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iPhone 13 series could still get a 'mini' model, at the cost of the iPhone SE 3

iPhone 12 mini
iPhone 12 mini (Image credit: TechRadar)

While the iPhone 12 mini, the smallest entry in the iPhone 12 line, reportedly sold so poorly Apple's considering stopping making it, a new rumor suggests the iPhone 13 line could still get a compact entry.

This comes from leaker Jon Prosser on his YouTube channel Front Page Tech, who said that there will in fact be an iPhone 13 mini coming at the end of 2021 (or perhaps an iPhone 12s mini - we've been hearing the 2021 iPhones could be either the iPhone 12s or iPhone 13 line, and Prosser mentions both).

That may be a surprise for some, as many publications have reported on how the iPhone 12 mini sold so poorly that Apple now has leftover stock of the phone. A picture has been painted of Apple vastly overestimating the appeal of its small-body iPhone, only to get a rude awakening now. However it sounds like Apple has another reason for the poor sales.

iPhone SEize the day

Apparently, Apple puts poor iPhone 12 mini sales down to the same-year release of the iPhone SE (2020), which scooped up potential 12 mini buyers with its low price, small body and earlier release date.

According to Prosser, the iPhone SE 3 isn't coming out in 2021, though an iPhone SE Plus, a larger version of 2020's iPhone SE, possibly could. Either way, iPhone fans who want a small-sized device in 2021 might only have one option - the iPhone 13 mini.

Prosser doesn't have a perfect record with pre-release leaks, most notably getting the previous iPhone SE release date wrong, so take this with a pinch of salt. Saying that, according to AppleTrack Prosser has nearly an 80% overall accuracy for Apple leaks, so it's definitely worth paying attention.

An optimistic Apple

Prosser's report paints a picture of a determined Apple, sticking to its guns and continuing to put out mini phones, likely in the hopes of being vindicated later.

What Apple doesn't seem to be addressing, though, are all the other reasons people likely avoided the iPhone 12 mini beyond the presence of the iPhone SE (2020).

The iPhone 12 mini was pretty pricey, sitting just below the iPhone 12 in terms of cost and way above the iPhone SE (2020), at a cost we imagine most people buying a compact phone would find too high. In our testing we also found the handset's battery life was poor, with slow charging and not enough storage in its base version.

So perhaps if Apple wants its iPhone 13 mini to perform better than the 12 mini, it needs to stop looking at other factors that may have affected the phone's sales, and consider issues with the handset itself that could have put people off.

Tom Bedford

Staff Writer, Phones

Tom's role in the TechRadar team is as a staff writer specializing in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness trackers and more.