In December, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL [FREE Stock Trend Analysis]) enthusiasts could not stop talking about the so-called iPhone 5S. This month their attention has turned to concepts for the illusive iPhone Mini, as well as the low-cost iPhone.
Both products could feasibly allow the Mac maker to increase its global market share in the growing smartphone industry. Despite a plethora of hype for these products, however (including a report from The Wall Street Journal, one of the more reliable sources for new iDevices), Apple has reportedly denied the existence of a "cheap" iPhone.
One day later, the company unofficially confirmed its development.
The denial came after Reuters decided to publish a story titled, "Apple exec dismisses cheaper phone as a market share grab-report." Reuters quoted Phil Schiller, Apple's Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing, who reportedly told the Shanghai Evening News that the company would not build a cheaper iPhone.
The Next Web later announced that it had verified that this was an "official" interview with Apple.
Now AppleInsider is reporting that Reuters has withdrawn the story. This is a common practice employed by news organizations when a story contains factual errors. The Associated Press did the same after Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) acquisition of ICOA proved to be a hoax.
Reuters has replaced the old story with the following message:
"Reuters has withdrawn the story headlined 'Apple exec dismisses cheaper phone as a market share grab-report' which was based on a Shanghai Evening News report that was subsequently updated with substantial changes to its content.
"No replacement story will be issued."
While it is unclear if Apple or some other source provided the Shanghai Evening News with the "substantial changes" that inspired Reuters to withdraw its story and walk away from the topic, this is a strong sign that Apple is developing a lower-cost smartphone.
Historically, Apple rumors go untouched. Analysts, bloggers and consumers spend countless hours writing about the products the company might release next. Those stories -- no matter how outrageous -- are never withdrawn. However, the moment Reuters quotes an Apple executive who reportedly stated that the firm will not develop a particular product, the story is removed.
Either someone wants to keep the rumor mill going or Apple is making a cheap iPhone.
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