I don’t come here to bury the iPhone mini but to praise it. If the reports are true, the iPhone 13 mini will be the last in its lineup, being replaced by a larger iPhone 14 Max this fall. And as someone who owns and loves an iPhone 13 mini, that makes me sad.
It seems there aren’t enough people who share my love for the iPhone 13 mini for Apple to update it for the iPhone 14 generation. Regardless: the iPhone 13 mini is a great device. So great, in fact, that I suspect we haven’t seen the end of his design yet.
To the glory of the little man
It’s undeniable: people love big phones. The iPhone has seen huge growth as Apple expanded it with the iPhone 6 generation. The sales figures seem to confirm this. I won’t deny that my love of small phones makes me a niche iPhone buyer.
But… do people really like big phones? I think they like big screens showing more information and playing bigger movies. I’m not sure they like the extra weight, the extra bulk, the extra amount of bulk in the pocket, but it’s worth it for that big, bright display.
Every year I have the privilege of using all of Apple’s iPhones through the review process. And for the past two years, I kept coming back to the design of the iPhone mini.
First of all, it’s a non-Pro iPhone. And although reasonable people may differ, I believe that in the iPhone 12 and 13 generations, the design of Apple’s iPhone Pro is worse than the non-Pro models. From the bright colors on the back of the devices to the beautiful anodized aluminum frame, treat me to the iPhone 13 mini over a duller iPhone 13 Pro every day.
At 5.2 inches tall and 2.5 inches wide, it’s small, meaning it fits nicely in my hand and in my pocket, and yet has a 5.4-inch screen that’s perfectly capable of give apps plenty of room to stretch. It’s a look reminiscent of the iPhone 5 era, my favorite era of iPhone design. But the iPhone mini’s screen is much bigger than the iPhone 5’s, thanks to its use of Face ID.
And while the iPhone mini’s battery life is undoubtedly lower than other iPhones, I must point out that Apple has done a great job of increasing battery life on the iPhone models. iPhone 13. Honestly, the battery life of the iPhone 12 mini was a bit sketchy. The iPhone 13mini? No problem.
Yes, if you are using an iPhone mini you will miss some key features of the iPhone Pro models. I’m currently using an iPhone 13 Pro with an iOS 16 beta, and I’m constantly reminded that the cheaper phones don’t have ProMotion or that extra camera on the back. And yet, every time I hold the larger phone in my hand or put it in my pocket, I’m put off by its size. Why carry a brick in your pocket if you don’t have to?
It’s dead Jim
But that’s not the point, is it? The iPhone 14 mini is apparently not a product that will exist. Now that I’ve praised the mini, I have to bury it. But… will I?
First, consider the report that the iPhone 14 lineup will only feature a new A16 processor on Pro phone models. So not only would regular iPhone 14 models not have access to supposed innovations like an always-on display, but they might not be faster than current year models!
I’m sure Apple will make some upgrades to the iPhone 14 models that will push them slightly beyond the iPhone 13 in terms of specs, but at the low end it’s potentially the upgrade. least impressive level of iPhone in years. And that means the iPhone 13 mini will have another year where it’s more or less a current phone. I’ll take it.
And then there’s the inevitable future: I truly believe the iPhone mini design will be back. One possibility is for Apple to simply alternate between iPhone models so that the mini appears one year and the Max the next. It’s also not impossible that Apple will bring back the mini design every few years, as it obviously has a sequel, but not a big one.
Then there’s the iPhone SE, which was recently updated to a third-generation model. Using the iPhone mini as the basis for a new iPhone SE would make sense, because the iPhone mini is superior to the current SE in every way. Even though it’s slightly smaller, it has a bigger screen, Face ID support and a second rear camera.
The truth is, the iPhone mini is simply too good a product – and a size – for Apple to ignore completely. I’m still sad that it apparently isn’t popular enough to warrant a new release every year, but I can’t believe it’s gone for good. In the meantime, I’m going to keep my iPhone 13 mini and wait for the mini’s inevitable return.