In a revised version of an interview published Thursday in a Chinese newspaper, Apple Inc marketing chief Phil Schiller said the company would focus on making "the best products" for customers and "never blindly pursue market share."
On Thursday, the Shanghai Evening News cited Schiller as saying that Apple would not develop a cheaper smartphone for the sake of expanding its market share.
That appeared to undermine other recent media reports indicating that Apple was working on a low-end smartphone, which would represent a significant shift in strategy for a company that has always focused on premium products.
But in a new version of the story published after the original, the Shanghai Evening News removed all references to cheaper smartphones, except for a mention of a "cheaper, low-end product." It also amended its original headline from "Apple will not push a cheaper smartphone for the sake of market share," to "Apple wants to provide the best products, will not blindly pursue market share."
Apple confirmed the interview had taken place and that it had contacted the Chinese newspaper about amending its original article, but had no further comment and declined to provide a transcript of the interview.
It was not clear if Schiller had made his original comments or if the newspaper had quoted him out of context.
The Shanghai Evening News could not be immediately reached for comment around 2:00 a.m. Shanghai time Saturday.
"We will not discuss plans for any future products," Schiller was cited as saying in a newly published quote.
The executive had originally been quoted as saying that developing a cheaper smartphone to try and replace feature phones was not a direction in which the company wanted to head. That comment was removed from the new version of the story, which now cites Schiller as saying, "Apple has always focused on providing the best products for its consumers, we've never blindly chased market share."
Apple rarely addresses rumors about upcoming products, which often spur intense speculation. Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal cited anonymous sources as saying Apple could release a cheaper iPhone as early as this year.
(Reporting by Edwin Chan; Editing by Bernadette Baum)