Apple went to this reservation system in China after an incident in January 2012 when the Apple iPhone 4S was launched. A delay in opening the Apple Store in Sanlitun led to egg pelting and bottle throwing. Apple halted sales of the device through its own retail locations in Beijing and Shanghai for a long time period before going to the reservation system. Apple CEO Tim Cook is expecting a lot from the region which is why this is the first time that the Chinese launch of the iPhone will coincide with the phone's launch in other major markets like the U.S.
Later this year, Apple is expected to launch a version of its new handsets for China Mobile. Because of the carrier's proprietary networks, Apple has not released a model that will work on China Mobile's pipeline. But as the world's largest carrier, getting the iPhone onto the operator's line up could lead to a ton of new device sales for Apple. Last week, a rumor spread that the two sides had agreed on a deal that would allow the more than 700 million China Mobile subscribers to purchase the colorful Apple iPhone 5c.
source: 9to5Mac via SlashGear