As we reported earlier this month, Apple’s iPhone 13 was the best-selling smartphone of 2022.
This was according to Counterpoint Research’s Global Monthly Handset Model Sales Tracker, which pegged the standard iPhone 13 as the best-selling phone in the US, the United Kingdom, China, France, and Germany in 2022, making up 28% of total iPhones sales in the same year.
However, we must recall that Apple’s iPhone 13 and the other 13 series devices were released way back in September 2021.
So what gives? Why was a one-year-old iPhone the most successful smartphone last year when you had solid options like the Samsung Galaxy S22 series or the Xiaomi 12 and 12T series — all being released in 2022? Why weren’t the iPhone 14 or 14 Plus phones more popular instead?
These are the questions we’ll be trying to answer right now.
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Why the iPhone 13 was the best-selling smartphone in 2022?
Before getting into it, let’s run down a few of the iPhone 13’s specs to see what we’re working with. The iPhone 13 came with a 6.1-inch Super Retina OLED Display, an A15 Bionic chip, and a dual-rear camera setup comprised of two 12MP shooters.
The 13 had a slightly thinner (but slightly taller) notch compared to the previous year’s iPhone 12 since Apple decided to rearrange the earpiece speaker and some of the sensors on the front — and that’s about it.
With that, let’s get into the reasons why we think the iPhone 13 did so well in 2022.
Significant battery upgrade
Before the iPhone 13, iPhones weren’t particularly known for having great battery life. We’ve all had that one friend with an iPhone who always has a power bank connected to their device.
This all changed when the iPhone 13s came out. With a much more efficient A15 Bionic chip and a slightly larger battery capacity compared to the 12s, the whole 13 series was class-leading in terms of battery.
While it wasn’t the road warrior that was the iPhone 13 Pro Max or even 14 Pro Max, and because the iPhone 14 has almost the same battery life, the 13 is a no-brainer for those who need a phone that could get them through a full day of use.
Not much different from the iPhone 14
Aside from great battery life, another big reason we think the iPhone 13 did so well in 2022 is that the iPhone 14, Apple’s flagship for that year, is not all that different from the 13.
Sure you get the new Photonic Engine for improved low-light photos and a new Action Mode; a GPU that has 5 cores instead of 4; and slightly better battery life — but nothing much else really. Everything from the design to the screen, and even the chipset (the Apple A15) remained the same (You can check out our head-to-head article between the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 here).
If you’re getting almost 90% of the phone that the iPhone 14 is with the iPhone 13, at a much cheaper price, it seems like a no-brainer to pick up 2021’s iPhone 13 instead.
The best value coming from an older iPhone
iPhone users usually hold onto their devices for 3 to even 5 years. And that’s not because they’re stubborn. iPhones have a good reputation for aging extremely well because of both software and hardware optimizations that make them fast and reliable for years.
But when long-term iPhone owners do decide to upgrade, they want a phone that brings significant feature changes and can theoretically last just as long as their old iPhone did, at a price that still feels reasonable and justifiable.
And in 2022, the iPhone 13 arguably had the best mix of features and price for these users. This is especially apparent when the iPhone 14 was released in September last year, with an SRP of PHP 56,990 for the 128GB version. When the 14 series launched, the iPhone 13’s price almost immediately dropped to PHP 49,990 from Php 50,990 (with the other storage options getting lower prices as well).
That’s almost a Php 7,000 to Php 8,000 saving for almost the same exact phone, save for the minor improvements we talked about above.
We haven’t even mentioned the used or secondhand iPhone market, with many iPhone 13 users selling their phones and offering them for a much lower price after the new 14s dropped. Right now you can buy a used 128GB iPhone 13 for around Php 35,000 to Php 38,000 in Facebook Marketplace and you could have probably purchased one in 2022 for around Php 45,000 or even lower — which is still Php 11,000 cheaper than the iPhone 14.
While you can get a much cheaper Android alternative, it won’t have the same hardware longevity and long-term software support that an iPhone 13 will have (something we’ll get into later). The value proposition is just too good to pass up, period.
It’s the best phone for the everyday user
While have now extensively talked about the iPhone 13 in contrast to 2022’s iPhone 14, we also have to recognize that the standard 13 is just a really good phone. Going back to Counterpoint’s Sales Report, the Apple iPhone actually ranked number 1 even before the iPhone 14 prompted its lower price tag.
Beyond overanalyzing numbers, it’s important that we don’t understate how good the iPhone 13 really is. It can even be argued that Apple’s iPhone 13 is the best smartphone for the everyday user. It has a really good OLED display, top-class performance, one of the best camera systems around, and a battery that can last a whole day — which are the features that average users only really care about in a phone.
iOS updates for the next 5-7 years
We also have to emphasize how crazy it is that Apple provides up to 5-7 years of iOS updates, which is something no Android phone has yet to replicate. Apple’s iPhone 8 from way back in 2017 was still able to receive iOS 16, a full five years after it launched.
Based on the list above, we can expect the iPhone 13 to get iOS updates till at least 2026. This means that iPhone 13 buyers won’t have to worry about not receiving the latest update or security patch and can just enjoy their brand-new phone. With the iPhone 13, you get a no-nonsense device that will last you years down the line — making it the perfect option for the everyday user.
There we have it, some of the main reasons why we think the iPhone 13 was the best-selling smartphone in 2022. Whether you’re a diehard Samsung fan, a proud Xiaomi connoisseur, or even a casual iPhone user yourself, no one can deny that the iPhone 13 offered really good value in 2022 and rightfully deserves to be crowned the “2022 Smartphone King.”
“We also have to emphasize how crazy it is that Apple provides up to 5-7 years of iOS updates, which is something no Android phone has yet to replicate.”
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