If one is to believe most of the rumors about the next iPhones, Apple may have said goodbye to the “Mini” version of their lineup. With users having the choice between large and large, one can not help but wonder if some consumers have simply fallen through.
Huge phones seem to be in vogue these days. Over the past decade, we have seen a steady increase in the average screen size of a smartphone. If you were to take the first iPhone (which in itself had an abnormally large screen at the time) and compare it to current industry standards, the former would be overshadowed by even today’s smallest headsets. But is a big screen really a good thing? For many, the answer would be a definite “yes”. But there are still some, including myself, who do not understand our obsession with size.
Now would be the perfect time for a little warning. The majority of this article is based on my personal opinion and experience with smartphones that are larger than average. I do not go for small screens. I’m just trying to explain that they have some benefits, and there are still users out there who would choose a small screen if it were not for the expense of other compromises.
The omission of an iPhone 14 Mini also does not necessarily mean that small phones will die in the long run. However, this indicates a clear trend. And precisely this trend I would like to discuss.
What do I mean by that? If you take a look at the iPhone 13 sales figures, it becomes clear that large screens are selling well. Very good, actually. For the iPhone 14, Apple planned to introduce a cheaper non-Pro version of the Max line. One can only wonder how this decision will play out in the long run. Nevertheless, it is clear that Apple is increasingly targeting fans of large screens and larger smartphones.
First, people underestimate how invaluable portability is. The main reason we spend a disproportionate amount of time on our smartphones compared to conventional screens is that the former is always within reach. In general, you do not have to think about how you can take your smartphone with you – just put it in your pocket. Well, it’s getting heavier and heavier. Especially considering that having a smartphone in your pocket usually means you have to choose some kind of protective cover. The extra bulk combined with the ever-blowing screen size means it’s getting harder and harder to have your device with you all the time – the pockets just do not cut it anymore.
In light of that, it makes perfect sense that foldable devices with the Galaxy Flip and Motorola Razr lineup form factor would sell significantly better than their larger counterparts. This is largely due to price differences, but the trend also indicates that at least some users appreciate how easy it is to take their phone with them without having to worry about what you want to do with some when not in use. . .
This is a concern that many seem to overlook, in my experience. I’m guessing that the vast majority of tech reviewers fall into the “people with big hands” category, which is why very few of them consider how difficult it is for someone with small hands to handle a device like the Galaxy Note or iPhone Pro Max. For once, I have very small hands and I can speak from experience. It is not a pleasant experience to have a large telephone that you can hardly get hold of as a daily driver. Not only are some parts of the screen almost impossible to reach, but you also have to get used to dropping your big, expensive phone. Things get even more fun when you are in bed and your phone falls right in your face.
Practical experience of iPhone 13 Mini.
Going back to my personal experience, I owned a Galaxy Note 4 at the time I upgraded to from an iPhone 5s. I ended up selling the note after 6 months. Although this is a great smartphone, I just could not accept having to deal with muscle pain just to be able to use my smartphone.
Large screens are not always necessary
It is quite true that most average users are primarily dependent on their smartphones for content consumption and the majority of their daily technology applications (i.e. social media, work-related activities, etc.). This is often the main reason for the increase in screen size. It really makes a difference whether you are watching a movie on a 5-inch screen or a 7-inch screen. The same goes for intensive productivity tasks.
However, there are still some (including myself) who use their smartphone along with a handful of other devices, without the former being the first gadget I use. When you have a 10+ inch dedicated tablet, it does not make sense to consume media on your smartphone (even if it has a 7 inch screen).
Therefore, for me (and I suppose other people), the smartphone serves a specific set of purposes, none of which require a giant screen. If I have to do something that would be better done on a larger screen than my smartphone, a 5.5 inch is good enough to get the job done.
Compromises are not always ideal
Ok, point (s) taken. If you are a user who has experienced some of what I have explained, it has become clear that bigger is actually not necessarily better. The problem is that even if you are well aware of the limitations of a larger screen, the options available to you as a consumer are not ideal.
Usually smaller phones are compromised in at least one of these departments – processing power, screen quality and build quality. I have no plans to reduce battery life, because it’s something small phone users have to accept – small phone, small (smaller) battery.
The thing is, some people do not want their smartphones to have a weird screen, a year old chipset or a plastic backing. In connection with these compromises, some will prefer to have to deal with the larger screen.
Why the iPhone Mini is special
That’s why I appreciate the iPhone Mini so much. Apple offers you a smaller inferior phone, but it is not necessary. You get the same amazing performance as the A15 chip, flawless build quality and materials and a beautiful screen (even if it is smaller).
Even the Mini’s camera produced respectable quality images, on par with larger iPhones. It would be difficult to find a phone of the same size with a better camera.
So the Mini, while not for everyone, fills a very important niche. And that makes it much more elegant than previously scaled-down iPhones (such as the C or SE series). Therefore, I hope for once that the Mini just skips a generation and is not completely abandoned.
Here is to hope
Apple has managed to stay reasonable for so long when it comes to responding to the market push for larger smartphones. Yes, iPhones have gotten bigger over the years, but they are almost always smaller than their respective Android counterparts.
Android smartphones are a kind of lost cause for me in this department. I sincerely doubt that a major phone maker would come up with the idea of making a small Android smartphone what is left for someone who is really good.
There is good reason to believe that this is not the end of the Mini. This year, the little gem is not getting the love it deserves, but next year may be different. Apple has so far shown that they understand the benefits of size at both ends of the spectrum. Hope they do not forget it.