Buy an iPhone 13 mini now because it's going away tomorrow

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2023

When the original iPhone 12 mini was launched in 2020, everyone including Apple expected it to be a smash hit. Now as the iPhone 15 range is about to be announced, there won't be a new mini -- and the old one that's still been hanging on will surely go.

Apple's Kaiann Drance unveils the iPhone 12 mini with the James Bond theme playing
Apple's Kaiann Drance unveils the iPhone 12 mini with the James Bond theme playing



It was launched with a fanfare and high hopes, but the iPhone mini is likely to vanish this week without a mention. At least, Apple is not going to mention it, and Apple's website is certain to be scrubbed of all details of it, outside of archived support documents.

For other people, though, the iPhone mini will be missed and it will be missed a lot. It just turned out that there weren't enough people who felt that way, or at least not enough for them to buy.

Introducing the iPhone 12 mini



On October 13, 2020, Apple spent 28 minutes and 13 seconds drilling down into all of the details of the iPhone 12 -- just the regular one, not the iPhone 12 Pro. Then came a little "one more thing" kind of announcement.

"But to add to all these big announcements, we also wanted to do something a little different," said Kaiann Drance, Apple's vice president of iPhone Product Marketing. "Something only Apple would do."

With a James Bond theme backing track, Drance then opened the kind of suitcase a spy might have, revealing another, smaller case inside. And then a smaller one inside that, Russian Doll style.

"This is iPhone 12 mini," she said. "With its amazing size, it fits in the palm of your hand while still keeping the expansive edge-to-edge Super Retina XDR display."

"With its compact size, the iPhone 12 mini has the exact same features as iPhone 12," continued Drance. "You're just choosing between two great sizes."

That genuinely was the only difference. The new iPhone 12 mini was smaller, it went against the world's apparent craze for ever larger phones, but it did not cut down on any features.

"In fact, iPhone 12 mini is the smallest, thinnest, and lightest 5G phone in the world," she said. "With its large screen and compact size, we think this will be an incredibly popular iPhone."

But it just wasn't to be.

It's too much to call the mini a flop



By January 2021, when all of the Christmas and holiday sales were over, it was reported that the iPhone 12 was doing better than the iPhone 11 had the year before.

Except for the iPhone 12 mini.

There was no iPhone 11 mini to compare it to, and Apple does not release detailed sales breakdowns. But according to research at the time, it was estimated that the iPhone 12 mini accounted for only 6% of US iPhone sales.

That was reportedly only fractionally higher than the iPhone XR, iPhone 11, and second-generation iPhone SE, which were all still on sale -- and all a lower cost than the mini's $699.

It was a surprise given how vocal people had been about wanting a smaller iPhone. Perhaps that's a lesson in how vocal volume doesn't equal buying volume.

But while you can't truly call 6% of iPhone sales a flop, not when that amounts to millions of devices, but still the figure was lower than anyone imagined. And enough so that there was a notion that Apple couldn't believe it either, so that's why they tried again.

Introducing the iPhone 13 mini



In truth, Apple was doubtlessly long committed to the iPhone 13 mini before the sales figures were in for its predecessor. In any case, come September, 2021, Apple launched the iPhone 13 mini with better cameras, and a smaller notch.

This time, Apple spent about 20 minutes talking up the iPhone 13. It's not fair to say that the iPhone 13 mini got no time at all -- but it didn't really.

Apple mentioned the name iPhone 13 mini around the start, and then came back to say it again in order to boast that the iPhone 13 range still started at $699.

True, everything that could really be said about the small size had been said the year before. And you could assume that everything that was said about the iPhone 13 applied to the iPhone 13 mini


But there was none of Apple's usual comments about its "most popular iPhone ever," or anything like that.

The iPhone 13 mini was just there.

And then it wasn't.

Exit the iPhone 13 mini



Or at least, come 2022 and the next iPhone launch, there was no sign of an iPhone 14 mini. Now it looked as if Apple had decided it made a mistake making a smaller iPhone, and instead it made a bigger one.

