Rumors of a cheap iPhone are unfounded, Apple’s Phil Schiller has insisted, saying that despite the sales potential for a budget smartphones such models “will never be the future of Apple’s products.” Schiller, SVP of worldwide marketing, denied a super-cheap model was Apple’s strategy for the developing market in an interview with the Shanghai Evening News, even though recent leaks indicated that a low-cost iPhone was in the pipeline for 2013.
Instead, Schiller pointed out, Apple plans to continue its premium approach to phones. The company has 20-percent of the market share but 75-percent of the profit, the exec argued, and has no intention of undermining that with a device that undermines its halo products.
Still, there’s sufficiently wiggle-room for Schiller’s comments to co-exist with the chatter earlier in the week of “a smaller, cheaper version of the iPhone as soon as this year … part of a push to gain customers in developing nations.” Pointedly there’s no specific mention of figures, such as what the marketing chief considers to be a “cheap” smartphone.
Apple already offers more affordable iPhones than the iPhone 5, by shifting its former 4 and 4S flagships down to lower price points. Meanwhile, despite previous rumors of a smaller, cheaper iPad, when the iPad mini finally launched it was a premium product in its own right, rather than simply being a pared-down version of the 9.7-inch original.
That may well be Apple’s strategy with a new device: make a convincing argument for a smaller smartphone that has its own standalone merits, rather than being positioned as a cheaper iPhone 5. Longstanding chatter of an “iPhone mini” has continued since the launch of the original model.