CNET’s Patrick Holland praised the iPhone 12 Mini for its pocket-friendly design, top-notch cameras and 5G support, all for $100 less than the iPhone 12. So what’s the problem? The iPhone 12 Mini feels a little lost in Apple’s iPhone lineup. At $700 it’s hardly a budget phone, especially considering Apple offers other inexpensive options like the iPhone SE and iPhone 11. And after years of embracing larger-sized smartphones, the value of a miniature iPhone doesn’t feel as relevant in 2021.
If you prefer smaller phones, you have something to look forward to this month when Apple is expected to launch an iPhone 13 Mini as part of its iPhone 13 lineup. But don’t get too excited about future Mini models. Reports suggest the iPhone 13 Mini could be Apple’s last pint-sized flagship iPhone, following disappointing sales of the iPhone 12 Mini.
Read more: Should you still buy an iPhone 12 or an iPhone 11 in 2021? What about the iPhone SE?
Removing the iPhone Mini from Apple’s flagship lineup would be understandable. Reports from the past year have suggested that people just aren’t interested in buying it. Apple slashed orders of the iPhone 12 Mini in the first half of 2021 because of weak demand, according to a previous Nikkei Asian Review report. Counterpoint Research reported similar findings earlier this year, saying that the iPhone 12 Mini only represented 5% of US sales of the iPhone 12 lineup in the first half of January.
iPhone 13 Mini could be Apple’s last smaller, premium iPhone
Apple isn’t planning to introduce an iPhone 14 Mini next year, according to a July report from Nikkei Asian Review. An April research note from industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo obtained by MacRumors also suggested that Apple’s 2022 iPhone lineup would lack a sequel to the Mini.
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If the iPhone 12 Mini hasn’t been selling well, why would Apple even bother releasing the iPhone 13 Mini? It’s partially because the lead time for smartphone development is more than a year, according to Ben Stanton, a research manager for research firm Canalys. As such, there probably wasn’t enough time for Apple to factor iPhone 12 Mini sales data into the development cycle for the iPhone 13 generation.
Apple also doesn’t usually make major changes to its product lineup so quickly. It kept the controversial butterfly keyboard in its MacBook laptops for about five years before entirely switching to the new Magic Keyboard, despite years of customer complaints. Not everyone loves the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar, but five years later it’s still found on Apple’s high-end laptops.