iPhone 13 mini in 2022: Steve Jobs’ dream turned into Apple's big flop and my favorite iPhone ever

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
iPhone 13 mini in 2022: Steve Jobs’ dream turned into Apple's big flop and my favorite iPhone ever
When Apple introduced the iPhone 12 mini in 2020, the company predicted that it would be “very popular”. But... that wasn't really the case. Sales figures through 2020-2021 showed that the smallest iPhone was by far the least preferred model by customers. The reason? Well, there might be a couple of them:

  • Apple also launched an iPhone SE, which probably cannibalized a good number of iPhone 12 mini sales because it was $300 cheaper
  • iPhone 12 mini didn’t receive the most positive of reviews, especially when it came to battery life, which might’ve put some people off
  • At least in my view, by calling it “mini” Apple didn’t do the smallest iPhone a favor - there’s a chance people thought the “mini” iPhone was going to give them “less” iPhone for their money, which of course wasn't really the case, as the mini shared specs with the vanilla iPhone 12
  • The COVID 19 pandemic probably didn’t help either, as people needed affordable phones but also phones with bigger screens for media consumption, as they were stuck at home

But the biggest reason for the iPhone 12 mini’s commercial troubles was probably the fact that people had already gotten over small phones, and they had done so quicker than Apple anticipated... It’s one of those very rare occurrences, but on this occasion, Apple simply misjudged the market, and perhaps even the marketing strategy of the iPhone 12 mini. The "mini" name made it sounds like a "specialty" iPhone for a certain group of people.

For the record, people in the comment sections of iPhone 12 mini videos and articles also said the phone would be super popular and that they had waited for a small and powerful iPhone for a long time, but even they probably didn't end up buying one!

iPhone 13 mini: The iPhone Steve Jobs probably would've used (instead of the iPhone 14 Max)

But then, somewhat surprisingly, Apple decided not to pull the plug on the mini iPhone! And that’s how we got the iPhone 13 mini, which (surprise, surprise!) has been my daily driver for the past month or so!

For starters, I haven’t been blessed with big hands (don’t you dare draw any conclusions based on that!), but if you think about it, the iPhone 13 mini is exactly what the iPhone was always meant to be. At least if you asked Steve Jobs.

Sure, we’ll never know what Steve thought of the iPhone 13 mini, but we know for a fact that he wasn’t a fan of big phones, especially if they were so big that you could fit a stylus in them. And I totally side with the great man on this occasion.

The iPhone 13 mini is the pinnacle of the Steve Jobs-ian iPhone proportions and we know that because it’s the most capable iPhone ever made that can also be easily and fully operated with one hand. That's key for a “phone”, isn't it?

Sadly, this might also be the peak of the mini iPhone as a whole, as this one’s set to be replaced by another Max model! The iPhone 14 Max is expected to debut this September, taking the place of what would've been an iPhone 14 mini. It's certainly a better business decision for Apple, but it also means the end to the mini iPhone. Or sort of.

iPhone 13 mini is a tiny beast of a phone with unmatched performance and unseen smoothness at 60Hz

Now, to get the basic concerns out of the way, I've found that the iPhone 13 Mini has excellent battery life, which comes as a big surprise, when we know how poorly iPhones with similar battery capacity perform (looking at you, iPhone 12 mini and iPhone SE). I’ll get into the nitty-gritty of it all in a future story, but I assure you that the tiny iPhone 13 mini can get you through a full day of use if you aren’t pushing it way too hard.

The iPhone 13 mini's display size might be a problem for some - there’s no way around that. However, what I’ve discovered is that the 5.4-inch panel is super bright and a joy to use outdoors! The size is a perfect fit for one-handed usability, and guess what - 60Hz is not an issue! The 13 mini is smooth like butter, which can't be said about Android phones which run on 60Hz.

