Back in 2020, Apple unleashed the iPhone 12 series with a brand new variant dubbed iPhone 12 mini. The device came to meet the expected demand for smaller-screen iPhones. However, the Silicon Valley giant learned the worst way that there wasn’t a big demand for small iPhones. The iPhone 12 mini had a small screen and a small battery and turned out to be a commercial failure. Despite this, Apple gave the mini another chance in the iPhone 13 series. However, not even a slightly larger battery was enough to fix things. While the mini struggled, Apple saw a huge demand for the iPhone Pro Max variants and decided to make a lesser version of the phone dubbed the iPhone 14 Plus.
As we’re clearly seeing, the larger screen hasn’t been enough, and the device is gearing up to be another commercial disaster. Apple can’t sell the iPhone 14 Plus, but what explains this? Is it the ghost of the mini-series? We’ll explain this in this article.
The Concept of the iPhone 14 Plus
Apple learned one lesson with the failure of the iPhone mini series – people do not want smaller iPhones. Or at least, when there is a $100 difference between a small and a standard version, people will opt for the latter. While the iPhone 12 and 13 mini failed, the larger iPhone Pro Max turned out to be a success in demand and sales. Apple, apparently, realized that an iPhone 14 with a larger screen would perform better. As a result, it released the iPhone 14 Plus with a 6.7-inch screen just like the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
The phone cost less than the Pro Max variant, but some sacrifices were made. It does not bring the processor of the Pro Max. Instead, we get a beefed Apple A15 Bionic, the same powering the iPhone 13 mini.
According to display analyst Ross Young, display shipments for the iPhone 14 Plus in December were close to 0. Yes, that’s a shocking fact for an iPhone.
Customers won’t pay for a lesser iPhone 14 Pro Max, not even the most loyal Apple fans
The last year also brought drastic changes for the iPhone series. Instead of bringing the same hardware on all devices, and cutting the price in other specs, Apple decided to move the standard iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus to a lower level. The duo of “standard” devices brings the 2021’s Apple A15 Bionic. The Pro variants, on the other hand, get the 2022’s Apple A16 Bionic. For several users, this is a dealbreaker aspect.
The iPhone 13 mini’s price started at $699, while the iPhone 13 was set at $799. With a lackluster battery life – one that will make you a target of pranks – people were not interested in paying $700. Last year, Apple slashed the mini but left the $700 price range empty. The brand could have moved the regular iPhone 14 to this price range, but instead, decided to keep it at the $799 price. As a result, the bigger iPhone 14 Plus costs $899, for $100 more, you’ll get the Pro with significant upgrades.
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The Pro Max never was
The iPhone 14 Plus is bigger and has a good battery life, but this is still not enough. The icing on the cake? The tepid hardware.
Apple started to split the iPhone series with the launch of the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. The latter was a succesful mid-range option, and in 2018, it was the most succesful iPhone. In 2019, Apple decided to change all the names again and bring better the appeal of the series. The brand introduced the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max. The iPhone 11 was the mid-range, but the hardware part was similar to the other two iPhones. In 2022, Apple changed the hardware of the mid-range iPhones in a drastic form, and the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus are not significantly better than their predecessors. In fact, some believe that the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus are, in fact, refreshed iPhone 13 models with satellite connectivity.
The iPhone 14 Plus brings the old Apple A16 Bionic and does not have 120Hz (Hello Apple, there are cheaper phones with 144Hz refresh rate). In terms of the camera, the phone lacks a telephoto lens and there is no kind of optical zoom, and the camera does not have the same 48 MP from the Pro series.
Last but not least, the visual is also boring. Besides the hardware changes, Apple had the controversial decision of keeping the new punch-hole design for the Pro series. Therefore, both the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus looks like the iPhone 13 series. The Dynamic Island, which was one of the fanciest things in the Pro versions, is also absent here.
The Cupertino-based brand tried to make a cheaper iPhone 14 Pro Max but forgot to bring to the party everything that makes users pay $1,199 for this variant. People won’t pay $999 for a lesser version that looks like a 2017 iPhone and performs like a 2021 one.
Interesting fact – The Plus was about to be launched as iPhone 14 Max, but Apple had a last-minute change and decided to call it Plus.
Is there any hope for the iPhone 14 Plus?
Now, considering things, the iPhone 14 Plus is running to be a commercial failure. So is there any hope? For the iPhone 14 series, no.
As per some rumors, Apple is considering a price cut for the vanilla models, but only for the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus. Due to the low demand, Apple will shift its strategy and bring the vanilla and Plus at lower price tags. This time around, the devices will have the same design as the Pro models. However, will keep the one-year delay in hardware with the Apple A16, but still, rumors point to better cameras for all phones. The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus could come at $699 and $799. If this doesn’t help, then we might see the company ditching the Plus variant for once and all.