Buzz Builds on New iPhone Release

Apple announced an "event" for Wednesday—details expected on iPhone 5

By Emily Feldman
|  Wednesday, Sep 12, 2012  |  Updated 5:54 AM PDT
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Remembering Steve Jobs

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A designer's rendering of the iPhone 5.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook is expected to unveil the newest iPhone iteration on Wednesday in what some analysts predict will be among the biggest technology releases in history.

According to J.P. Morgan’s calculations, Apple is expected to sell about 8 million iPhone 5s in the 4th quarter, for $600 a piece—enough to jolt the country's 4th quarter GDP.

In a note to clients Monday, J.P. Morgan chief economist Michael Feroli said that the device “could boost annualized GDP growth by $3.2 billion, or $12.8 billion at an annual rate,” according to Reuters.

Other analysts expect even higher sales. Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, told Bloomberg News that Apple could sell up to 10 million new iPhones by the end of September.

While Apple has not confirmed details about the new model, and has only suggested that the iPhone will be released at Wednesday’s event through an invitation that displayed a shadowy “5”, reports of a larger screen, thinner body, and compatibility with faster networks have abounded, boosting buzz ahead of the event.

“In our view, the iPhone 5 represents the biggest upgrade in the history of consumer electronics,” Brian White, an analyst at Topkea Capital Markets told the Wall Street Journal. “Given that many consumers expected the iPhone 5 to be unveiled last year, the market has been waiting for twenty-seven months now for this new iPhone.”

White added that the iPhone’s screen should grow half an inch to 4 inches, run on a 4G LTE network and lose about 15 percent of its thickness.

Apple, which has released a new smartphone each year since it debuted the original iPhone in June 2007, was expected to release an iPhone 5 last year, but came out instead with an iPhone 4S—an upgrade from its previous iPhone 4, but with fewer new trappings than expected.

Ahead of this week's expected release, Apple’s competitors have beefed up their offerings to woo consumers before Cook’s announcement. Amazon announced four new Kindle Fire models last week, while Nokia and Motorola unveiled new smartphones.

The expected iPhone introduction—which would be the first since former Apple CEO Steve Jobs died last year— kicks off at 10 a.m. local time in downtown San Francisco. New iPhones have typically hit the market two weeks after they are announced.

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