Anyway, that's a nice segway to a short paragraph about the iPhone 13 mini’s performance, which is… rivalled only by the iPhone 13 Pro series. Again, I’ll leave the details for my upcoming story that will talk about my experience of switching from a Pixel 6 Pro to the iPhone 13 mini, but in a nutshell:

  • iPhone’s are so smooth at 60Hz that I never missed the Pixel’s 120Hz panel
  • Performance is simply unmatched by any Android device I’ve ever used, thanks to the incredibly smooth animations and overall operation that iOS brings

All that being said, as someone who's been using a Pixel 6 Pro for about ten months now, I can’t say that the camera on the iPhone 13 mini blew me away. However, it was perfectly serviceable for photos during the day or night. It gets the job done! The good news for Apple users is that the iPhone 13 mini runs circles around Google’s flagship when it comes to video recording. The videos from iPhone 13 mini have wider dynamic range, less noise, and look better in low-light. Cinematic Mode? Highly underrated. You need to try it out before writing it off.

iPhone 13 mini did a killer job when it came to replacing my iPhone 8 and Pixel 6 Pro

Putting a phone in any of my pockets without thinking about whether it’ll dig into my various body parts is a blessing. The absolutely massive weight drop compared to the Pixel 6 Pro is a total joy too. My hands don’t get as tired compared to when I used the massive Pixel for extended periods of time.

And of course, the tiny display and battery on the iPhone 13 mini do a brilliant job at encouraging you to grab your laptop if you want to watch a longer video. It makes sense, doesn’t it? If your phone has a much smaller screen and a relatively small battery, you’ll naturally resort to alternative ways of media consumption, which can lead to fewer headaches, and more time spent not staring at a screen that’s shoved right in your face.

iPhone 13 mini is the only phone that can change the way you use your phone and even change your life

When buying an iPhone 13 mini, I wasn’t simply looking for a Pixel 6 Pro replacement - if that was the case, the bigger and more feature-rich iPhone 13 Pro would’ve been the more obvious choice.

I was looking for a phone that can replace my iPhone 8, which of course, is a thin, light, and compact phone itself. But I was also looking for a phone that will help me waste less time using it and spread my work-entertainment time across my MacBook and TV screens, which I know are much easier on my eyes.

No iPhone 14 mini: Is Apple killing the mini iPhone? The answer might surprise you!

I’ll leave my full iPhone 13 mini love letter for one of my upcoming stories, but having used it, I can’t skip expressing my disappointment about the fact that the mini is going to get axed and replaced by the iPhone 14 Max later this year...

You’ll find the reason(s) why the mini iPhone will be retired at the beginning of the story, but now to the more important question, which is: “Will Apple ever make another mini iPhone”?

The bad news is that this certainly isn’t happening anytime soon. Certainly not as part of the iPhone 14 series or even in 2023 with the iPhone 15 series. It’s not hard to predict that the new iPhone 14 Max will sell like toilet paper before a lockdown, and therefore Apple will probably never look back and keep making bigger and bigger iPhones.

On to the good news, true fans of the compact iPhone might actually get blessed in the year 2024! That's if Ross Young’s prediction is to be fulfilled. The super-accurate analyst says that Apple might launch the next iPhone SE sometime in 2024, which is in line with our expectations. But he also mentions that the next iPhone SE could measure 5.8-inches in display size. Sure this wouldn't make it a “mini iPhone”, but it sounds like Apple might resurrect the iPhone X design and use it for the next iPhone SE, and I’m totally on board with that!

I love the rounded iPhones because they don’t dig into my hand when I hold them, and I’ve always thought the iPhone X’s 5.8-inch screen is perfectly sized to be comfortably used by those with smaller hands and those with bigger hands.

I’ll leave you with those long-term hopes for future compact iPhones! Meanwhile, I’m planning on keeping my iPhone 13 mini for as long as possible, which means that the iPhone 14 Pro will have the difficult job to impress me enough to buy it. Try me, Apple!

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