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iPhone to account for half of US economy by 2030 - projection

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Strange, terrible, yet curiously inevitable news today - the day before iPhone 5 day. Analysis based on figures from hefty Wall Street brains appears to show that the Jesus Phone is set to account for a large chunk - perhaps the majority - of US economic activity within a matter of decades.

The Register's elite economic projections team - who have previously come up with such breakthroughs as Media Boildown™ and Roundup2 have derived this forecast based on this Reuters report, which gives figures from Michael Feroli, chief economist at mighty bank JP Morgan. Feroli and his Wall Street brainboxes reckon that the imminent launch of the iPhone 5 could add "between a quarter and a half" of a percentage point to the fourth-quarter US GDP numbers.

That in itself is fairly stunning: but let's dig a little deeper, using inhouse Register forecast and analysis methods which would seem to be at least as trustworthy (based on events of recent years) as the methods of the world's leading financial institutions.

Just five years ago in 2007, the iPhone accounted for zero per cent of the US economy. Today, it might make up 0.5 per cent of it. Extrapolating from this suggests that it will take 500 years before the majority of US economic activity consists of Americans selling iPhones to one another - that's pretty humdrum.

But hold on: we're just getting started. The last iPhone launch just last year was relatively disappointing. We here on the Reg economics desk have generated an estimate that at that point iPhones accounted for between 0.125 and 0.25 per cent of the US economy.

That's right. In just one year, the share of the US economy accounted for by the iPhone has doubled. A projection taking this as its basis would see tomorrow's possible 0.5 per cent figure multiplied by a factor of no less than 128 in just seven more years, and more than half of the US economy made up of iPhone sales at that point in 2019.

On the one hand, that's a pretty speculative and wild-eyed bit of curve fitting. On the other hand, there's a lot more to the iPhone economy than just handset sales: there's also the imminent likelihood of the entire US software, publishing, music, movie, TV and media sectors being hoovered up into the App Store.

Even so we're going to revise the 2019 forecast for the simple reason that there is some risk that some of us may still be in our jobs at that point (you see, unlike the finance houses we are transparent regarding our methods). Applying a correction for this risk gives us a solid prediction, that the inevitable point at which America becomes primarily engaged in iPhone-related economic activities will be reached by the year 2030.

With that, we're feeling the urge to get into the pub while it's still economically feasible to run one. ®

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