This was the launch of the iPhone 14 Plus, the first time users could buy a larger-screen iPhone without paying the hundreds of dollars extra to get an iPhone 14 Pro Max.

As it happens, the iPhone 14 Plus appears to have been a bit of a bust, too.

Maybe we're all fickle. Or maybe Apple got it right with the iPhone, the iPhone Pro, and the iPhone Pro Max. Maybe there just isn't demand for anything outside of those three.

If so, there's a good chance that the forthcoming iPhone 15 Plus will be the last of the Plus models, too.

But what's more certain is that come the launch of the iPhone 15 range, Apple will revamp what models it offers. The Pro models from last year will certainly be gone, but so too should be the iPhone 13.

Instead, the iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 Plus will take their place at the bottom of Apple's iPhone range.

The iPhone 13 mini will still be available for a time from other resellers, but it is expected to be erased completely from Apple's sales channels of new devices.

It's not as if Apple would ever keep selling something just from sentiment or because those people who like something, really like it. But it is a shame to see the last small iPhone disappear.

Read on AppleInsider

FileMakerFeller

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    The tough thing for me was having to choose between a small & light phone and a phone with the best cameras. In the end I decided to stick with what I had (Xs) which was lighter and more compact than the newer Pro and had the tele camera that the Mini didn’t. Plus I already owned it, so not buying a new phone saved me a little money, even if I would have gladly spent it for a Mini with Pro-level specs. I’m still hoping that the next SE will be essentially a Mini with upgraded specs—at that point it may be enough of an upgrade to justify, even if it doesn’t have the absolute latest and best of everything. 
    byronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 18
    Going to buy a foldable instead.  
    baconstangwilliamlondon
  • Reply 3 of 18
    If Apple had developed a iPhone 12/13 mini PRO, I think the outcome would have been different regarding sales and adoption of the mini platform.
    I have the iPhone 12 mini and prefer the smaller form factor.
    baconstangwilliamlondonmattinozwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 18
    mobird said:
    If Apple had developed a iPhone 12/13 mini PRO, I think the outcome would have been different regarding sales and adoption of the mini platform.
    I have the iPhone 12 mini and prefer the smaller form factor.
    Not possible. Sure, they could have dropped in the Pro processor, but what mainly defines the Pro phones are the camera systems and they require a certain amount of space to accommodate. In fact, we saw with the regular 12 Pro, and will see again with the regular 15 Pro, that even their cases--which are considerably larger than the Mini--aren't big enough to accommodate all the camera features of the Pro Max. 

    While I was surprised that the Mini wasn't popular enough to stay in the lineup, a bigger shocker for me--at least if the rumored sales reports are to be believed--is that the iPhone 14 Plus has been a disappointment, maybe even a bust. Given that the Pro Max is the leading seller in the iPhone lineup, a comparable sized screen for regular iPhones seemed like the ultimate no brainer. And Apple didn't get greedy with the $100 upcharge over the standard size screen, which maintained Apple's $200 price difference between regular iPhones and their Pro counterparts. As with the Mini, I'm not surprised that the Plus will make it to a second model year because I'm sure Apple was committed to that long ago, but I'll be curious to see if there's an iPhone 16 Plus in the lineup. 
    edited September 2023 muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 18
    I currently have the 13 mini, having owned the 12 mini before it. I'm in the Upgrade Program, and the 13 mini is the first iPhone I've kept for more than one year since the Upgrade Program started with the iPhone 6 in 2014. I'd already broken myself of the "latest and greatest" pattern by getting an iPhone 8 Plus instead of a X (I didn't want to pay that much for a phone and wait for developers to figure out how to work with the new design), then an 11 instead of the 11 Pro. The XS was actually the last high end iPhone I owned, between the 8 and the 11.

    I've loved carrying a small iPhone for the last (almost) three years. I love the way it slides easily into a front pocket, even with my wallet attached. I love how light it is, and how comfortable it is to hold, especially with the wallet adding some depth. I've never used a case with my minis in order to maintain the "small as possible" footprint, and have never regretted it.

