Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone 5 Could Add a Third of a Percentage Point U.S. Economic Growth

We are just hours away from Apple’s (AAPL) highly-anticipated iPhone 5 event, which based on estimates by Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos. (PJC), could sell as many as 10 million iPhones by the end of September alone.

There seems to be so much pent up demand for the iPhone 5 that the gadget could do more than just boost the tech giant’s bottom line. J.P. Morgan (JPM)’s chief U.S. economist Michael Feroli believes annualised growth in the world’s largest economy — estimated to grow to about $15.8 trillion by the end of fiscal 2012 — could rise between ¼ to ½ percentage-point thanks to the iPhone, which will be introduced tomorrow by Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook.

In a note entitled “Can one little phone impact GDP?”, Feroli says JPMorgan expects Apple to sell 8 million iPhone 5 units just in America before the end of the year at around $600 each.

The bank estimates that after deducting the smartphone’s imported cost component, which if it remains similar to previous iPhone versions it would imply around $200 per unit, it will add $400 towards the GDP figure. So, $400 x the 8 million number of iPhone 5s sold could increase Q4 GDP by $3.2 billion. That’s $12.8 billion at an annual rate, boosting annualized GDP growth in the fourth quarter by 0.33%-point.

Feroli also estimates that Apple should ship about 12 million units from its Foxconn factory in China and elsewhere to markets across the world, including the U.S. in Q4, “while sales of previous generation iPhones are maintained at a solid pace.”

Apple’s debut of its iPhone 5 — which will be the company’s first change to the handset’s hardware design since 2010 — alongside tweaked versions of the iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano and iPod Touch may be watched live as it happens at San Francisco’s ‘Yerba Buena Center’ at 10am Pacific Time. This Ustream Channel called “AppleKeynotes” claims that it will be able to offer a live video stream of the event.

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