Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg independently confirmed with their sources that Apple was working on a cheaper iPhone built from lower quality parts — which we took with a dose of healthy skepticism.
On Thursday, those rumors were shot down by Apple's SVP of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, who told the Shanghai Evening News that a potentially cheaper iPhone will "never be in the future of Apple products." The Next Web confirmed with Apple that the interview was official. Here's what Schiller said:
Every product that Apple creates, we consider using only the best technology available. This includes the production pipeline, the Retina display, the unibody design, to provide the best product to the market… Despite the popularity of cheap smartphones, this will never be the future of Apple's products. In fact, although Apple's market share of smartphones is just 20 percent, we own 75 percent of the profit. [The Next Web]
Still, perhaps we should take this new report with a grain of salt. Early Friday morning, Reuters rescinded a report piggybacking on the Chinese original, titled "Apple exec dismisses cheaper phone as a market share grab — report," claiming the Shanghai Evening News' article made "substantial changes to its content" after it was published. BGR notes that the "full extent of the updates is unclear and the original article remains posted on the Shanghai Evening News website."
Meanwhile, Bryan Bishop at The Verge points out that while Schiller's comments appear to contradict reporting by the WSJ and Bloomberg, Apple has demonstrated an obvious willingness to depart from public statements in the past.
It's important to remember that Apple has never made a habit of making binding public statements about new products before they are released. The company had indicated numerous times it wasn't interested in pursuing iPads in sizes below 9.7 inches in the past, for example; the iPad Mini was then announced earlier this year. [The Verge]
New York Times technology reporter Brian X. Chen weighs in:
Note that Schiller dismisses the possibility of a cheap smartphone, not a cheapER smartphone thenextweb.com/apple/2013/01/…
— Brian X. Chen (@bxchen) January 10, 2013