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Will Apple ever make a small phone again?


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Will Apple ever make a small phone again?
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noleli2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Chicago
 
2023-03-10, 09:23

I still love my original SE, and with the fresh battery I put in last year I’m still quite happy with it. But it doesn’t support iOS 16, and performance with modern apps isn’t what I’d like.

Should I hold out for another couple years, or get a small-ish 13 Mini while I still can and hope that it tides me over until there’s another actually small phone.

(I kinda want to do one of those ridiculous mods like putting the guts of a 13 Mini inside the original SE, but I’m not that skilled )
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709
¡Damned!
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Purgatory.
 
2023-03-10, 09:52

There are rumors that Apple is actually going bigger in the coming years with some ridiculous 'Ultra' model, so I'd say 95% no to your question. Apple will never* make a small phone again (*until they do). Realistically the 13 mini is the smallest you're going to get for a long time. It'll become the 4th gen SE form factor whenever that comes out.

So it goes.
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Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2023-03-10, 13:56

FWIW, I'm right there with you, noleli2. I desperately wish Apple would sell a flagship small phone (and integrate Touch ID, pretty please?) but I'm not keeping my hopes up. If/when Apple announces the true death of the SE/mini lines, I'll probably be scrambling to order one immediately from third-party resellers before their stock vanishes.

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PB PM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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2023-03-10, 15:47

Talk of a 2024 SE refresh seem to be back and forth. Last one I saw said it was back on.
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chucker
 
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2023-03-10, 16:35

Quote:
Originally Posted by PB PM View Post
Talk of a 2024 SE refresh seem to be back and forth. Last one I saw said it was back on.
Yes, but it won't be as small as the original SE.
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noleli2
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Join Date: May 2004
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2023-03-12, 12:08

Hm, yeah, MacRumors seems to think the next SE will be bigger than 5.4”.
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kieran
@kk@pennytucker.social
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
 
2023-03-12, 14:55

I had the 13 mini and it was a nice change from the size of the previous phones, but I ultimately went back to the 14 Pro.

Apps today are just being designed for the larger screens, and it felt cramped on the smaller screen.

That size and weight though was so hard to give up.

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chucker
 
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2023-03-12, 15:47

In theory, I miss the smaller sizes. Nicer to hold and carry. In practice, actually using an iPhone is much nicer with the bigger sizes.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2023-03-12, 17:50

I still have my 13 mini I got shortly after release. I'm still enjoying it, but I'm gonna move up in size for the reason Kieran said. I like the size in my pocket, but some things are just getting way too cramped for me. I'm also missing the better cameras.

Even if Apple does release a small phone again, it will likely be crippled cameras and that is enough of a reason for me to move up when the time to upgrade comes.

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noleli2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Chicago
 
2023-03-12, 20:48

Really interesting to hear the consensus that iOS is better on a bigger screen. I’ve been using it on a 4” screen for over a decade (iPhone 5 2012–2016, then iPhone SE 2016–present) and have never felt like I’m missing out on anything. But I appreciate the perspective.
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dglow
Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2023-03-13, 00:04

I use a 12 mini in screen zoomed mode. This normalizes the mini's ppi with the rest of the iPhone lineup, and provides the experience of a 5 or SE in a home button-less design. I love it.
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noleli2
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Join Date: May 2004
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2023-03-13, 07:21

Being in my late 30s, I’m told I may not be able to keep cranking Dynamic Type all the way down to its smallest forever, but I’m going to keep milking that for as long as I can
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dglow
Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2023-03-13, 15:13

fwiw, I find small text to be crisper in zoomed mode on a mini, likely due to the non-native resolution scaling performed in the default (non-zoomed) screen mode
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camilasaunder89
New Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2023
 
2023-03-21, 05:08

iPhone 13 mini also had some exciting features and its powerful A15 Bionic chip and 5G connectivity provide fast and smooth performance.
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tennessee
 
2023-03-22, 12:47

Quote:
Originally Posted by noleli2 View Post
Really interesting to hear the consensus that iOS is better on a bigger screen. I’ve been using it on a 4” screen for over a decade (iPhone 5 2012–2016, then iPhone SE 2016–present) and have never felt like I’m missing out on anything. But I appreciate the perspective.
Are you me?!? My exact iPhone situation. I held/used a 13 mini for the first time a week ago. I could totally get on with that size/design. Anything larger (any non-mini flagship model, including the entire 14 lineup)…just not interested. I hate having to use two hands on an iPhone. I don’t wanna make that adjustment/concession after 15 years. I just don’t. Probably a huge part of the reason I’m on this SE that turns seven next month (April 2016 was the purchase date). That and my aversion to dropping $600+ on a stupid phone. Any brand, size or model.
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chucker
 
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2023-03-22, 14:08

Quote:
Originally Posted by psmith2.0 View Post
I hate having to use two hands on an iPhone.
I totally get that. I do miss being able to operate the entire thing with a thumb.