    That said, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to keep the 13 mini for a third year, and the small screen has started to feel cramped and limiting. This might just be my brain trying to trick me into accepting the tradeoffs I'll experience with my next phone, though. When I got the 12 mini, I was all about smaller devices: first, the tiny iPhone in 2020; then, replacing my 11-inch 2018 iPad Pro with an iPad mini 6 in 2021. This year, I decided that I just had too many things that would benefit from a larger iPad screen and grabbed a lightly-used M1 iPad Air (and sold the iPad mini), and now I'm debating between a 15 Pro and 15 Plus. On the one hand, most of the high end features (but not the longer zoom of the Max), which I haven't really experienced in a few years; on the other hand, a really big screen and lighter weight. I'm leaning toward the latter - if I'm going to lose out on the pocketability of the mini, I might as well go big, right? - but won't be able to completely decide until after the event.
    appleinsideruserwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 18
    If Apple won't sell me a 13 mini I'll happily buy one from ebay or elsewhere.  Form factor matters.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 18
    Going from an iPhone SE (1st gen) to an iPhone 12 Mini was bad enough with significant size and weight increases. I won't be getting anything even larger. It has to get smaller if anything. 
    williamlondonHreb
  • Reply 8 of 18
    I prefer the smaller phones. Can’t see paying Apple over a grand for a phone, when in a year the upgrade is just a little jump up. The updates given throughout the year and normal usage start to make the battery level drop considerably by year 2. The battery is crap to begin with on SE 1 & 2. Better on 12-13 mini’s, can’t expect long battery life in a small case.  It is a shame Apple and Samsung charge so much for their phones when other co such as Motorola and others have great features for a tenth of the price. But myself and others are hooked on the Apple train and have all the devices linked. I love my 13 mini and will keep till the next mini comes out.. I think the max iphones are crazy large.. Like having my iPad mini to my ear.. I will have to pass.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 18
    I absolutely love my iPhone 13 mini that I recently got from Gazelle. I had the 11 for a while and never got used to the size. Here's hoping that by the time the 16 or 17 rolls around, they decide to give the mini another go (or maybe the SE takes on that form factor).
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 18
    entropysentropys Posts: 4,192member
    I reckon my 12 mini is just the right size for me.  Especially good in the two phone scenario.
    But then again I usually have an IPP with me, and only use the mini for browsing when it is inconvenient to pull the IPP out. The mini is mostly used for messaging, phone calls, email and reading novels. I use it for other things of course, but usually switch to the iPad. The Other observation about this model mini is the battery deteriorated down to 84% in about six months, which was irritating and the battery life decline noticeable. It is still 84%, which is interesting.  That said, the battery isn’t a problem for me and the way I use it. It lasts well until bedtime even if I use it to read all day.

    I would also make the observation that just about any other manufacturer would regard a phone with the mini’s volumes of sales as a success.
    mobirdwatto_cobraFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 11 of 18
    For anybody with an iPhone 12 mini currently, I would strongly recommend picking up a 13 mini when you can - the battery life is much, much better. The 13 mini has better battery life than the regular iPhone 12, and my battery health is still at 90% after two years.
  • Reply 12 of 18
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 15,354moderator
    rnb2 said:
    For anybody with an iPhone 12 mini currently, I would strongly recommend picking up a 13 mini when you can - the battery life is much, much better. The 13 mini has better battery life than the regular iPhone 12, and my battery health is still at 90% after two years.
    Some people probably assumed the mini battery life would be quite low having experienced the 5S/SE models vs iPhone X and above but it holds up pretty well:



    Still, in that test, the larger phones last longer and the 13 mini drained in just under 7 hours. The 14 Plus lasted nearly 9.5 hours. For heavy phone users, the bigger models are more likely to make it through a full day without charging.

    Personally I like the mini form factor. I've been using the bigger models for a while and every time they are a pain to take in/out of my pocket, difficult to hold with one hand taking photos, heavy etc. The extra battery life is really nice, especially when travelling internationally where it's harder to charge but the newer minis should last long enough.

    The main reason I haven't bought a newer mini is price. There were cheaper deals on the older larger models. If the next iPhone SE has the iPhone mini design at the SE price, that would be ideal.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 18
    davidwdavidw Posts: 2,072member
    I guess there are not enough mobile phone users, that carries a mobile phone, primarily to have a phone with them.

