After the end of the iPhone mini, the future of compact phones looks suspicious

After the end of the iPhone mini, the future of compact phones looks suspicious

I’ve never been a fan of Apple’s iPhone mini. For me, the iPhone mini has always been a small smartphone with a small screen and an odd placement. We were destined to see the end of the road sooner or later. and I did. Earlier this month – at Apple’s Far Out event. iPhone mini gone. Besides the iPhone 14, there is no small variant. Instead, there is a larger Plus model.

Now, it is clear that the iPhone mini was not as popular as the other iPhones from Apple. But the question at the same time is: does it serve any function and function for the phone buyer. Certainly not for many, but for some. With its demise, the future may disappoint smartphone users who love their phones small and compact.

Despite its small size, the iPhone mini was significant. There are people who prefer small phones. Someone needs to have their needs met even if they make up one percent of the total smartphone market. Also, small phones have always been light on the pocket as well.

So, the death of the iPhone mini makes me wonder about the future of the compact or let’s say one-handed phone.

Almost all major smartphone makers (including Apple) stopped making compact phones a few years ago. The big screen was the cool new feature, even before the explosion of OTT platforms. Perhaps, rightly so. We are starting to use smartphones for more than just making calls or sending messages. The best phone that ‘fits in the palm’ was the iPhone SE which was initially launched in 2016.

However, the launch of the iPhone 12 mini changed the dynamics. It was a decent high-end phone but in a more compact form and light enough to be a joy to use.

Significantly, its launch prompted major smartphone companies to rethink their strategy. Samsung added a phone with a relatively small screen to the S series. Google also rethought the Pixel range and introduced a compact Pixel 4a in 2020. We’ve also seen Asus go the same way – first with the Asus 8z and now, with the Zenfone 9 (not launched in India) . Suddenly, people who complain about big phones have enough phones with small screens to choose from.

Historically, we’ve seen the Android world speed up to follow in Apple’s footsteps. Yes, we might get the dynamic island-like Android phone. But that is not what I am referring to. The concern now is that Apple’s decision to ditch the iPhone mini may have an impact on Android phones as well.

All is not lost

Not everything is as bleak as it might seem. Interestingly, while Apple has decided to move on from a compact phone, there are reports that Google may be working on a phone of its own – called the Neila. We don’t know yet if it will be part of the Pixel range or if it will be placed separately. It’s also possible that it’s just a rumor and we might never see a phone like this one. But if we did, it would be a huge vote of confidence on a segment that is likely to take a big hit after the iPhone mini’s demise.

Although I also don’t see Samsung changing its approach. Although they are usually the first to follow Apple. Whether it’s removing the headphone jack or the charging brick from the box. The Galaxy S22 series has done really well for Samsung this year, helping it recover from the S21 setback last year. Even Xiaomi is experimenting with the small form factor in China and may be tempted to offer some small phones in other countries, including India.

What is the next step for Apple?

One of the reasons Apple is likely to get rid of the iPhone mini is the iPhone SE. The iPhone SE has come a long way since it debuted in 2016. The first model was all about its size. But, that was introduced in 2020 had a lot going for it. Apple equipped it with the latest chipset available at that time – the A13 Bionic. The phone offered the Apple ecosystem experience at an affordable entry point. It also helped Apple reach a new group of consumers, who were denied even the much-talked-about Apple experience.

Somehow, the 2022 SE didn’t create much of a buzz, even though it has Apple’s latest chip and 5G support. So, it also makes sense for Apple to combine the two models to create a compact and affordable iPhone with the latest chip and performance by swapping out a few other things. For example, you can still get an LCD panel on this new iPhone (as opposed to the mini model) or maybe a single camera on the back. The switch will keep the price in the region where the current iPhone SE is operating.

–is over–

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