Buuuuuuuuut, on a bigger screen, typing is nicer, and obviously, you get more information at a glance. Including bigger photos your camera has just taken… so I get why people have converged on it. (Another factor, I bet: women, whose pants tend not to have pockets, just put the phone in their purses. Which has plenty of room. So at that point, might as well make it a little bigger.)
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PB PM
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2023-03-22, 14:44

That and for many people the phone is never not in their hand. For those of us who aren’t looking at a phone 12+ hours a day the smaller overall size would be nice though. I think Apple’s answer will be to follow the trend of folding devices.
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dglow
Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2023-03-22, 15:29

Quote:
Originally Posted by PB PM View Post
That and for many people the phone is never not in their hand. For those of us who aren’t looking at a phone 12+ hours a day the smaller overall size would be nice though. I think Apple’s answer will be to follow the trend of folding devices.
This. The Z-fold is a very impressive form factor and the only folding-phone design which makes good sense. I hope Apple’s designers eye it with envy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
I totally get that. I do miss being able to operate the entire thing with a thumb.

Buuuuuuuuut, on a bigger screen, typing is nicer, …
Nicer for some maybe. My thumbs are faster on a narrower device.
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chucker
 
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2023-03-22, 15:38

I think the Surface Duo's approach makes more sense than the Z Fold's. Just because you can fold a display like that doesn't mean you should. Just do a hinge; it's fine.

I'm vaguely interested in the idea of "unfolds into roughly the iPad mini form factor", but that still seems like sci-fi too me. Too many compromises.
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tennessee
 
2023-03-22, 16:28

Quote:
Originally Posted by PB PM View Post
That and for many people the phone is never not in their hand. For those of us who aren’t looking at a phone 12+ hours a day the smaller overall size would be nice though. I think Apple’s answer will be to follow the trend of folding devices.
That's me. I use it when I need to Google something or respond to a text or check the weather. I'm not on social media, or constantly buying pointless shit on Amazon I don't need (just because it's on sale or at a "great price!", like everyone I know does, nonstop) or doing any gaming, so it's definitely not in my hands all day, nonstop. I go some days and it never leaves my nightstand. In recent years, I deliberately leave it at home if I'm just running to the store for a quick errand and back in an hour or so. It's oddly "freeing" to be out in the world without the stupid thing buzzing/beeping/dinging in my pocket every 30 seconds. I'm not that important. Nobody on the planet needs my attention/insight immediately, about anything. I know/accept this.

If I want something "larger", I'll get an iPad or iPad mini. That are automatically large, two-hand-demanding and I don't mind so in those particular devices. It's unavoidable. But a phone? Nope. I don't need my phone to be the size of a Star Trek Tricorder or a paperback novel. It's a phone. The 12/13 mini is truly as large as I ever want to go. These Plus and Max models can all go climb a tree. If I won one, free and clear, all I'd be interested in doing is re-selling it for top dollar and buying a Pink(!) or Midnight 13 mini outright (and pocketing the leftover). My friends, an older couple I know, both have 14 Pros (not the Max) and they're far too large for me. So I know that 6.1" isn't a go, in that design (the two non-large 14 models).

Apple should make a smaller, cheap-as-possible iPhone. The current SE, as speedy as it is, still has the home button, so it sits apart, unavoidably, from every other phone in the lineup. Once that thing moves to a full-face, buttonless design, that'll be great to see, assuming they keep it smallish (5.4") and don't get stupid with it. Nobody spending ~$400 on an iPhone is looking for/expecting a 7" screen. Don't do us any "favors", Apple. I absolutely buy iPhones on screen size, and I was disappointed the mini didn't carry over to the 14. But I'm not looking to pay current flagship top dollar/asking price for them either, so even if a 14 mini existed, I'm not paying $800+ for it. $500 is my cut-off for iPhones, like $1,500 is for Macs. I'll make a small exception in a specific case/scenario, but that's my general rule/guideline.
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dglow
Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2023-03-23, 21:14

Agree. I suspect, and hope, that the mini disappearing from the 14 lineup is a sign that the mini form factor is bound for the next SE.

When the 13 mini disappears from the lineup this fall (just as the 12 mini did this past fall), Apple will be poised to reintroduce the mini size, in an 'all new' SE, the following spring.
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