We've been hearing rumors of a cheaper iPhone for longer than we'd care to remember, and while everyone from the Wall Street Journal to Bloomberg is trumpeting the budget iPhone horn, Apple's own Phil Schiller is doing his best to put an end to it. TNW reports that in an interview with China's Shanghai Evening News, Apple's SVP of Worldwide Marketing adamantly denies that the company is considering an iPhone with a lower price point.
"Despite the popularity of cheap smartphones, this will never be the future of Apple's products," Schiller bluntly states. "In fact, although Apple's market share of smartphones is just about 20 percent, we own the 75 percent of the profit."
And that's what it really comes down to: profit. The iPhone 5 sold more than 5 million units in the first weekend of availability. That doesn't sound like a product line in need of an economy-minded addition. The iPhone is Apple's biggest cash cow, and with new, full-priced models consistently selling out at launch, there's absolutely no reason for the company to consider producing a budget model.
The older models of the iPhone drop off in price each year, and you can currently get an iPhone 4 for no cost through Verizon, and for US$0.99 through AT&T. So if you're looking for a cheap iPhone, there are already plenty of options on the table. Until Apple sees iPhone popularity wane, we don't expect to see a budget-tier option materialize.
Update: Reuters has rescinded its story, noting that the "Shanghai Evening News report [was] subsequently updated with substantial changes to its content." The updated post ends by saying, "No replacement story will be issued." Here we go again.