Meet the Largest Publicly Traded Company Ever: The United States of Apple

The iPhone 5 launch on Wednesday, Sept. 12, is sure to be the most important event for tech investors this year. The Motley Fool will be hosting a live chat where our top tech analysts will answer your questions and break down what the announcement means for Apple and tech investors everywhere. Be sure to swing by at 12:45 p.m. ET tomorrow for all your coverage of Apple's next big announcement.

There isn't a lot of mystery as we head into tomorrow's Apple (NAS: AAPL) media invent. We're getting the iPhone 5, and the event is going to be huge.

The only real question is how huge. Apple has historically sold more smartphones with every passing generation, but the iPhone 5 will be special. It is widely reported to be the tech giant's first material upgrade in size and design. It's also rumored to be the first iPhone that will work seamlessly with China Mobile (NYS: CHL) , China's leading wireless carrier, with nearly 688 million customers.

Yes, China Mobile's user base is more than twice the entire U.S. population. It's that big, and that's just one reason investors giddily bid Apple shares to a fresh all-time intraday high on Monday.

What will this all mean for Apple? Well, JPMorgan's Michael Feroli asks an even bigger question: What will this all mean for the U.S. economy?

Call waiting
Feroli's equity analysts figure that Apple will sell roughly 8 million iPhones next quarter. It would be Apple's first fiscal quarter of 2013, but it's the calendar year's fourth quarter of 2012.

Wireless neophytes may mistakenly believe that Apple's generating $200 in revenue on each of its entry-level iPhones, but it's more than that. Wireless carriers in this country are paying Apple roughly $400 on top of that, knowing that they can more than that make that amount back by locking in accounts into two-year contracts.

In short, we're talking about $600 per phone -- or $4.8 billion in revenue for Apple. For GDP purposes we have to back out JPMorgan's estimate of $200 per phone in overseas components. The end result is that GDP will increase by $3.2 billion during the holiday quarter as a result of Apple, or $12.8 billion on an annualized basis.

How big is that number? Well it would be 0.33% -- or a sixth -- of the 2% boost being projected in GDP this year.

If that sounds impressive, let's keep going. Is Apple really only going to sell 32 million iPhone 5s during the next four quarters?

At least one analyst, FBR Capital Markets analyst Craig Berger, expects Apple to sell as many as 250 million iPhone 5 handsets during the product's lifetime. If 32 million iPhones are a boost to GDP, what would 250 million do over a couple of years? Even JPMorgan's own Mark Moskowitz turned heads last week by forecasting 167.9 million iPhones, up from his earlier target of 147.4 million, in fiscal 2013 across all available iPhones.

It gets better.

More in store
FedEx (NYS: FDX) shares took a hit last week after the company hosed down its guidance. However, then there were reports that the parcel-delivery giant told employees to brace for a "surge volume" event later this month. Apple has traditionally relied on FedEx for speedy home deliveries.

Won't the release of the iPhone 5 help shippers and perhaps even shopping-mall food courts? What about a small company like ZAGG (NAS: ZAGG) that sells third-party accessories? There's always the fear that the iPhone 5 will be so sturdy and scratchproof that it won't need ZAGG's protective screen covers or cases, but new iPhones -- especially considering what many believe will be a slightly larger device -- will trigger a run on new accessories.

Oh, and what about Apple's chain of stores? The iPhone 5 sales are already being baked into the metrics, but what about the employees? They received pay raises of up to 25% earlier this summer after a review of the chain's operations. Won't some of them be spending the extra disposable income in ways that may add to the country's GDP?

Forget about the fiscal cliff, soaring oil prices, and one of the worst droughts recorded in U.S. history -- the iPhone 5 to the rescue!

You have only one day now before the iPhone 5 hits. Take the time to get access to this comprehensive iPhone 5 report that the Fool has put together. Sign up today and get a detailed comprehensive write-up, an iPhone 5 special report, as well as regular future updates for no additional cost! Just Get started.

Meanwhile, a new premium report on Apple details the opportunities and challenges in store for its shareholders. It's also been updated to include new iPhone 5 details! Check it out now.

The article Meet the Largest Publicly Traded Company Ever: The United States of Apple originally appeared on

The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and China Mobile.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of FedEx and Apple and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.Longtime Fool contributorRick Munarrizcalls them as he sees them. He owns no shares in any of the stocks in this story and is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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