updated 11:32 am EST, Wed January 15, 2014
CEO drumming up shareholder interest in US
Apple CEO Tim Cook made a rare TV appearance on Wednesday in order to discuss the company's impending launch of the iPhone on China Mobile. Cook sat alongside Mobile chairman Xi Guohua during an interview with CNBC. The former called the deal a "watershed day," and claimed that Mobile has a "very fast network." He also spoke of "deep respect" for the carrier, adding that he's been "incredibly impressed" so far.
The only new piece of information came from Guohua, who said that by January 13th Mobile had registered 1.2 million pre-orders for the iPhone 5s and 5c. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that supplier Foxconn has delivered 1.4 million units to the carrier.
For Cook, the TV appearance is likely about drumming up shareholder interest and Apple's stock price. China Mobile is the world's largest cellphone carrier, with over 760 million subscribers, and therefore a linchpin for growing iPhone sales. The iPhone has been sold in China for several years, but only through China Unicom and China Telecom, since Mobile opted for a proprietary 3G standard Apple wasn't willing to support. Mobile's newfound participation can be linked to its recently-completely LTE 4G network.