Already, China Mobile has taken 1.2 million preorders for models 5C and 5S. However, they will be sold at a huge premium to similar models in the United States. On the low end, a 16 GB 5C model will sell for the equivalent of just above $740 while a high-end 5S will cost nearly $1,140. In the US, similar models (with a wireless plan) sell for $99 and $399 respectively. China, the world's most populous country, has an average household income of roughly 11% that of the United.
In an exclusive joint interview on CNBC Asia with China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua, Apple CEO Tim Cook said:
"It's a watershed day for Apple. It's a huge announcement. I am so honored to be doing business with Chairman Xi and China Mobile. They have the largest network. We're incredibly impressed with them, we have deep respect for them and have had from the very first discussion that we had together. We see this as bringing the world's best smartphone to the very largest – and now the fastest – network in China"
CNBC contributor Gina Sanchez, founder of Chantico Global, thinks there may be too much enthusiasm surrounding the deal.
"I think that it's already priced in; these phones have actually been out there roughly three months," says Sanchez, who also notes an increase in cheaper smartphones by Apple's Chinese competitors over the last three months. "Apple needs to put out a cheaper version of its iPhone in order to really be successful."
Besides higher prices, China Mobile's infrastructure is another hurdle Apple will face in selling iPhones, according to Sanchez. A large majority of China Mobile's estimated 760 million subscribers use a lower-grade system incompatible with the iPhone.
"Apple iPhones are really only going to be working on their new 4G network, which means Apple is going to grow at the same rate at best at the 4G network," says Sanchez.
(See: CNBC's Technology coverage)
While Sanchez doesn't believe the China Mobile story is as big of a deal as many are making it out to be, Talking Numbers contributor Richard Ross believes Apple does have something to cheer about – at least with its charts.
"The charts have been looking like a big deal and they're getting better," says Ross. He sees the stock price as having built a base of support during the course of 2013.
"Now we've been heading in the right direction," says Ross. "I think we're ready to reap the fruits of that base-building process here."
With the stock's 50-day moving average moving above the 200-day moving average, Ross says both short-term and long-term trends are headed higher.
"I think the uptrend is ready to resume in earnest," says Ross. "I think we see at least $600 a share and perhaps even $630. This is going to be a good year. This is not a flashy story, this Apple stock. But, it's a strong chart and it's a strong story. You want to be a buyer of Apple here. The trend is higher."
To see more of Sanchez on the fundamentals and Ross on the technicals of Apple given the recent deal with China Mobile, watch the video above.
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