Schiller's comments indicate that Wall Street Journal's report on a cheaper iPhone is probably false.
Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that it's heard rumblings from Apple insiders that the company was considering making a cheaper iPhone—a rehash of the same rumor that it reported back in February 2011.
The idea that Apple would make a less expensive iPhone seems ludicrous; after all, the company's products are built on the foundation of higher cost for higher build quality. Then again, Apple was willing to give a little bit of leeway with the iPad mini, so a cheaper iPhone doesn't seem wholly impossible.
However, in a recent interview with Shanghai Evening News, Apple Senior Vice President of Marketing Phil Schiller stated the contrary. He reiterated what Apple's core philosophy has been. "[E]very product that Apple creates, we consider using only the best technology available," he said. "This includes the production pipeline, the Retina display, the unibody design, to provide the best product to the market.”
"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.”
Though Schiller's comments don't necessarily address the rumors, it seems pretty clear that he's against the idea of a cheaper iPhone just to target a larger market. But that doesn't discount the fact that he may be referring to an iPhone of lesser quality, like the one that Wall Street Journal suggests. Still, we're operating on a lot of "ifs" here, and we can never be sure what Apple is up to until an official confirmation.
Thanks to The Next Web for translated interview responses.