Apple’s most important iPhone for 2022 already exists

I’m sure the iPhone 13 will be impressive but don’t forget about the mini

Apple iPhone 12
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple’s next iPhone announcement is likely just a few weeks away. When it happens, we’ll almost certainly see the iPhone 13 in its regular, Pro and Pro Max formats. And hopefully, despite reports earlier this year, an iPhone 13 mini.

I’m excited to see what the new range offer in addition to what we know is coming on the software side – will it lose the notch, have an under-screen fingerprint reader or offer 8K video? But I’m curious about the future of the iPhone mini.

I wrote the iPhone 12 mini review back in March and have been using the phone regularly since, running a beta of iOS 15. I still stand by my view that this is the perfect sized iPhone for most people but that its battery life and price tag haven’t helped its sales.

If we do see an iPhone 13 mini it’s likely to suffer the same predicaments. It will never be able to offer the same battery life as the larger units, and by still featuring the latest chip (most likely an A15) and the latest improvements to the screen and cameras, it will only be fractionally cheaper.  

Apple iPhone 12 mini review

iPhone SE (2016) and iPhone 12 mini

(Image credit: Future)

Given the choice between the iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone SE, most users still pick the SE. Not because it’s a better phone – it’s worse in almost every way – but it costs $300/£300 less. The iPhone 12 mini offers a larger screen in a smaller body, a better battery life and it gives you 5G connectivity.

While one of the previous generation of iPhones often remains available, others – like the iPhone 11 Pro – are quickly discontinued. If the iPhone 12 mini were to continue to exist at a lower price (say, under $500/£500), it would likely be a huge hit.

This could even be released as an iPhone SE mini, using the same iPhone 12 mini casing and, well, all of the 12 mini really. And for those that want a larger budget model, maybe an iPhone SE Max? The iPhone 12 mini embodies the same spirit as the original iPhone SE from 2016 in all but the price. So, in 2022, the mini could be the budget 5G iPhone for the masses. It just needs to be at the right price.

Mat Gallagher

As T3's Editor-in-Chief, Mat Gallagher has his finger on the pulse for the latest advances in technology. He has written about technology since 2003 and after stints in Beijing, Hong Kong and Chicago is now based in the UK. He’s a true lover of gadgets, but especially anything that involves cameras, Apple, electric cars, musical instruments or travel.