There was a time when Apple boasted that their phones could be used completely with one hand. It even got spots with it, like the iPhone 5 in 2012. At that time, the rest of the market had already offered bigger and more cumbersome phones for a few years in exchange for a bigger and bigger screen. We called them phablets.
Now, a decade later, Apple no longer maintains this message. She did until very recently, but she was defeated. The presentation of the new iPhone 14 also marked the end with no sign of the return of the Mini series that followed us until the 12th and 13th generation. Two handsets that have played against the odds in a world of giants, but have certainly not succeeded.
Both had 5.4-inch screens in a world that had long passed the 6-inch average.
Exit Mini Enter Plus
Apple has not just taken them away, it supports the message that we love big screens with the arrival of the new iPhone 14 Plus, an option that gives inches (6.7 in particular) without having to take and pay for it the features of the Pro Max model.
The operation is simple and clear. Mini leaves, Plus arrives.
The reasons given by Apple for not renewing the Mini models are in any case justified. It was a model that seemed to work well, but almost more technicians for the general public only. Proof of this is that, according to CIRP, sales of the 13 Mini accounted for just under 3% of iPhones sold last year. 12 Mini already represented only 8%. Add to that the fact that its battery was short in a world of high demand, and that’s the end of the story.
Although the underlying question is probably how much importance was attached to the fact that their batteries were not as suitable for current use compared to larger models, it is a technological issue in relation to the general preference for screens somewhat larger aesthetically and/or practical.
In the end, size (on the iPhone) seems to matter
We recall a statement made by Mr. Jobs in 2010, a year before his death, in which he claimed that “big phones wouldn’t sell” because he considered them uncomfortable to use with more than one hand.
The undying commitment to ergonomics and comfort was a mantra in the former Apple boss’s life who seemed convinced that he did not want to create intermediate devices between the iPhone and his new tablet. A decision that has not left the company and which has given rise to an almost dialectical battle between compact phones and large phones, as evidenced by the ad for the iPhone 5 we talked about at the beginning. Everything could be done with the thumb, and this was their offer at the time:
Rumors of the Mini’s demise have been circulating almost since its launch in 2020. In early 2021, reports began to emerge that Apple had grossly overestimated the demand for this phone and had to drastically cut production, and it was only a single digit percentage of all iPhone sales.
Maybe it’s because most people just want cheap phones with big screens. Phones with screens between 5 and 5.5 inches are estimated to account for about 13.5% of devices shipped by manufacturers in 2022. Phones with screens larger than 6 inches, on the other hand, have accounted for 40% of shipments. Data from Statistics also shows that in recent years fewer and fewer small phones have been sold, while large phones have increased.
Yes, the Mini had its drawbacks. Although battery capacity increased by 9% with the Model 13, this phone was never able to last a full day of heavy use. And if it was able to match the functionality of its larger counterpart, it’s hard to imagine that Apple could have made a Pro version that was practical.
The lost world of compact mobiles
Still, it was a great option for those who weren’t bothered by these inconveniences (or who didn’t mind carrying a little more gear around in stacks the few times they needed it). And that’s the real magic of the Mini: it fills (or fills, I guess) a niche that has been all but abandoned by other manufacturers.
There are some great Android phones out there today with a small screen, but they’re not minis, a model that inherited the design philosophy of the early iPhones. The Asus Zenfone 9 has a 5.9-inch display and the Pixel 6A has a 6.1-inch display.
But The Mini’s 5.4-inch screen was smaller. Today, the iPhone SE, which measures 4.7 inches but has a larger handset, is Apple’s most contained device. Also the differences in functions where the Mini model promised the most are there. Now, with the SE alone, compact at Apple is synonymous with affordable.
Smartphones with a large screen were introduced 10 years ago by Asian manufacturers. because in regions like Asia and Africa, the smartphone was the main means of accessing the Internet. In the absence of computers and of course tablets, a small mobile screen was the best fit.
According to Unit atlas which compiles statistics by device, the countries where smartphones larger than 5.7 inches are most common are Malaysia, Egypt and Russia. The same is true for 5.5-inch devices in India and Nigeria, where it is reported that ‘this is the main form of internet access for many people’. It must be remembered that when it comes to cutting down on items for the sake of economy, a cell phone is essential compared to a laptop and certainly a tablet.
This need has also become a basic need for the rest of the areas. And along the way he took the iPhone Mini with him.