Of all the iPhone models released last year, perhaps the most unusual was the iPhone 12 mini. In a world of gargantuan smartphones that require at least three hands to hold, the diminutive 5.4-inch device was notable for bucking the trend. But it seems it wasn't quite the triumphant return Apple might have been hoping for.
According to one supply chain analyst, Apple is planning to cut the iPhone 12 mini's production in the first quarter of 2021 thanks to low sales – and it may cease production entirely in the second quarter. It's one of our best smartphones right now, but might the mini not survive the jump to the next generation of iPhones?
As spotted by AppleInsider, JP Morgan supply chain analyst William Yang has suggested that "given the seemingly weak demand for the iPhone 12 mini," Apple is slashing production of the model by a whopping 11M units, and "may stop producing it by the second quarter of 2021".
Conversely, Yang says iPhone 12 Pro Max production will be increased by 11M. The message seems pretty clear: the largest iPhone is outselling the smallest iPhone. In some ways, this makes sense – camera-wise, the 12 Pro Max is as good as it gets (it's the top iPhone on our best camera phones list), and that huge screen is a massive plus for digital artists on the go.
But we're surprised to hear that iPhone 12 mini is performing poorly enough for Apple to consider cutting production. We were excited about the revived tiny form factor when the device was first revealed in October, and we called it a "welcome compact alternative to the oversized competition" in our iPhone 12 mini review. Not only that, but it's also the cheapest iPhone 12 available, starting at $699/£699. But perhaps portability and price are no match for a large screen and incredible camera.
For us, the big question now is whether we'll see an iPhone 13 mini later this year. Rumours have suggested that, just as with the iPhone 12, there'll be four iPhone 13 models – but this latest development could well harm the 5.4-inch model's chances. Still, even if the iPhone 13 mini fails to materialise, there's a chance the 12 mini's form factor could live on – this brilliant iPhone SE concept imagines a brand new SE in the body of the 12 mini.
Time will tell whether the next generation of iPhones includes a 5.4-inch model, but there are certainly enough tantalising iPhone 13 leaks to suggest the new iPhone line up will be incredible – mini or no mini. If you're a fan of the small form factor, though, you might find yourself having to hold on to that 12 mini for as long as you can. Check out today's best iPhone 12 deals below, and don't forget to explore our Apple deals page for more brilliant offers.