The iPhone 14 Plus is AppleThe first attempt at a less expensive big-screen iPhone in recent history. For the past few years, the 6.7-inch screen has been reserved for the ultra-premium Pro Max. However, in light of poor sales of the iPhone mini, the Cupertino company decided to shake things up a bit and ditch its smaller iPhone in favor of the new Plus. In hindsight, this now looks like a bug. According to numerous reports, the iPhone 14 plus is underperforming and its sales numbers are significantly lower than expectations. In light of these multiple accounts, a question arises: why did the iPhone 14 Plus fail?
The term “failure” is used rather loosely in this context. The iPhone 14 Plus is still an iPhone and is therefore set to outsell the vast majority of phones on the market simply by virtue of the logo on the back. However, its (relative) failure and the reasons behind it is what ultimately concerns us.
Why the iPhone mini had a niche while the iPhone Plus didn’t
First of all, it should be noted that Apple considered sales of the mini disappointing enough to warrant ending the line in favor of the Plus. Replacing the mini with the Plus, and hoping the latter would sell better, was a miscalculation on Apple’s part for one particular reason: they’re simply not replaceable with each other.
There is no need to explain how different the two devices are. Also, the mini had something the Plus doesn’t: a niche. It held a very specific place in Apple’s iPhone lineup. That is to say, that of a remarkably portable phone with flagship performance.
Also, the size of the mini made it unique not only among the other iPhones, but also among the entire smartphone market as a whole. There simply was not (and there is not) another smartphone that presented the specifications of the iPhone 13mini in such a small package.
For users who wanted to buy a small smartphone and were willing to pay a premium for top-tier performance, there was no alternative on either the Apple or Android side of the market.
This is not the case with the iPhone 14 Plus. Most Android smartphones come close to (or even exceed) the size of the Plus. There are a lot of devices with 6.7” screens, better screens and lower price tags offered by Android manufacturers. Not to mention, the Plus faces competition from within in the form of the Pro Max. Which brings me to the next point.
The standard iPhone 14 models are simply nothing special, the professionals are much better
the iPhone 14 (and the iPhone 14 Plus) are in a really weird position right now. They missed out on most of the new hardware features that were reserved for the Pro models this year. They received neither the 48MP sensor, nor the A16 processor, nor the Dynamic Island.
The last part is really important. When Apple decides to change the design of one of its products, the new look tends to stick around for a while. This means that buying an iPhone with a notch means that you basically stick with the old design, while the new one becomes the status quo.
As a result, this year, users simply have too much incentive to splurge on the Pro models. This further undermines the case for buying an iPhone 14 Plus. Especially when we consider another important detail: the price.
Why the price of the Plus just doesn’t make sense
The way Apple has priced the iPhone 14 Plus makes buying one a very strange decision. At $899, you’re already paying $100 more than you would for the standard iPhone. So why not pay another $100 and take advantage of all the fancy new features that come with the iPhone 14 Pro?It’s true you’d lose some screen real estate, but if you just wanted a great premium smartphone, there are plenty of better alternatives, including the iPhone 13 ProMax.
The latter can currently be found for around $1000 (and is projected to drop further with black Friday on the horizon) at many third-party retailers and is a superior device in almost every way. It has the same processor and notch, but it comes with a better display, more premium build quality, and a more sophisticated camera module.
Plus, there’s no shortage of Android devices, with similar performance and spec sheets that cost less than the iPhone 14 Plus. Unless you’re a die-hard Apple fan, buy a 6.7” Android flagship (like the Pixel 7 Pro which also costs $899) seems like a better option.
However, if you’re a devoted Apple acolyte, chances are you’re willing to spend a hefty premium and get the best big iPhone in its class: the iPhone 14 ProMax. The $1099 may seem like a bitter pill to swallow, but there’s a reason the term “Apple Tax” came about.
Plus, chances are you won’t have to pay that outrageous amount of money up front in the first place. Trade-in deals are readily available, and buying an iPhone 14 Pro Max from your carrier is usually a great idea. In the latter case, the Pro Max might only cost you a couple of bucks more a month than the 14 Plus.
As a result, the biggest selling point of the iPhone 14 Plus, which brings a 6.7” screen at a price below the $1000 threshold, is null and void.
Why the iPhone 14 Plus flop shouldn’t come as a surprise
In conclusion, the iPhone 14 Plus isn’t a bad smartphone per se, but it was doomed (by Apple standards) from the start. First off, the Plus doesn’t benefit from a single exclusive selling point that only it has to offer (unlike the mini). Second, it is much closer to last year. iPhone 13 than it is for this year’s Pro models. Third, the $899 price tag makes buying it a bit of a hassle. The standard iPhone 14 the lineup as a whole has underperformed the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, and that’s to be expected. There’s no real reason why the Plus should buck this trend. Perhaps that’s why Apple was rumored to be considering a price hike for its Pro iPhones this year.
If the first had materialized, perhaps now we would be facing a different scenario. But that’s not the case, and the iPhone 14 Plus once again proves a fairly simple maxim: bigger isn’t necessarily better.