iPhone 5 will drive GDP, chip growth, analysts predict

So, how galactically big is the iPhone 5? Big enough to register in U.S. GDP growth and total global chip sales.

iPhone 5 mockup.
iPhone 5 mockup. Overdrive Design

Just how big is the expected release this Wednesday of the iPhone 5? How about big enough to show up in U.S. GDP growth and account for a sizable chunk of global chip revenues.

Adds to U.S GDP: Let's start with the U.S. economy. "We believe the release of iPhone 5 could potentially add between 1/4 to 1/2 percent-point to fourth quarter annualized [gross domestic product] growth," said JP Morgan in a research note today.

The note continued. "Our equity analysts believe around 8 million iPhone 5's will be sold in the U.S. in Q4, even while sales of previous generation iPhones are maintained at a solid pace."

More specifically, sales of the iPhone 5 could boost fourth-quarter GDP by $3.2 billion, or $12.8 billion at an annual rate, JP Morgan said. That would result in an annualized GDP growth in Q4 by 0.33 percent, according to the Wall Street banking firm.

Contributes noticeably to worldwide chip revenue: Next, chip revenue. Smartphones are basically glass and a protective shell wrapped around a bunch of chips. And Apple is a voracious consumer of NAND flash memory, 3G/4G silicon, and processors, among other silicon.

"We estimate that Apple's iPhone5 could account for 4.4 percent of total semiconductor revenues in 2013," RBC Capital Markets, said in a research note today.

"This equates to $13.9bil in annual semiconductor sales into the iPhone5. Once we ascertain components upon a comprehensive tear-down, usually available two weeks after launch, we can more accurately assess total contents," the note added.

The most significant iPhone to date: Deutsche Bank also chimed in today. "We expect the iPhone 5 to be the most significant iPhone upgrade to date as both the radio (LTE) and form factor are being upgraded simultaneously," the firm said.

The note continued. "We expect this feature set to drive a massive refresh cycle which should be reflected in Apple's valuation over time."

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About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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