Apple is updating the iPhone SE, but the future of the iPhone Mini appears to be in doubt.

The iPhone SE, Not the Mini, May Be the Future of Apple's Smaller Phones
pic credit: MacWorld

The new iPhone SE is still Apple’s cheapest (and smallest) iPhone, despite its higher price of $429 (£419, AU$719). The new price puts the iPhone SE in line with Apple’s iPhone Mini lineup, which starts at $599 (£579, AU$999) for the iPhone 12 Mini and goes up to $699 (£679, AU$1,199) for the iPhone 13 Mini.

Apple is closing the price gap between its two smaller iPhones in a variety of ways. The iPhone SE in 2022 will include the same chip as the iPhone 13, as well as 5G capabilities and other enhancements. Following rumours that Apple will not introduce a new Mini version of the upcoming iPhone in the fall, the launch comes as a surprise. Meanwhile, Apple is reported to be working on a new iPhone SE, which might be released next year.

These sources, together with Apple’s announcement on Tuesday, suggest that the iPhone SE, not the iPhone Mini, would be the company’s flagship smaller-size, cheap phone in the future.

The iPhone SE is getting a major upgrade, while the future of the iPhone Mini is in doubt

The iPhone SE
pic credit: CNET

Apple does not provide model-specific data on iPhone unit sales. However, third-party reports claim that demand for the iPhone 12 Mini was low. Meanwhile, Apple has mentioned the 2020 iPhone SE as a significant growth driver in previous earnings conferences.

Because of weak sales, Nikkei Asian Review, an Asian financial news agency, stated in July 2021 that Apple will not issue a new version of the iPhone Mini the following year. According to MacRumors, predictions from well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo did not include a new Mini as part of Apple’s premium iPhone lineup.

According to Reuters, market research firm Counterpoint Research stated that the iPhone 12 Mini accounted for barely 5% of Apple’s iPhone 12 sales in the first half of January 2021, following the iPhone 12’s launch in 2020.

According to a Counterpoint Research report released Tuesday, the 2020 iPhone SE was also one of the top 10 best-selling phones in 2021. The iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 13 Mini were both left off the list, despite other iPhone models such as the iPhone 12, iPhone 13, and iPhone 11 making the list.

During Apple’s fiscal third-quarter financial call in 2020, the iPhone SE was cited as a factor for the company’s smartphone business’s success. The phone’s compact size and low price, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, made it enticing to consumers who had been holding on to their gadgets for a long time.

The new version Apple released Tuesday is identical to its predecessor from 2020, but with some important upgrades. The new iPhone SE operates on the same technology as the iPhone 13 and supports 5G, which may not be critical today but will be significant as carriers continue to improve their networks. According to Apple, the new model boasts a longer battery life and a better camera.

If reports are to be believed, Apple intends to upgrade the iPhone SE as early as next year. According to analysts Kuo and Ross Young, CEO of industry research firm Display Supply Chain Consultants, Apple could produce another iPhone SE model with a bigger screen in 2023. The findings were reported by MacRumors.

Should the analyst projections prove to be correct, a larger, 5G-enabled iPhone SE would be a suitable replacement for the iPhone 11. In terms of price, Apple’s $499 iPhone, which lacks 5G capability, is smack in the middle between the new iPhone SE and iPhone 12 Mini.

If Apple does release a larger iPhone SE in the future, it’s possible that it will have a more modern look like the iPhone 11 or XR. According to 9to5Mac, a leak from the Chinese website MyDrivers stated that Apple would use a similar design for the SE. However, that claim was made in connection to the 2022 iPhone SE, which proved to be untrue because it still retains an iPhone 8-inspired appearance.

The benefits and downsides of the iPhone SE

The benefits and downsides of the iPhone SE
pic credit: AppleInsider

The most significant advantage of the iPhone SE is its affordability. The iPhone SE now has a clear target market. The iPhone SE is priced at $429, making it ideal for anyone looking for an iPhone without spending more than $1,000. Those interested in the iPhone SE are unlikely to care if it has a high-resolution camera or an OLED display.

They simply want a new phone that is dependable, familiar, and won’t become obsolete too quickly. The addition of Apple’s newest CPU as well as 5G will undoubtedly assist in this regard.

It’s the same reason that Apple’s $329 iPad appeals to so many people. Apple’s entry-level iPad, like the iPhone SE, has a retro appearance and lacks many of the capabilities present on its more expensive siblings. However, it’s a versatile device with good performance for the money.

You could argue that the target market for the iPhone 12 and 13 Mini is likewise straightforward. Those phones are for consumers who want the latest iPhone but prefer smaller phones, which will be hard to get by in 2022.

However, I do not believe the price difference between the ordinary iPhone and the iPhone Mini is big enough to justify its inclusion in Apple’s iPhone lineup. This is especially true now that the iPhone SE has launched with its additional features.

However, several parts of the 2022 iPhone SE still feel dated, which may make it less enticing as a long-term phone. It only has one camera lens, so unlike the iPhone 12 and 13 Mini, you won’t be able to record bigger views with a secondary ultrawide lens.

The front camera is only 7 megapixels, compared to the 12-megapixel resolution of the selfie cameras in the iPhone 12 and 13 Mini. It also doesn’t support millimetre wave 5G, which is a speedier version of 5G that’s only accessible in a few places.

Also Read: What to Expect with Apple Event which was held on Tuesday

However, some people may not consider these considerations when acquiring a new phone. Alternatively, they could be willing to make those concessions in order to save hundreds of dollars. Still, as carriers expand their networks and we continue to dial into video meetings from our phones, capabilities like millimetre wave 5G capability and high-resolution cameras may become more vital in the future.

Only Apple knows what its product pipeline will look like for the rest of 2022 and beyond. However, the fact that speculations of a new iPhone SE surfaced even before the 2022 model was unveiled, even while the iPhone Mini’s future remains uncertain, is telling.

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