It has been a rough week for Apple. Hackers have exposed 1.4BN iPhones and iPads worldwide and 2020 iPhone leaks have made the upcoming 2019 upgrades look redundant. But hidden among them was a major iPhone cancellation, and it makes a lot of sense.
In a stunning exclusive, legendary Apple insider Ming-Chi Kuo has revealed Apple will kill off its premium 5.8-inch iPhone X/XS/11 and replace it with the spiritual heir to the iPhone SE but with flagship specs. In an age where smartphone makers think bigger is better, it’s a radical move.
But it’s also the right move. Kuo says Apple’s replacement will be just 5.4-inches and, in combination with its bezel-less design, iPhone fans will have their first truly one-handed premium device since the iPhone 5. Yes, there was the iPhone 8 (which measures 5.44-inches thanks to its big bezels) but that device had inferior specifications to the iPhone 8 Plus.
Will iPhone fans really go back in time and flock to a smaller model? The data says yes. As it stands, the 5.8-inch iPhone is a terrible proposition. It sits too close to the more affordable 6.1-inch iPhone XR and its sales are being cannibalised. The iPhone XR is Apple’s top-selling model, but even the second-placed iPhone XS Max is outselling the iPhone XS by 3-4x. Meanwhile, the iPhone SE sells out in minutes every time Apple releases new stock.
The message is clear: people like big phones, people like small phones. If you sit in the middle of that, you better be cheap.
Also working in Apple’s favour, is rivals have completely disregarded small flagship phones. Google’s 5.5-inch Pixel 3 is the closest on paper, but it has large bezels which make it more than 5.7-inches long, pushing it into that premium no man’s land Apple is wisely about to exit.
A 5.4-inch iPhone 12, 6.1-inch iPhone XR3 and an enlarged 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Max give Apple surgical precision to target every kind of buyer. Throw in their 5G advantage and new punch-hole design over the incremental (and objectively ugly) 2019 upgrades and Apple is onto a winning hand. It’s just a shame that for many users, it will come a year too late.