Just a couple of days ago, we touched on the likelihood of tech giant Apple dipping their toe in, what they would have considered the dirtier waters of budget smartphones. The notion of a cheap iPhone sounds unusual but clues pointed towards the possibility of its existence or at least the makings of one based on sources identified by the FT.
Although Apple hasn’t previously been the type of company to comment on rumour or speculation such as this, interviewer Huang Yinlong from the Shanghi Evening News was able to extract a couple of quotes from Phil Schiller – Apple’s Senior Vice President, on the matter. When speaking about the idea of introducing a cheaper version of the iPhone to sit alongside each year’s respective flagship model, 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. ” He went on to say, “At first, non-smartphones were popular in the Chinese market, now cheap smartphones are more popular and non-smartphones are out. 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 about 20%, we own the 75% of the profit. ”
Although Schiller statements seem to have emerged as a direct result of the claimed made by the FT, Bloomberg and the like just days ago, his answers can’t be taken as definitive. Despite Apple’s tight grip on the mobile market, there have already been signs of it weakening; Samsung proving to be their biggest threat, out-selling the iPhone 5 with their own flagship, the Galaxy S3.
There may well be a time when Apple have to face the fact that they’ll have to change tact, the market changes, consumers look for different killers features and for a company who’d rather change the attitudes of consumers rather than cater their products to those attitudes, the forthcoming period in mobile may be shifting to quickly for them to simply continue on their current path. Schiller says no cheap iPhone, we not crossing it off the list just yet.