December 9, 2023

At Apple event today, all eyes on the iPhone 12 ‘Mini’

All indications are that this year Apple plans to launch four new iPhones including a 5.4-inch iPhone 12 Mini.

In a few hours from now, another virtual Apple event is expected to lift the veils off the iPhone 12 series, as well as a list of other products. Apple CEO Tim Cook will take the stage with his executive team to showcase what Cupertino thinks will be able to capture buyer attention this holiday season despite the depleted incomes and negative consumer sentiments across the world.

All indications are that this year Apple plans to launch four new iPhones including two “standard” models and two “pro” models. This would be for the first time Apple will offer four iPhone models, ranging in size from 5.4-inches to 6.7-inches. All four models will have a new design language with sharper edges around the corners and a slightly smaller notch.

But one model that has the chance to become the most popular iPhone in the pandemic era could be a 5.4-inch variant, which may end up being called the iPhone 12 Mini. This particular iPhone will have small screen size and is going to be priced on a lower side, though it again won’t be a “cheap” iPhone.

Thomas Husson, VP, Principal Analyst at Forrester research says Apple will not launch a “cheap” iPhone during its high-profile Tuesday’s product launch event. “It may indeed launch a more affordable iPhone 12 with a smaller screen but that would still be positioned as a premium device,” said Husson. “It will be very interesting to analyze Apple’s pricing strategy. If Apple launched an iPhone 12 Mini, they will obviously need to make sure it sells at a premium versus the iPhone SE model,” he said.

With the iPhone SE selling at $399, Apple does not need another mid-tier iPhone which is targeted at budget-conscious consumers. At $399, the second-generation iPhone SE offers a lot of value to those consumers who don’t have a budget for Apple’s premium iPhones.

However, Apple does need an iPhone that bridges the price gap between the iPhone SE and the Pro models. Not everyone can afford a $1000 iPhone, so the best way is to create a phone that closely matches the top-tier iPhone in terms of features but uses price as a weapon to lure consumers into its ecosystem. Apple has implemented this strategy in the past with the iPhone XR and iPhone 11, and Cupertino would want to replicate the same formula with the iPhone 12 Mini.

If Apple priced the iPhone 12 Mini at $649, a $50 price drop from the iPhone 11, the move could shake up the premium as well as the thriving mid-range premium segment. But considering a “mini” 5.4-inch iPhone is expected to have an OLED display, dual-lens cameras and even 5G support, the iPhone 12 Mini will likely continue to draw interest from consumers who are looking for a premium smartphone for a lot less money.

Apple is not in the business of making “cheap” products, but the company has been trying to launch devices that can either “entice people to renew or to shift”, said Rushabh Doshi, Canalys Research Director. Doshi says the iPhone 12 Mini will be a part of Apple’s middling strategy, where the focus is on launching products that are not too expensive and not too cheap but still maintaining the premium price tag.

Doshi expects the iPhone 12 Mini to cost the same as the iPhone 11, which retails for Rs 68,300. That means the iPhone 12 Mini won’t be cheap when it hits the Indian market. But the truth is that the iPhone has always been expensive in India. Despite that, Apple continues to increase its hold in the premium smartphone segment, where it competes with OnePlus and Samsung.

“The Indian market is certainly central to Apple’s strategy and some players like Xiaomi are quite strong over there. There is no doubt that the Indian smartphone market is where growth will come from in the years to come, and Apple will certainly adapt its pricing strategy to local demand but I frankly doubt it will change its positioning and start selling “cheap” iPhone in India,” Husson said.

Doshi is of the opinion that the pandemic has not had a major impact on people who buy iPhones, so there is a greater chance that consumers would want to buy the iPhone 12 Mini despite uncertain times. He stated that the disposable income has grown for a lot of people who have stable jobs and those consumers might go for the iPhone 12 Mini or else buy the iPhone 11 if it gets a price cut.


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