As of Wednesday, this could be an outdated-looking iPhone

Just how big is Wednesday’s unveiling of the new iPhone?

Consider this: J.P. Morgan’s Chief Economist, Michael Feroli, estimates that the new device, which has been dubbed by the tech media as the iPhone 5, could boost the U.S. economy’s gross domestic product on an annualized basis by $12.8 billion. Reuters reports on the analysis, which is based on estimates that Apple could sell about eight million iPhone 5s during the fourth quarter at a price of $600.

Wow! Now, that’s a significant product launch. Apple plans to explain more about the new device at a press conference beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday. There’s been all sorts of speculation about what’s in store — possibly a taller iPhone with storage of at least 1 GB that runs on high-speed LTE networks. Other reports have pointed out that the phone will include turn-by-turn navigation; parental controls and a new-and-improved Siri voice system.

Shares of Apple are down more than two percent in the past five trading days, but are up 15 percent in the past three months giving the company a market value of $619 billion.

But even though many are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new iPhone — after all it has been nearly a year since the iPhone 4S arrived on shelves — Apple’s position in the smartphone market is under threat.

Android remains on top in the U.S., with comScore recently reporting that 52.2 percent of subscribers in the U.S. have an Android device. Apple’s share stands at 33.4 percent.

Given those market share numbers, along with Microsoft’s continued investment in mobile, Reuters notes that the latest iPhone release has huge significance. Reuters reports:

The iPhone contributes half of Apple’s revenue and the majority of its profit, so Cook needs to dazzle both Wall Street and consumers. He is praised for having sustained Apple’s breakneck pace of growth since taking over last year, but the jury is still out on whether he has the innovation and marketing genius of the late Steve Jobs in the long run, analysts said.

So, what do you think: How important is this product release to you? Excited to buy, waiting to see what Apple unveils, or already embraced a new smartphone OS?

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  • guest

    Good thing Ballmer figured this phone would never gain much share. Now it’s capable of impacting overall GDP.

  • Aaron Evans

    Since iPhones only cost $200, and most people will be upgrading when their 2 year plan expires — not before — and getting a free iPhone (4 or 4s) as part of their upgrade, I’d say that estimate is off by about 7 million sales.

    And since $600 * 8 million users is only $4.8 billion (not $12.8 billion) — and that would have to be pure profit.

    Given a profit of $25 per phone (generous) you’re looking at $25 million for an estimate that is off by a magnitude of over 500 – or wrong by at least 50 thousand percent!

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