After This Year, The Only ‘mini’-Sized iPhone Model Available Might Be The iPhone SE

FEATURE: 09.13.21 – The next iPhone is expected to be announced by Apple at a virtual event on Tuesday but one model in particular that won’t be released until sometime in 2022 is already garnering a lot of attention (and we’re not referring to the “iPhone 14“).

The iPhone SE — a budget friendly model of the iPhone geared towards cost conscious consumers — is about to get a significant upgrade under the hood (so to speak). Originally introduced in 2016 and updated in 2020, the next version of Apple’s cheap and compact smartphone is expected to feature the same A15 processor as the one in this year’s flagship models but, in order to keep the device at or under $499 as its starting price, it will retain the exact form factor that it currently sports (the body of an iPhone 8 from 2017).

Apple iPhone SE second generation
The second generation iPhone SE, seen here in a white option from the front and back, is expected to be updated sometime in 2022. (Photo: Apple, Inc.)

However, while the addition of 5G connectivity will be a key feature of next year’s iPhone SE, its small size and even smaller 4.7-inch display — which seems out of place among the company’s flagship models sporting larger screens measuring 5.4, 6.1, and 6.7 inches (respectively) — just might be, ironically, the biggest thing going for Apple’s cheap and compact smartphone moving forward.

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Say Hello To ‘iPhone mini’?

Last year, in this very column was an editorial with regard to how Apple should have originally branded the iPhone SE the “iPhone mini” (and whether the company dropped the ball by not doing so).

Lending credence to that supposition was a story published in July of this year by iDrop News making reference to a report from Nikkei Asia which revealed that Apple plans to completely ditch the “mini”-branded model of the iPhone next year. The media outlet noted that this was attributed to iPhone 12 mini sales being much lower than expected (a contributing factor that would lead to the company halting further production of the diminutive device).

In a way, this newfound status sort of gives the iPhone SE, in essence, a pseudo “iPhone mini” branding, albeit, in an unofficial manner (if only it had been branded by Apple as just that from the get-go!).

iDrop News also reported that — despite the discontinuation of the “mini”-branded model of the iPhone — Apple will continue to offer four different phones next year. The current batch of rumors, per the media outlet, indicate that the company’s smartphone lineup for 2022 will consist of a set of flagship models each with screens measuring 6.1 and 6.7 inches (One of which will be an entry level “iPhone 14 Max” sans the “Pro” branding) and like the iPhone 12, will feature a pair of affordable versions for consumers as well as ones with a premium price tag geared towards professional users.

According to iDrop News, once again referencing the report from Nikkei Asia, the third generation iPhone SE could be released as soon as the first half of 2022 (a prediction based on the release dates of the first two models in 2016 and 2020).

What About The ‘iPhone 13’?

With tomorrow’s virtual event from Apple just 24 hours away, we would be remiss not to talk about this year’s iPhone: the “iPhone 13” (if that’s what it’s even going to be called).

In a lead up to the announcement of this year’s iPhone, throughout the year, Macworld has been compiling everything it knows about the device. The publication reported that the new flagship models will likely look a lot like the ones from last year which featured flat edges all around, however, numerous improvements are expected (akin to how the third generation iPhone SE will be the same on the exterior but feature updated components within its enclosure):

  • schematics purported to be that of the “iPhone 13” published on Twitter show a smaller notch plus a larger and thicker camera array.
  • a report suggests that the “iPhone 13” could be equipped with the ability to use low earth satellites for phone calls and text messages although it could be for something else entirely (e.g., emergencies only).
  • a recent filing by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) shows a new MagSafe charger for new iPhones (but it is unclear if it will replace Lightning and whether it will be for the 2021 or 2022 models).

Additionally, citing a report published in July by Bloomberg, Macworld reported that the device could potentially feature an “always on” mode (akin to the Apple Watch). The media outlet also indicated, per the publication, that three major new camera and video-recording features will be the major selling points of this year’s iPhone.

According to Macworld, this year’s iPhone seems to be more of an “s” upgrade, and some rumors suggest that Apple may be going that route (e.g., the “iPhone 12s“). It would appear, however, that the company has already decided to go with the “iPhone 13” branding scheme based on a fairly recent report published in The Economic Daily News (which was cited by the publication). And, despite dismal sales of the iPhone 12 mini, the current batch of rumors suggest that there still will be in the mix (so to speak) an “iPhone 13 mini” with a 5.4-inch display (so, essentially, expect to see four flagship models to be announced as was done last year with the iPhone 12).


A Note from the Author: Apple’s virtual event — dubbed “California Streaming” — takes place at 10:00 AM (PDT) and can be streamed on apple.com or on the Apple channel on YouTube.

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