Apple CEO Tim Cook has used a rare television interview to hail a "milestone" deal with China Mobile which is expected to result in millions of extra iPhone sales in the People's Republic.
He appeared alongside chairman Xi Guohua in a televised love-in to publicise the historic deal.
Speaking in his folksy, down-at-home Alabama accent to CNBC, the Apple CEO hailed a "watershed day" for the fruity firm.
"It's a huge announcement," Cook gushed. "I'm so honoured to be doing business with chairman Xi and China Mobile. We're incredibly impressed with them, we have deep respect for them and have had from the very first discussion that we've had together."
China Mobile customers have placed more than one million pre-orders for the iPhone, which means that just a fraction of the mobile provider's 760 million customers have decided to become fanbois.
Cook wasted no time with modesty in the interview. "We see this as bringing the world's best smartphone to the very, uh, [pause] largest and now the fastest network in China," he boasted.
Last year, Apple worked with the Chinese authorities to ensure that the iPhone 5C and 5S were released in the huge nation at the same time as everywhere else in the world.
The strategy seems to have paid off, because Apple sold 18.5 million iPhones in China in the first nine months of 2013, a 28 per cent improvement on the previous year. Cook expects even more success to follow.
"Although we haven't released total results, we sold more iPhone units last quarter in Greater China than ever before," he added.
He predicted the China Mobile deal would enable Apple to keep up the "momentum" of recent years in China. ®