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iPhone 13 mini: will we see a new small iPhone in 2021?

iPhone 12 mini
(Image credit: TechRadar)

Apple surprised many of us in 2020 with the introduction of the iPhone 12 mini as a fourth variant of its traditional flagship handsets alongside the standard iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Will an iPhone 13 mini happen in 2021 alongside the iPhone 13? Nothing is certain yet, but here we'll be taking a look at all of the leaks and rumors so far around the smaller iPhone.

Apple hasn’t revealed an official breakdown of its sales figures for the iPhone 12 series, but multiple reports from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners has suggested the iPhone 12 mini was the least popular model. In fact, it's apparently the least popular by some distance. 

According to these figures, the iPhone 12 mini accounted for less than 5% of total iPhone sales from December 2020 to March 2021. The iPhone 12 had around 20%, and the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max were both just behind that stat.

The rest of the percentage is made up of older iPhone models that Apple continues to sell, such as the iPhone 11 and iPhone SE.

Exact sales numbers will likely never be revealed directly by Apple, but the general consensus is that the iPhone 12 mini wasn’t a big driver of sales for Apple. Does that mean we won't see an iPhone 13 mini? The rumors currently suggest we will.

Lots of leaks

Leaks of an iPhone 13 mini are happening, and we're consistently hearing details about a smaller model when we hear about the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.

For example, this week we've heard about battery capacities from a source. It said that we'll be seeing increased battery capacity on every model, and it featured details for the iPhone 13 mini as well.

This doesn't guarantee an iPhone 13 mini will happen, but often if a smartphone has been canceled during the production stage we wouldn't continue to hear about it in rumors and leaks.

September is the expected iPhone 13 release date, and while that may still be a while away this is the point in the year where Apple would traditionally have finalized plans and it is beginning to enter manufacturing for the new handsets.

Screens are being made

Display production is underway for the iPhone 13 series, or at least that's what is heavily rumored from another report that came out near the end of May.

If that's true, Apple is producing smartphone screens for the iPhone 13 mini and that's our surest sign yet that it'll be making a smaller variant of its next flagship series.

Again, this is all leaked and rumored information but it's a big sign that we will be seeing a smaller alternative phone in the the future from Apple.

Takeaway

There is no gurantee Apple will make an iPhone 13 mini, but it currently looks more likely than not that we'll be seeing a new smaller option from the company in 2021.

The poor sales figures for the iPhone 12 mini may have a bigger impact on future generations than whatever the company makes in 2021.

Often, smartphone manufacturers are working on devices years in advance and it may well be that the iPhone 13 series has been so well planned out that it will actually impact the iPhone 14 more.

That said, Apple may also be happy with the sales performance of the iPhone 12 mini. It's very unlikely we'll ever hear Tim Cook or any of his employees publicly talk about this, but it may well be that the expectations weren't huge for this handset.

If that was the case, this is just an extra option that sits alongside the main series of smartphones and it could be that Apple always anticipated it to be the case when the smartphones came out.

September is likely to be the iPhone 13 mini release date if it is to happen, and we'll have to wait and see what the company has in store around then.