The fate of the iPhone Mini hasn’t looked too great as of late. Earlier this year, the buzz was that Apple would stop manufacturing its tiniest phone after poor sales. Yet, iPhone 13 rumours have consistently included the Mini as part of a four-phone lineup. However, a new Nikkei Asia report says that a 5G iPhone SE will be available starting in early 2022 and that a lower-cost iPhone Pro Max will replace the iPhone Mini for the iPhone 14 lineup.
Fans of the Mini’s display may not be happy with the news that Apple plans on doubling down on the SE as its small-screen option. According to Nikkei, the 5G iPhone SE will still be based on the iPhone 8 — meaning a 4.7-inch LCD display instead of the Mini’s 5.4-inch OLED. Earlier iPhone SE rumours also hinted that the home button will also stick around. The good news is it’ll have the same A15 processor as the rest of the iPhone 13 lineup, as well as Qualcomm’s X60 modem for 5G compatibility.
Citing an anonymous source, Nikkei Asia also claims that instead of another small-screen phone, Apple will instead go bigger, replacing the Mini with a new 6.7-inch iPhone Pro Max. The source described this Pro Max as a “relatively cost-effective version”, leaving the lineup at two 6.1-inch phones and two 6.7-inch phones. Meaning, if you want a smaller phone, you’re going to have to stick with the SE going forward. That’s not terrible, considering it’s going to receive the same processor. However, aside from a faster chip and 5G, it’s unlikely the SE will get more advanced features like FaceID and MagSafe, and so far there’s been no indication it’ll get a better camera either. That said, we found the 2020 iPhone SE impressively held its own against the 11 Pro Max.
This makes a lot of sense. When it came to iPhone 12 sales, the Mini and Pro Max both became available in November 2020. However, the iPhone Mini only accounted for 6% of sales at the time, while the Pro Max exceeded expectations with 20% of sales. This means if you held off buying an iPhone 12 Mini, but still want a smaller phone with more of Apple’s advanced features and a better camera, you’re probably going to want to buy an iPhone 13 Mini.
As for Apple’s other products, Nikkei Asia claims that new AirPods will enter production next month — lining up with Apple’s production schedule for the new iPhones. So far, AirPods 3 rumours indicate the next-gen, entry-level earbuds will borrow heavily from the design of the AirPods Pro. This also implies that the buds will debut at the same time as the iPhones and that Apple itself is returning to its regular September launch event timing. Last year, the pandemic screwed with supply chains, leading Apple to spread out its spring product launch schedule into three separate events spanning from September to November.