iPhone 5 release to improve economy

Photo courtesy of Apple Inc.

Photo courtesy of Apple Inc.

KentWired Video

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College students could play a strong role in boosting America’s economy this year by splurging on the latest iPhone. Projections by J.P. Morgan estimate a $3.2 billion boost to the fourth quarter GDP — a 0.25 to 0.5 percentage-point annualized GDP growth.

This is significant, said Shawn Rohlin, assistant professor of economics at Kent State.

“It’s a good thing for the economy because there are spillover effects and that money will then be spread not only for Apple but also for other companies — their suppliers as well as their employees and stockholders will then spend those profits and other businesses will benefit as well,” Rohlin said.

Smartphones are more popular among college students than the general public with the iPhone dominating the college student smartphone market at 58 percent, according to a report announced in April by DigitalMediaIX, a research and market analysis company.

Rohlin said that despite the stereotype of the broke college student, they are typically avid consumers.

“They must come up with the money somehow because they are purchasing these iPhones, so everyone seems to have them,” he said. “They do tend to have less income, but perhaps mom and dad are more generous than we think.”

Eric Courtney, senior visual communication design major, plans to preorder the iPhone 5 on Friday as an upgrade to his iPhone 4. He purchased his first iPhone in high school when he became interested in technology, engineering and design.

“I don’t see myself having any other kind of phone,” he said. “I use it more than anything in my life.”

Courtney said it’s an expense he’s willing to save for because he uses his phone so often and respects Apple as a company.

“This is a priority for me. Being an Apple fan is an expensive hobby, but you make sacrifices,” he said. “It’s really great to invest in a company that strives for pushing the envelope and thinking about what people want before they realize they want it.”

J.P. Morgan’s report projects that 8 million iPhone 5’s will be sold in the fourth quarter at around $600. This price is partially paid by wireless carriers. The consumer will pay $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for the 32GB, and $399 for the 64GB with a two-year contract.

Apple sold over four million iPhone 4S’s the first weekend after it was released October 14, 2011, according to an Apple press release. The company’s fourth quarter revenue for 2011 was $28.27 billion.

Rohlin said technology companies have historically played a role in boosting the economy. He compared Apple’s release of the iPhone to Window’s release of new software in the dot-com era.

“There’s always greater potential for economic spillovers having another Apple or another tech company instead of having another dry cleaner’s starting up,” he said.

The iPhone 5, announced by Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Apple today at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, is claimed to be the world’s thinnest smartphone at 7.6 mm. It features a four-inch, 1,136 by 640 pixel display, an A6 processor and LTE wireless technology.

Courtney said he’s most excited for the 8-megapixel camera and the new lightning adapter.

The iPhone 5 will be available for preorder online starting Friday, September 14 and in stores starting at 8 a.m. Friday, September 21.

Contact Alyssa DeGeorge at [email protected].