Rumours this week have suggested that we could see Apple launch an entry level iPhone smartphone priced as low as US$99. Reports came from a number of sources including Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal indicating that such a device could launch by the end of the year in emerging markets and perhaps even in mature markets. In an interview with the Chinese newspaper Shanghai Evening News yesterday, Apple’s SVP of Worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, threw some cold water on the rumours.
In the interview, Schiller explained that Apple would not sell a cheap smartphone solely for the purpose of expanding its market share. “At first, non-smartphones were popular in the Chinese market, now cheap smartphones are more popular and non-smartphones are out,” Schiller explained. “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.”
Schiller added that Apple will not compromise on quality: “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.” What is left unsaid is that Apple will not trade its healthy profit margins for the sake of market share. A cheap poor-quality smartphone is out of the question but a cheaper device using slightly older or cheaper components is not necessarily out of the question. Look at the Apple iPad: The iPad mini is in many ways simply a cheaper (but not cheaply made) version of the iPad.
Apple obviously does not want to tip its hand but don’t rule out a cheaper iPhone by year’s end just yet.
Read more: The Next Web