Apple’s head of marketing has seemingly quashed rumours that a cheap iPhone could be on the cards.
Both The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg – which are often ahead of the game when it comes to reporting genuine leaks – have reported that a cheaper iPhone was being discussed at Apple headquarters.
The newspaper and financial news service both claimed to have spoken to sources “briefed on the matter,” saying that Apple was considering a move to launch an iPhone with a cheaper body in a bid to stay a step ahead of more wallet-friendly competitors.
But the California firm’s head of marketing Phil Schiller seems to have put paid to that idea, telling the Shanghai Evening News: “Despite the popularity of cheap smartphones, this will never be the future of Apple’s products.”
He went on: “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.”
While speculation had been mounting that Apple was desperate to gain a bigger slice of the smartphone pie, Schiller, who is Apple’s second most powerful executive, after CEO Tim Cook, said: “In fact, although Apple’s market share of smartphones is just about 20 per cent, we own 75 per cent of the profit.”
Schiller’s comments would at first appear to rule out any budget version of the ever-popular iPhone, but industry analysts have said it doesn’t necessarily mean the idea is a non-starter.
His message is simply thought to point to Apple’s strategy of never making the cost of a gizmo the main selling point.
Jacqui Cheng, who writes for Ars Technica, said: “A cheaper iPhone may indeed be cheaper than what we’re used to, but it’s unlikely to end up being what Apple considers to be ‘cheap’. Another way of looking at it is this: the iPod nano is cheaper than the iPod, but it’s not a ‘cheap’ product.”
With analysts coming down on both sides of the fence, we’ll simply have to wait and see whether Apple releases an iPhone model which is cheaper than the current devices.
Further reports have revealed that Schiller may have been misreported by the Shanghai Evening News but, rather infuriatingly, for Apple watchers, the firm is refusing to say what Schiller did actually comment on. And, a replacement story on the newspaper’s website does not show any significant changes. So, it looks like, as is so often the case with Apple, industry analysts and consumers are simply left wondering what is going on. Apple seems to thrive on keeping everyone guessing.
It wouldn’t appear to make any sense for Apple, however, to make an iPhone so cheap that anyone could afford one.
After all, Apple sells itself on delivering aspirational products, gizmos that others wish they could have. Where, otherwise, would the attraction be for iPhone and iPad owners if there was no one to show off their hi-end devices to?