Cook called the launch "a watershed day for Apple," and expressed Apple's respect for China Mobile, dating back to the first discussion between the firms. Apple was unable to make the iPhone available for China Mobile customers for years, thanks to the carrier's proprietary TD-SCDMA 3G pipeline. Apple was unwilling to make an iPhone compatible with just China Mobile's network. Other manufacturers, like Nokia, had to produce special versions of their handsets in order to have them available for China Mobile customers. For example, back in 2012, the Finnish handset manufacturer arranged to have a special version of its then flagship Nokia Lumia 920 available for customers of the world's largest carrier. The Nokia Lumia 920T was configured to be compatible with the TD-SCDMA 3G network.
Once China Mobile starting planning its 4G LTE build out, both the operator and Apple agreed to have the iPhone support China Mobile's LTE signal, which bring us to Friday's launch of the phone. Considering that Cook told CNBC that Apple had record iPhone sales in China last quarter, we could see another record this quarter as customers of the world's largest carrier start buying the phone. Analysts expect the availability of the Apple iPhone on China Mobile to result in sales of 10 million to 30 million units of the phone.
CNBC is reporting that thus far, China Mobile has received 1.2 million pre-orders for the Apple iPhone 5s and Apple iPhone 5c. The Apple iPhone 5s is priced at 5288 yuan ($874 USD) for the 16GB model and 6888 yuan ($1139 USD) for the 64GB version. The 16GB Apple iPhone 5c costs 4,488 ($742 USD).
You can view the CNBC interview with Cook and Mr. Xi by clicking on the video below.