'A cheaper iPhone? Not for us,' says Apple's marketing chief as he rubbishes low-end rumours

'A cheaper iPhone? Not for us,' says Apple's marketing chief as he rubbishes low-end rumours

Summary: Phil Schiller, Apple's SVP of global marketing, has told a Chinese newspaper that a cheaper iPhone isn't in the company's product roadmap.

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Apple's marketing chief appears to have denied rumours that the company is working on a lower-end iPhone.

Speculation that a cheaper iPhone is in the works has been building this week, with analyst and media reports suggesting such a device could be Apple's attempt at taking the iPhone beyond its traditional high-end roots – a strategy the company used before with the iPod when it added the Nano and Shuffle models to appeal to more price-conscious consumers and those in developing markets.

However, Apple's SVP of market Phil Schiller has rebuffed suggestions of a cheaper iPhone in an interview with the Shanghai Evening News, telling the publication that the company would not develop cheap smartphones to grab market share.

"More people are using smartphones in China, some manufacturers are beginning to develop low-cost smartphones to replace feature phones, but this is not within Apple's product development direction," Schiller said.

According to the most recent figures from analyst house Gartner, Apple has six percent of the total global mobile market, and 14 percent of the smartphone market. Schiller told the Shanghai Evening News that market share is not a concern for Apple, and the company prefers to focus on creating the best products. Market share is just a by-product, he added.

Does this mean an end to the speculation about a cheaper iPhone? Of course not - there's a lot of wiggle room in Schiller's comments. The marketing chief's may have confirmed that Apple may not be planning to make a feature phone replacement - but that doesn't mean no cheaper iPhone. Apple would be unlikely to see any such device as low-end - more a high-end product sold at a lower price.

Schiller could also be carrying on former Apple CEO Steve Jobs' tactic of rubbishing product lines that Apple would later bring out.

U-turns are something of tradition at Apple: from pouring cold water on rumours of an iPod capable of playing video back in 2005 (which then debuted weeks later) to slating 7-inch tablets as "dead on arrival" and "too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad" in 2010, before going on to release its own 7.9-inch tablet, the iPad Mini, two years later.

UPDATE: Curiouser and curiouser. Reuters has since withdrawn its story based on the Shanghai Evening News report, saying the story "was subsequently updated with substantial changes to its content". Apple has confirmed to some publications that the interview was genuine, however. More evidence that a cheap iPhone is on the way, or anything but? Let the speculation begin (again)...

Topics: iPhone, Apple, Mobility, Smartphones

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34 comments
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  • There already are low-cost iPhones

    I don't know why all this speculation started as there is obviously a strategy already in place for selling iPhones at lower cost - they sell the previous two years' models at a reduced price or free with a contract
    Subtle_Errors
    • Absolutely correct

      The phone 2 versions earlier is always very cheap and the phone 1 version earlier is quite cheap. The requirements for a "cheap" phone are already covered.
      Wakemewhentrollsgone
    • Not competitive

      Even the current iPhones lack features found in other brands. 2 year old models even more so. Why buy a crippled device when you can something modern and just as free?
      jvitous
      • Tons of features mean jack squat if no one really uses them.

        It is better to do a good job with the ones that people actually use.
        CowLauncher
        • I'd rather

          have the option to use a feature than be left in the cold wondering if Apple plans to introduce it in their next model.

          Personally I like to decide which features I'll use...I don't need Apple telling me what to do with my phone!
          Rob.sharp
        • apologists

          How much koolaid do you drink to even suggest that features Apple don't offer are useless.
          warboat
      • Why buy a crippled device when you can something modern and just as free?

        It's all about form, not function. As long as it has the logo, it does what a large percentage of the people buying them want it to do. I'd bet you could put android guts in an iPhone shell, tell customers it is iOS 7, and the majority of iPhone customers would praise it as the greatest iPhone ever.

        Just make sure the logo is easily visible so everyone else in the room sees it
        john-whorfin
        • They already did something like this

          Someone made a YouTube video where they showed people the current iphone generation and told those people that this was the next generation iphone that was about to come out. People who owned the exact same generation iphone were talking about how much faster and better it was.

          Too funny.
          toddbottom3
        • You're mistaken and you're...

          ...wrong. The native iOS behaviour more intuitive and user friendly than Android. You FEEL the difference. You really feel it.
          Maria Davidenko
    • Why buy old tech?

      If you were in the market for a brand new Truck would you go to the Ford Dealership and buy a 2011 F250?
      Rob.sharp
      • Why buy old tech?

        When the "mk 1" iPhone was released, my phone was the Motorola A1000; already a three year old design, and maybe not quite as "pretty", but both had large touch screens instead of a keypad, were smartphones, and smartphones are about DATA. If your phone can't download data at an acceptable rate, then... what USE is it? The iphone was based on geriatric "Edge" 2.5 G technology; my A1000 was a 3G phone. For a fuller comparison:
        http://www.gsmarena.com/compare.php3?idPhone1=653&idPhone2=1827
        BigRonW
        • Yet once the OG iPhone dropped in price,

          it sold like hotcakes. Not because it was loaded with features, had an ultra high resolution screen, battery life that went for ages, or an App Store with more games than you could imagine, but because it worked as expected and Apple would fix or replace the device if it was under warranty and wasn't waterlogged or smashed by some idiot kid with a baseball bat.
          Champ_Kind
          • Apple would fix or replace the device if it was under warranty

            Isn't that the definition of a warranty? No big deal anyway, my carrier will send me a repacement phone by motorbike courier if I have problems with it. (Bought over the phone, not from the shop).
            DJL64
  • cheap and apple

    Cheap and apple doesn't really go hand and hand.....apple's strategy relies on profit and a premium brand...i just dont see apple releasing a cheap anything...
    oaba10
    • apple is not a premium brand

      They sell $0 phones. In walmart.
      toddbottom3
    • You pay premium money for premium phones.

      That's just life.

      However, iPhone 4, 4S, and the 16GB 5 aren't premium products if you're going by either the contract price (free, $100, and $200) or even the unlocked prices ($450, $550, and $650). Most competing phones run similar prices both locked and unlocked.
      Champ_Kind
  • Prada does not sell a lower price handbag

    for the cost conscious.
    kingkong88@...
    • Re: Prada does not sell a lower price handbag for the cost conscious.

      Interestingly, the first Iphone was a copy of the LG Prada.
      ldo17
  • 'A cheaper iPhone? Not for us,' says Apple's marketing chief as he rubbishe

    File this in the 'no duh' category. They aren't going to risk losing iPhone sales like they did with iPad sales.
    Loverock-Davidson
    • You're making assumptions again

      Care to make a wager that Apple still sold more full-sized iPads last quarter than they did during the same quarter the year before?
      Vulpinemac