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Is Apple’s iPhone 12 mini a flop?

Published Jun 22nd, 2021 1:47PM EDT
iPhone 12 Mini
Image: Apple

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Apple’s iPhone 12 mini, in many respects, was the exact device iPhone fans had been demanding for years. Aside from housing Apple’s most advanced hardware, the iPhone 12 mini boasts a compact form factor that, for many users, is far preferable to the gargantuan iPhone models that have since become the norm. Put simply, the iPhone 12 Mini is what many people thought the iPhone SE 2 was going to be or should have been.

Since its release last November, however, iPhone 12 mini sales have reportedly been tepid at best. In fact, just three months after its release we started to see reports indicating that Apple was scaling back production amid lower than anticipated sales. And though Apple doesn’t break out iPhone sales across specific models, a CIRP report from last January found that the iPhone 12 mini only accounted for 6% of iPhone sales in the weeks following its launch.

More recently, a new report from TrendForce claims that iPhone 12 mini production is essentially done and that Apple, over the next few weeks and months, will simply try and sell whatever remaining iPhone 12 mini inventory remains.

Furthermore, Apple is expected to focus on driving sales of the three non-mini models in the iPhone 12s series in view of the fact that the iPhone 12 mini (which reached End-of-Life ahead of time in 2Q21) suffered disappointing sales performances compared to other models in the iPhone 12 family.

And while Apple’s decision here might ordinarily be seen in the context of the company gearing up to manufacture the iPhone 13 mini, that theory is somewhat flimsy in light of reports that Apple plans to discontinue the iPhone mini series entirely after the iPhone 13 release.

According to reputed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple’s 2022 iPhone lineup will consist of two 6.1-inch devices and two 6.7-inch devices. A compact 5.4-inch iPhone model, meanwhile, isn’t on the product roadmap.

All of this begs the question: is the iPhone 12 mini a flop?

As someone who was excited about a device like the iPhone 12 mini for years, I think the answer is unfortunately yes. The sales figures, though they come from third-party sources, simply are too discouraging to ignore. What’s more, if the iPhone 13 mini is going to be the last iPhone mini model, it stands to reason that Apple doesn’t have any confidence that the model might pick up any traction once the iPhone 13 lineup starts rolling out.

The iPhone 12 mini is a great device, but the simple reality is that Apple probably took too long to develop and launch it. The original iPhone SE launched all the way back in 2016 and fans of the compact device had been hoping for a device like the iPhone 12 mini ever since. But instead, Apple took its precious time and waited five years to release it. In the interim, Apple in April of 2020 released the iPhone SE 2 which undoubtedly ate into iPhone 12 mini sales as there was no confirmation that an iPhone 12 mini-esque device was in the pipeline.

Looking ahead, we can only hope that Apple’s iPhone SE 3 will be similar in a sense to the iPhone 12 mini. And though we may not see an iPhone SE 3 until April of 2022 or later, it would be nice to see the SE 3 borrow the same design elements of the iPhone 12 mini, which is to say the elimination of Touch ID for Face ID.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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