Apple Bids Goodbye to the iPhone Mini

In case you missed it, there was an Apple event on Tuesday. The company announced its usual fall slate of new products, including four new iPhones that have one very big thing in common: USB-C ports, which is a big move. But also, these new phones are all quite large.

What Apple did not highlight this week was the untimely demise of the runt of its litter, the iPhone 13 Mini. Yes, the ittiest bittiest iPhone was quietly discontinued at Apple’s September event. Apple is still selling its midrange iPhone SE. With a screen that measures 4.7 inches diagonally, the SE is slightly smaller than the Mini. The budget-minded SE also has slightly lesser specs than the Mini, which despite its diminutive size had flagship-class internal components.

Tiny phones were so hot for a time. As screen size swelled to accommodate people’s desire to stream video and play games, compact handsets became less popular. There’s still an enthusiastic market for good small phones, but it’s not enough for Apple to consider it worth the effort of adding a new one to its main iPhone 15 lineup.

Apple’s got bigger ambitions now. It wants you to have a big screen so you’ll be able to bask in the gigantic pictures you can take on your 48-megapixel camera. Then, of course, you can keep all those chunky files stored on its new higher capacity iCloud+ tiers.

Here’s some other consumer tech news from this week that’s mostly unrelated to Apple.

New Bose Headphones

The new Bose QuietComfort Ultra ($499)

Photograph: Bose

Bose, the American audio device daddy, has refreshed its headphone lineup. Three new headsets are replacing some of its legacy noise-canceling earbuds and over-the-ear headphones. They’re all a tad bit pricey, which is to be expected for the premium audio brand.

There’s a new version of Bose’s best-selling QuietComfort Headphones, this one starting at $349. There’s also a more premium option called QuietComfort Ultra. It costs $499 and comes with more advanced noise-canceling features, nicer materials, and more robust Bluetooth connectivity features. The Ultras also weigh nearly half as much as the regular, less expensive QuietComforts. The cheaper ones, however, are the only new Bose model available in the nice sage-green color. (The other choices are black and white.) Bose also has a new pair of QuietComfort Ultra earbuds, which will run you $299.

All the devices are available for preorder, and the company says they’ll ship in early October.

Bigger Bendy Screen

HP’s new Spectre foldable PC has a 17-inch screen that bends in half.

Photograph: HP

Foldables are forever, or at least that’s what the companies making them want you to think. Folding phones and tablets make up a small percentage of devices sold, but they’ve found a passionate niche audience. You know, the kind of passionate niche audience willing to spend $5,000 on a folding laptop.

Speaking of which, HP has announced it will sell a $5,000 foldable laptop. Listed on its website as the (deep breath) HP Spectre Foldable 17-cs0097nr, the computer is the first fully foldable laptop made by the company.

I know what you’re thinking: All laptops technically fold, right? Think of this Spectre as a 17-inch tablet that folds in half. It comes with a wireless keyboard that can be attached to one half of the folded screen to turn it into something like a laptop. The keyboard can also be set on a desk in front of the unfolded screen, turning it into a bigger mobile workstation. The machine is 8.3 millimeters thick unfolded and 21.6 mm thick when folded up. That’s almost twice as thick as the 13.4-mm Galaxy Fold 5 phone, but the Spectre houses a more powerful computer inside.

HP’s offering isn’t the first folding-screen laptop. It’s emerging into a market that hasn’t really been established yet. Lenovo announced a similar foldable laptop in 2020, but you can’t buy it anymore. It also announced an upgraded model that hasn’t been released yet. Asus came out with a foldy laptop last year that was both expensive and not great. The HP foldable Spectre is available for preorder and will show whether it can stick the landing when it launches in October.

How’d You Like Them Apples?

Hey, did we mention there was an Apple event on Tuesday? This week on the Gadget Lab podcast, WIRED’s gear team digs into all the juicy details of everything Apple announced, including the decision to (finally!) put USB-C ports on the iPhone, how the Apple Watch’s Double Tap feature works, and what it was like cringing through Apple’s attempts at sketch comedy in the audience in Cupertino, California.

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