The iPhone 14 Plus isn’t selling well, and the same was true for the model it replaced, the iPhone 13 mini. With that in mind, it seems reasonable for Apple reduce the number of product lines it offers.
There are currently five iPhone models in production. Dropping to four would benefit the company and its customers.
Fourth iPhone options don’t sell well
Fall of 2022 brought the four models in the iPhone 14 series. Among the big news was that the diminutive iPhone 13 mini was replaced by a much larger iPhone 14 Plus.
During the two years Apple made the mini, neither of the two iterations ever sold well. Perhaps buyers expected Apple’s smallest handset to also be its cheapest, not to arrive with a $700 price tag.
On the other hand, the 5.4-inch screen in the iPhone mini may not have been a factor after all. Its 6.7-inch replacement doesn’t seem to be selling any better.
These days, Apple never reveals how many of each of its models it sells, but analysts publish estimates. Data from Counterpoint Research shows that three of the four iPhone 14 models came out of the gate strong. In November 2022, the iPhone 14 Pro Max, iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro were the top three bestselling smartphones in the world. The latest iPhone SE made the bestseller list, too. But the iPhone 14 Plus didn’t make the cut.
That’s not our only data. Ross Young from Display Supply Chain Consultants reported in February how many LCD panels were being delivered for the new iOS handsets. His data indicates Apple is hardly making any iPhone 14 Plus units anymore … apparently because people aren’t buying them.
Cutting down the iPhone line benefits everyone
Designing and making a smartphone isn’t cheap, even when it’s a variation on another model. It makes little sense to continue producing four variations of each new iPhone generation when only three of them sell well.
This isn’t an attack on the iPhone 14 Plus. I have one and I love it. It is just what I wanted: an iOS handset with a 6.7-inch screen that I didn’t have to pay $1,100 for.
But that data from the analysts at Counterpoint I mentioned earlier shows that far more people were willing to pay extra for all the additional features of the iPhone 14 Pro Max. With that in mind, Apple should stop putting research-and-development efforts into models that comparatively few people want. I think we’d all prefer the company to funnel that cash into other areas.
I’m sure we all have suggestions on where Apple could spend that freed-up R&D money. I’d like more effort to go into making iOS 99.99% bug-free, for instance. But there are plenty of other ways.
Buyers should be prepared for fewer iPhone versions
I’m well aware that Apple CEO Tim Cook won’t read this editorial. Besides, top-level Apple executives have access to direct data showing that people are staying away from the iPhone 14 Plus in droves, just as they did the iPhone 13 mini.
The people I’m talking to are Apple fans, and they should be aware of the possibility that there’ll be fewer Apple models in the future.
Leaks tell us it won’t happen with the iPhone 15 series — expect four new versions this autumn. But it would make sense for the iPhone 16 series to be made up of only three models.
What we should expect in 2024 is a large Pro Max flagship device packed with features, a Pro version with a smaller screen but nearly all the other features of the Max, and an iPhone 16 “standard” version with a reduced feature set but a lower cost.
Add in the iPhone SE 4 and that’s four new Apple handsets. All of which have predecessors with proven track records.
Cutting down to just the bestselling models seems the logical course. Even if it means the Plus must go away.