Despite recent rumors pointing to the development of a less expensive iPhone, Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller has reportedly indicated that no such device in development. Schiller criticized competitors for launching multiple mediocre products at once in order to find something that customers will buy. In speaking with the Shanghai Evening News, Schiller reportedly said that this was not Apple’s product strategy:
"So a lot of people in the Chinese market using a functional machine, some manufacturers use cheap smartphones replace feature phones, but this is not Apple's product development direction."
If this is accurate, it isn’t really that surprising. However, while it might not be in active development, it’s likely that Apple is at least thinking about a less expensive iPhone. Such a device doesn’t really make sense for many of the markets in which the iPhone is already sold because those markets also have access to previous iPhone models at lower prices. But there are emerging markets to think about, and Apple may be at least thinking about a device that they could sell in those areas. Apple as previously denied or derided products that they later sold, such as a video iPod. It’s important to keep in mind, whether confirming rumors or debunking them, that Apple is not a company that says “never” too often.
Update: Reuters, who also reported this story, has withdrawn their article after the Shanghai Evening News made "substantial changes to its content". What these changes are is unclear at this time, and Reuters did not elaborate any further.