    My brother didn't upgrade his iPhone 7 until the 12 mini. He's not using his iPhone for any social network, to surf the web, play games, stream video or need to take fancy photos with a fancy camera. He owns a mobile phone to have a mobile phone, so the screen don't need to be any larger and the CPU any more powerful, than what's needed to make/receive phone calls and occasional text messaging. About the only complaint he has with his 12 mini is that it's about 1/2 inch taller (than his old 7) and this was enough to prevent him from buttoning his shirt pocket and was more prone to falling out of his pocket when bending over too far. This is where he likes to carry his iPhone (when he's wearing one of his shirts with pockets). 

    He's been retired for quite a while now and spend most of his time at home, where he does most of his online stuff with an iPad or PC. He has upgraded his iPad and PC more often than his iPhones. When he's not at home, he has no real need to use his iPhone for anything else than a phone. When having lunch or dinner with friends, he has no need to text anyone about it on a social network and then send them an HD quality photo of the food when it arrives. His only other real needs for his iPhone are as an iPod and for Apple/Google maps. He always buy the iPhone with the max storage because he likes to avoid the iCloud and have his iTunes songs (and photos) on the device. (in fact one of his main reason for upgrading from his 7 to the 12 mini was for more storage.) He mainly connects his iPhone to his car stereo, to listen to his music while driving.

    It looks like he will be keeping his 12 mini until it can no longer be activated with a carrier or if Apple makes another  iPhone "mini".  He gave his old iPhone 7 to my wife as she also only need a mobile phone, to be a mobile phone. She had an iPhone 6s before and it looks like I might have to buy her a used 12 or 13 mini when her 7 can no longer be activated by any carriers. Like what happened to her iPhone 6s. If anything, i think Apple should keep a small form factor iPhone, even if it's in their cheaper SE line.   
    edited September 2023 watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 18
    jidojido Posts: 125member
    I can’t think of letting go of my 13 mini. Perfect screen, quite pocketable and not that heavy. I used to have an iPhone 4. 

    Not going to buy a spare just to keep it in a drawer though. If my mini fails, I’ll see what are the options. Repair it probably. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 18
    Not worried in the least. We've been here before, remember? Apple also got rid of the SE, only to resuscitate it later on in the form of the Mini.

    Also, that sucker seems to have been extremely popular in some markets (really; just the other day I was at this store in Lisbon where I was told it was the best-selling model), and Apple would be completely idiotic if they left that money on the table or let Android phones eat their lunch…

    I predict that in two, three years we'll see an iPhone 17 or 18 Mini, specifically tailored to keep all these users on a parallel upgrade path. Until then, I'll keep swapping the battery on mine. About the only product I'll hoard are MagSafe covers, those seem to be getting fairly rare lately.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 18
    mainyehc said:
    Not worried in the least. We've been here before, remember? Apple also got rid of the SE, only to resuscitate it later on in the form of the Mini.

    Also, that sucker seems to have been extremely popular in some markets (really; just the other day I was at this store in Lisbon where I was told it was the best-selling model), and Apple would be completely idiotic if they left that money on the table or let Android phones eat their lunch

    I predict that in two, three years we'll see an iPhone 17 or 18 Mini, specifically tailored to keep all these users on a parallel upgrade path. Until then, I'll keep swapping the battery on mine. About the only product I'll hoard are MagSafe covers, those seem to be getting fairly rare lately.
    Just on the bolded part "let Android phones eat their lunch" - You may not be aware of this - There does NOT exist a half decent Android phone with the size of the iPhone 13 mini for last 5 years. And that is not going to change ever. The smallest of half decent Android phones these days have 6.1 inches diagonal. Sony used to make smaller phones in the past, but they have stopped making small phones almost 5 years ago (Sony Xperia XZ2 compact). Apple is the ONLY one who has made multiple smaller phones (Criteria: Less than 5.5 inches screen diagonal, not more than 65mm width and 140 mm in height) in the last 5 years. The only possible hope for the small phone fans could be next generation of iPhone SE, i.e. IF Apple decides to make it based on iPhone 12 mini. My gut feel is that it won't be small and it would be a modified version of iPhone 11.

