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iPhone 14 dilemma: If you want a smaller iPhone, you better buy one soon

The bottom line is that Apple is looking to push buyers towards the more expensive Pro line.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

The iPhone 14 unveiling is still many months away, but the speculation and rumors -- along with endless mockups of black rectangles -- are coming thick and fast.

Apple is facing its usual challenge -- how to keep the iPhone selling.

Given that Apple shifts tens of millions of iPhones every quarter, the company is quite adept at getting people to pop open their wallets and purses to buy iPhones. But every new iPhone resets the clock, and the selling has to begin anew.

The problem is that the iPhone is already pretty good, and coming up with new and compelling features to drive people towards an upgrade is getting trickier.

After all, what can you add to the latest iPhone to make it compelling?

It's already got a powerful processor, a great display, stunning cameras, and reasonable battery life.

So, what's Apple to do?

Try selling an iPhone with slightly better features.

A faster processor. Better cameras. Some display tweaks. A bit more battery life.

Oh, and change how the iPhone looks by throwing in a redesign -- which may or may not be a recycling of a previous design.

Another factor to throw in that Bloomberg's Mark Gurman highlights is that while the Pro versions sell well, sales of the iPhone Mini are terrible, and as such, Apple is likely to tweak the lineup of the Phone 14.

  • 6.1-inch iPhone 14
  • 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Max
  • 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro
  • 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max

Compare this to the existing lineup:

Bottom line, the days of the 5.4-inch iPhone are numbered. It seemed like there was demand for a smaller iPhone, but most of the available data suggests that this isn't the case.

Maybe people prefer bigger displays. Maybe the mini was overpriced. Maybe Apple marketed it wrong.

Also: The best green phones: Sustainable and eco-friendly

Who knows?

But if you want a small iPhone, better buy one sooner rather than later.

Gurman also speculates that Apple will try to differentiate the Pro iPhone from the regular iPhone by giving the Pro handset a 48MP primary camera and a new A16 chip. The non-Pro handsets will stick with the existing 12MP camera and the existing A15 chip.

This is both interesting and different.

About the only new feature that's being rumored for the new iPhone is the possibility of emergency satellite messaging using the Globalstar network. This would be a nice emergency feature so sure, but not a huge mind-blowing daily use thing.

It seems like Apple is pushing the Pro line at buyers who upgrade every year or so and want the best of the best, while the regular iPhone lineup is for those who don't really care for the specs and just need a new iPhone every three or so years.

Given supply chain constraints, it makes sense for Apple to recycle as many components as possible from the existing iPhone lineup.

But it's still strange to think that a new iPhone might contain so many older components, especially the processor.

Is this a temporary thing to accommodate for the constrained supply chain, or is this a new evolution for the iPhone?

Given that it's getting harder and harder for Apple to find new features to add to its smartphone, I wonder if we're going to enter a new phase where not only have revolutionary changes have given way to evolutionary change, but that also the pace of evolutionary change is slowing down.

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