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Reuters rubbishes report rubbishing cheap iPhone rumor

Chinese paper changed tune at Apple's request

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So is Apple planning to release a cheaper iPhone or isn't it? The answer seems to depend on whom you believe – and Reuters, for one, says it doesn't believe the Shanghai Evening Post.

Reuters was one of many news outlets – The Reg included – to note a story featured in the Chinese newspaper on Wednesday that claimed Apple marketing boss Phil Schiller had denied rumors that Cupertino was cooking up a low-cost iPhone model for developing markets.

But as the week wore on, Reuters began having second thoughts, and on Friday it issued a statement informing its subscriber newspapers that it had formally withdrawn its own story on the matter, which had originally borne the headline, "Apple exec dismisses cheaper phone as a market share grab-report."

The problem? It seems the Shanghai Evening Post couldn't keep its story straight. According to Reuters, a later update to the paper's Phil Schiller interview included "substantial changes to its content" that cast the Apple exec's comments in an entirely different light.

An updated Reuters story published on Friday carried a much blander headline: "Apple won't blindly pursue market share: report."

In that story, the news agency notes that more recent editions of the Shanghai Evening Post had scrubbed all references to cheaper smartphones from the newspaper's original report, leaving only an offhand reference to a "cheaper, low-end product."

Intriguingly, Apple has confirmed that Schiller's talk with the Shanghai Evening Post was an official interview, and that after seeing the original article, Apple had contacted the newspaper to ask it to amend its report.

Exactly why Apple did that is unknown, and the fruity firm declined to provide a transcript of the full interview for comparison with the Chinese story. "It was not clear if Schiller had made his original comments or if the newspaper had quoted him out of context," Reuters reports.

As for whether this incident lends new credence to the idea that Apple has a lower-cost iPhone in the works, we leave that up to the reader's own judgment. As Schiller said in a new quote inserted into the revised Shanghai Evening Post story, "We will not discuss plans for future products." ®

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