pill-shaped cutout is real), it would make sense that Apple bumps up the next SE to carry the iPhone mini design.

The iPhone SE is supposed to be a lowered entry point into Apple's phones anyway, and the iPhone mini would fit there well, with the obvious compromises it carries matching a lower price.

Regardless, it might be too early to give up on the iPhone mini, even if it doesn't launch at the September 7 event. Apple is likely trying to lower its R&D and manufacturing costs for a low-volume model, and a new iPhone mini may still see the light of the day eventually, if not soon.

In the meantime, the iPhone 13 mini is plenty good and should be the best iPhone for small phone enthusiasts like me.

Palash Volvoikar
Contributor

Palash has been a technology and entertainment journalist since 2013. Starting with Android news and features, he has also worked as the news head for Wiki of Thrones, and a freelance writer for Windows Central, Observer, MakeUseOf, MySmartPrice, ThinkComputers, and others. He also worked as a writer and journalist for Android Authority, covering computing, before returning to freelancing all over town.