How much do the latest iPhones add to the U.S. economy?
Michael Feroli, the chief United States economist for JPMorgan Chase, told The New York Times that Apple’s smartphones could contribute “one-quarter to one-third of a percentage point to the annualized growth rate of the gross domestic product.” That’s quite a bit, in the context of this country’s $16.8 trillion GDP.
Over at Forbes, Tim Worstall pushed back against Feroli’s estimate, claiming that older iPhones still on sale—most notably the iPhone 5S and 5C—also factor into Apple’s total contribution to the GDP, meaning that the company would need to sell an even more mind-boggling number of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units in order for them to move the economy’s needle on their own. “It’s possible that it could happen but we’d need to see something like a doubling in sales over previous models,” he wrote. “Apple’s surprised us all before of course but at the very best it’s unproven as yet that it’s going to happen this time.”
No matter how many iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units actually sell, it’s already apparent that Apple’s going to sell a lot of them over the next year. The iPhone’s enduring popularity is good news for the developers who rely on the app ecosystem for revenue. But that esteem also reveals a potential weakness at Apple’s core: With the iPhone responsible for such a huge portion of the company’s revenue, anything that affects its fortunes—or those of the broader smartphone market—could have devastating repercussions.
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