Like most companies with shareholders to wow, Apple doesn’t enjoy failure and is quick to take action when something just isn’t working. To that end, the company took the failing iPhone mini out the back like Old Yeller after just two underperforming generations. Unfortunately, its replacement – the iPhone 14 Plus – is possibly even more of a disappointment than its diminutive predecessor.
Apple’s original reasoning was sound enough: iPhone Pro Max sales suggested there was a market for comically large handsets, so a cheaper way of getting that big screen seemed sensible. But given it cost NZ$550 more than the misfiring mini, Apple should perhaps have remembered that “the bigger they come, the harder they fall”.
Now Apple is pondering how to deal with the problem when the iPhone 15 rolls out. Just as the iPhone 12 mini received an encore that only a small number of diminutively-handed folks cheered, Apple is presumably too far along with its plans to cancel an iPhone 15 Plus and just has to make the best of a bad lot.
To that end, the Korean blog Naver reports that Apple is mulling a number of ways to make the upcoming iPhone 15 Plus more appealing. The company is apparently “seriously” concerned about just how badly the iPhone 14 Plus is doing, which is apparently well beyond even the most pessimistic estimates.
The first option to remedy this flies against some current predictions. It’s to reduce the differences between regular iPhone and Pro models, in order to push more people into buying the cheaper option. Dynamic Island is already apparently going to be in the regular iPhone 15, but that could also mean an improved screen or stronger cameras.
The second, meanwhile, is to do something very un-Apple: accept that consumers quite like cheaper electronics and slash the price of the Plus version. The trouble with that option is that it means the basic iPhone 15 will have to come down as well, as you can’t very well have a model with more screen and battery selling for less.
Finally, and on more familiar Apple territory, the company is apparently considering making the iPhone 15 Pro Max an even more high-end Ultra product. There’s nothing like adding a few hundred dollars to a price tag to make you take a second look at a cheaper version, after all.
Of course, there’s a school of thought that says the problem isn’t the mini or the Plus but that Apple simply has too many iPhones available, and they’re cannibalising each other. Steve Jobs was a big believer in simplifying product lines, and that may be the approach Apple ultimately ends up taking, if/when whatever form the iPhone 15 Plus reboot takes fails.