    Fans of small phones - Bad news for you. You are in a minority and there will NOT be options for you to choose. iPhone 13 mini will most likely be the last of its kind. If Apple decides to finally give up this segment, then bad luck for you. You have to adapt to larger sized phones eventually.
    ronn
  • Reply 17 of 18
    mainyehc said:
    Not worried in the least. We've been here before, remember? Apple also got rid of the SE, only to resuscitate it later on in the form of the Mini.

    Also, that sucker seems to have been extremely popular in some markets (really; just the other day I was at this store in Lisbon where I was told it was the best-selling model), and Apple would be completely idiotic if they left that money on the table or let Android phones eat their lunch

    I predict that in two, three years we'll see an iPhone 17 or 18 Mini, specifically tailored to keep all these users on a parallel upgrade path. Until then, I'll keep swapping the battery on mine. About the only product I'll hoard are MagSafe covers, those seem to be getting fairly rare lately.
    Just on the bolded part "let Android phones eat their lunch" - You may not be aware of this - There does NOT exist a half decent Android phone with the size of the iPhone 13 mini for last 5 years. And that is not going to change ever. The smallest of half decent Android phones these days have 6.1 inches diagonal. Sony used to make smaller phones in the past, but they have stopped making small phones almost 5 years ago (Sony Xperia XZ2 compact). Apple is the ONLY one who has made multiple smaller phones (Criteria: Less than 5.5 inches screen diagonal, not more than 65mm width and 140 mm in height) in the last 5 years. The only possible hope for the small phone fans could be next generation of iPhone SE, i.e. IF Apple decides to make it based on iPhone 12 mini. My gut feel is that it won't be small and it would be a modified version of iPhone 11.

    Fans of small phones - Bad news for you. You are in a minority and there will NOT be options for you to choose. iPhone 13 mini will most likely be the last of its kind. If Apple decides to finally give up this segment, then bad luck for you. You have to adapt to larger sized phones eventually.
    So you're saying if you want choice, you go to Apple and not Android? :wink:
  • Reply 18 of 18
    mainyehc said:
    Not worried in the least. We've been here before, remember? Apple also got rid of the SE, only to resuscitate it later on in the form of the Mini.

    Also, that sucker seems to have been extremely popular in some markets (really; just the other day I was at this store in Lisbon where I was told it was the best-selling model), and Apple would be completely idiotic if they left that money on the table or let Android phones eat their lunch

    I predict that in two, three years we'll see an iPhone 17 or 18 Mini, specifically tailored to keep all these users on a parallel upgrade path. Until then, I'll keep swapping the battery on mine. About the only product I'll hoard are MagSafe covers, those seem to be getting fairly rare lately.
    Just on the bolded part "let Android phones eat their lunch" - You may not be aware of this - There does NOT exist a half decent Android phone with the size of the iPhone 13 mini for last 5 years. And that is not going to change ever. The smallest of half decent Android phones these days have 6.1 inches diagonal. Sony used to make smaller phones in the past, but they have stopped making small phones almost 5 years ago (Sony Xperia XZ2 compact). Apple is the ONLY one who has made multiple smaller phones (Criteria: Less than 5.5 inches screen diagonal, not more than 65mm width and 140 mm in height) in the last 5 years. The only possible hope for the small phone fans could be next generation of iPhone SE, i.e. IF Apple decides to make it based on iPhone 12 mini. My gut feel is that it won't be small and it would be a modified version of iPhone 11.

    Fans of small phones - Bad news for you. You are in a minority and there will NOT be options for you to choose. iPhone 13 mini will most likely be the last of its kind. If Apple decides to finally give up this segment, then bad luck for you. You have to adapt to larger sized phones eventually.
    So you're saying if you want choice, you go to Apple and not Android? :wink:
    Yup. That is exactly the case with the niche, dying segment called "small smartphones".
Sign In or Register to comment.