Fans of small phones may find fewer options at Apple in the future, at least if a new report outlining the company's future iPhone plans carries any weight. Over the next year, Apple's iPhone lineup could be overhauled, leaving just one compact phone amid a host of devices with screens greater than 6 inches.
That's not necessarily a new rumor, as multiple reports have suggested that the iPhone 13 mini will be the last of its kind when the iPhone 13 lineup debuts this fall. But the latest report of the mini's scheduled demise appearing in Nikkei Asia should add more grist for the rumor mill.
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Specifically, Nikkei says that Apple will introduce just one small phone next year, a new version of the iPhone SE that will arrive in the first half of 2022. (That reinforces a report from earlier this week about an early 2022 launch for the iPhone SE 3.) Nikkei's sources expect that phone to add 5G connectivity while retaining the 4.7-inch LCD screen found in the current iPhone SE model — a bit of a bummer if you were hoping that Apple would shrink down the bezels on that phone, too.
Come the fall of 2022, the iPhone 14 lineup would feature a less expensive 6.1-inch phone along with the 6.1- and 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro models. To replace the mini in Apple's 2022 lineup, Nikkei claims Apple will release a lower cost 6.7-inch handset; similar rumors refer to that model as the iPhone 14 Max.
It's worth noting that should Nikkei's predictions come to pass, Apple won't just be down to a single compact phone — it will also exclusively feature 5G-capable devices. Not only will the iPhone 14 devices and iPhone SE 3 support 5G, but so will whatever older handsets Apple keeps around in 2022, as those will likely include either iPhone 12 or iPhone 13 models.
Back to future iPhone sizes, though: even with 6-inch screens feeling like the unofficial minimum for a phone these days, the truth is that display sizes are getting larger, and customer demand is a big reason why. People uses their phones for an increasing number of tasks, and having more screen space to work with gives productivity a boost. That explains why phones with screens 6.7 inches and greater are an increasing ly common sight — and why phone makers are pushing screen sizes even further by turning to foldable phones.
Apple had been one of the few phone makers to offer multiple compact models, introducing the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini last fall. But that phone reportedly hasn't sold well, though Apple is expected to keep the mini around for the iPhone 13 lineup.
After that, it's anybody's guess. But increasingly, the rumors surrounding Apple's future plans suggest the iPhone is going to follow the rest of the pack by going big.