iPhone 5 release date: new iPhone sales could save the US economy, analyst says

J.P. Morgan’s chief economist Michael Feroli believes that the handset could boost the U.S.’s GDP growth rate by 0.25 to 0.5 points in the fourth quarter.

“Thus, calculated using the so-called retail control method, sales of iPhone 5 could boost Q4 GDP by $3.2 billion, or $12.8 billion at an annual rate,” Feroli wrote. That 0.33 percentage-point boost, he writes, “would limit the downside risk to our Q4 GDP growth protection, which remains 2.0 percent.”

Feroli noted that when the iPhone 4S was launched in October last year, it exceeded all sales expectations.

“Given the iPhone 5 launch is expected to be much larger, we think the estimate mentioned … is reasonable,” he wrote.

However, the analyst adds that the estimated GDP boost “seems fairly large, and for that reason should be treated skeptically.”

According to Reuters, J.P. Morgan’s analysts project that Apple will sell 8 million iPhone 5s in the fourth quarter and expect the sales price to be about $600.

The iPhone 5 is expected to be unveiled at a live keynote on Wednesday, alongside refreshed versions of the iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano and iPod Touch.