This is what Apple actually said back in June.
There are certain categories of information which we do not provide to
law enforcement or any other group because we choose not to retain it.
For example, conversations which take place over iMessage and FaceTime
are protected by end-to-end encryption so no one but the sender and
receiver can see or read them. Apple cannot decrypt that data.
The assertion that Apple's assertion is "basically lies" is itself, essentially dishonest. "Apple cannot decrypt that data" does not mean the same thing as "it is absolutely impossible for the messages to be intercepted and decrypted under any circumstances". The assertion was made under the pretext that it cannot provide the information to law enforcement because they don't retain it (and it would be meaningless to do so because it's encrypted). It's normally a good idea to make sure you understand the context of what was said before accusing people of lying.
In order to intercept messages, Apple would have to actively facilitate a man in the middle attack. There's no evidence that they have set up a system to do this, and their assurances that "Apple cannot decrypt that data" indicate they haven't. That it would be illegal and carry severe penalties to facilitate this should be thought of as further evidence they haven't taken that route. In principle, the NSA could try to subpoena them, forcing them to set up such an infrastructure, but even if we assume they're successful, Apple would have very strong grounds to refute its validity. It would basically amount to entrapment.
And if they really wanted to eavesdrop, surely it would be easier to simpler NOT design the entire infrastructure and protocols in a way that intentionally prevents them from doing so.
For all intents and purposes, to the extent of our current knowledge, the messages are secure and Apple cannot decrypt them, just as they said.
Not sure why this is suddenly news to be honest. There's no new information from what we had in June.