Apple Exec Dismisses Notion of “Cheap Smartphone”

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 10 2013 5:00 PM

Apple Exec: Cheap Smartphones “Will Never Be the Future of Apple’s Products”

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Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller seemed to take direct aim at several recent reports by declaring that cheap smartphones “will never be the future of Apple’s products.” The statement given during an interview with a Chinese newspaper, and verified by the Next Web, appears to directly contradict recent reports that a cheaper iPhone could become a reality as early as this year. As could be expected, Schiller didn’t address the rumors directly, but rather was talking about the mobile phone market in China.

“At first, non-smartphones were popular in the Chinese market, now cheap smartphones are more popular and non-smartphones are out,” Schiller said. “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 percent, we own 75 percent of the profit.”

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While some are saying this means Apple is denying the reports, this could all be squirrely marketing talk. After all, the key word here is “cheap.” Significantly, when the Wall Street Journal first reported news of the cheaper iPhone, it mostly avoided the word “cheap,” choosing instead the phrase “less expensive.” And if Apple does develop a cheaper iPhone it’s unlikely the company that prides itself on the quality of its products would ever use the adjective “cheap” to describe it during the launch.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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