Earlier this month head of Xbox Phil Spencer suggested that Microsoft would release upgraded versions of the Xbox One throughout its lifecycle. This was oft interpreted to mean Microsoft was brewing up an "Xbox One and a half", the way Nintendo did with New 3DS or Sony is allegedly doing with the unannounced PS4k. But now it looks like Spencer's statement may have been more hypothetical than literal as he's now saying he doesn't like the idea of a slightly more powerful 8th generation Xbox.
"I'm not a big fan of Xbox One and a half," Spencer told GameInformer. "If we're going to move forward, I want to move forward in big numbers," he said.
"I don't know anything about any of the rumours that are out there, but I can understand other teams' motivations to do that. For us, our box is doing well. It performs, it's reliable, the servers are doing well. If we're going to go forward with anything, like I said, I want it to be a really substantial change for people - an upgrade."
The fact that he calls this seemingly hypothetical machine an "upgrade" means that there still could be a more powerful current-gen Xbox on the way and he's simply preemptively trying to big it up as he knows the idea of spending lots on an "elite" version of something you already plopped down a few hundred quid on is a bitter pill to swallow. In other words, he doesn't flat out deny it. But he does suggest that it won't be an iterative update, should it happen at all.
Another take is that there is no "Xbox One and a half" and Spencer's previous quote - "You'll actually see us come out with new hardware capability during a generation allowing the same games to run backward and forward compatible" - is merely a reference to minor, unadvertised tweaks, just as the Xbox 360 quietly had its innards altered to run cooler and quieter after its early versions were notorious for going on the fritz (or at least sounding like they were going to explode).
The answer may lie somewhere in the middle, where Microsoft is still tinkering with the idea. Maybe it's waiting to see how such a move affects PlayStation, whom we're pretty sure is making a more powerful PS4 SKU.
We've requested further clarification from Microsoft on this and will update should the company respond.