The US government now says that the China government iPhone ban is "aggressive and inappropriate retaliation" despite a statement 12 hours prior by China that there is in fact, no ban.
The first half of September has been a roller coaster for Apple as rumors of a potential China sales ban circulated major media outlets. These rumors didn't pan out, as iPhone 15 is indeed up for sale in the country and a statement from China denied the allegations earlier Wednesday.
In what appears to be a statement generated before news of the Chinese government refuting ban rumors, the White House chimed in on the matter, as reported by Bloomberg. The National Security Council shared that it is watching the issue with concern.
"It seems to be of a piece of the kinds of aggressive and inappropriate retaliation to US companies that we've seen from the PRC in the past," said John Kirby, the council's spokesman, referring to the People's Republic of China.
China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning said China hasn't issued laws and regulations to ban the purchase of Apple or other foreign brands. This was in response to rumors suggesting government businesses had begun telling employees not to bring their iPhones to work — something investors feared could expand outward to the general public.
Mao Ning does note that China is concerned about security issues with Apple's products being reported by media. This statement was confusing, as there isn't any recent major breach or security concern to attach it to.
It could refer to Apple patching known exploits days after they became public knowledge. Regardless, a ban was not implemented — at least not officially.
This likely isn't the end of the saga. The United States has banned Chinese brand Huawei form sale over security concerns, so the back and forth will likely continue between the countries as Apple sits in the middle.