I hope this open letter finds you well. Arguably, it comes at a rather busy time for you, for which I’m sorry. But I just had to put pen to paper.
I’d like to talk about the iPhone 13 mini.
This awesome little smartphone has turned into a bit of a star on my YouTube channel and within the pages of this blog. I’ve lavished praise on it almost weekly, and my audience continues to sing its praises within the comments section.
I’ve strayed from it a couple of times, but I promise that was purely for review purposes. Whether I flirted with an Android device or, more recently, spent a considerable amount of time with the iPhone SE, I always came back to my iPhone 13 mini.
Alas, I hear on the grapevine that we’re unlikely to see this form factor return when the iPhone 14 lineup is launched later this year. I’m saddened greatly by this news, Tim, and while I’m sure it’s far too late for this kind of pleading… I’m going to do it anyway.
I think there are three reasons you shouldn’t kill off the iPhone mini.
Reason 1: lots of people want it
I have no data to back this up – not even a straw poll. I’m also aware that you do have the data – down to the last cent – when it comes to exactly how successful and profitable the iPhone 12 and 13 mini have been for your company.
I’m also aware that you’re running a business which needs to keep its shareholders happy. That means making products that sell at scale and which deliver plenty of margin. I get it. Clearly, the iPhone mini has never achieved the level of success required to maintain its place within the lineup.
But I think there’s more to it than this. I’m going on gut instinct – feel, if you will. And I think the comments section of the videos I’ve made about the iPhone 13 mini tell their own story.
You have to look really hard to find a negative comment. My original review is the most popular video on my channel with over 480,000 views and more than 900 comments. Please, go take a look; get a feel for public opinion on – and love for – this phone.
My concern is that not enough people have actually gone ahead and bought the damn thing. They love the idea of it, but something is holding them back. The price, maybe? A lack of focus within your marketing campaigns? I don’t know the answer to those questions – but you probably do.
Reason 2: It is bullet-proof (I think)
Sorry if you’re reading this while eating your dinner, Tim, but I need you to know that I dropped my naked iPhone 13 mini down the toilet a little while ago. Here’s the rub – it somehow survived that perilous fall without an ounce of damage, despite colliding head-first with the porcelain rim.
I’ve also dropped it off a treadmill. Again, no case, and no dent, scratch, or minor mark. I’ve even inadvertently thrown it at my 16-inch MacBook Pro. Guess which device came off worst?
Lastly, in an unbelievable instance of serendipity, my girlfriend recently dropped the very same iPhone 13 mini onto the hard concrete floor of a hospital while passing it to me for another round of exciting telephone calls about our newborn baby.
It still looks brand-new.
I don’t know what you’ve made this thing out of, Tim, but it is virtually indestructible. Killing off my favourite little smartphone would be like murdering Superman.
Reason 3: It has no competition
Sure, there are a heap of low-cost Android phones on the market which beat the iPhone 13 mini in terms of price, battery performance, and screen size. But that’s the problem: they’re all too big, and most of them are horribly slow.
The best thing about the iPhone 13 mini is its size. It is the only one-handed smartphone on the market that packs a premium punch, awesome camera, and the brilliance of iOS.
No one has made a phone like this to date. You were ahead of the pack!
The bottom line
I think the biggest failure of the iPhone 13 mini is that most people don’t even know it exists. I’m yet to meet anyone who looks at my phone and says, “is that the mini?”; they’re far more likely to say, “what is that?!”.
I appreciate that the iPhone 13 mini made an appearance during the launch event and in the subsequent ads, but it is always dwarfed by the ever-popular regular iPhone and the headline-grabbing features and design of the Pro lineup.
That isn’t fair; it doesn’t feel like the iPhone 13 mini has been given the chance it deserves.
The fate of this device was probably sealed quite some time ago. That makes this open letter rather pointless, but I just wanted to let you know that I think you’re making a big mistake. Profit margins and sales numbers aside, I think you’ve been sitting on a goldmine of a device in the iPhone 13 mini that simply hasn’t had a bright enough spotlight swung its way.
So, Tim, please can you reconsider bringing back the mini one day and giving it some proper marketing coverage? You’d make more people than I think you realise very happy indeed.