Rush for new iPhone could give boost to struggling economy
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CHARLOTTE -- The iPhone 5 has arrived and it's already reached record-breaking sales. Experts say it could be a good sign of recovery for the economy.
Hundreds were lined up across North Carolina and the country Friday, hoping to be one of the first to get their hands on the highly anticipated smartphone. In addition to the speed, customers are after the bigger, 4-inch display and an upgraded camera.
"Besides the fact that it actually makes phone calls too, which is nice," said customer David Milam.
It’s the lightest and thinnest iPhone yet, with what Apple is calling the world's most advanced mobile operating system. And its release is shattering previous iPhone sales.
"It's like running the Gauntlet in there trying to get these phones and get them activated," said Milam.
Before lines formed, pre-orders for the iPhone 5 topped 2 million within the first 24 hours, according to Apple. And 10 million phones could be sold by Monday.
"I would say it’s good news," said Eric Hake, associate professor of economics at Catawba College.
Hake said if sales continue on this path, it could pump $3 billion into the economy by the end of the year. But the question remains whether it's new spending.
"They are probably also going to be saying, 'well we're cutting back on something else,' at least for a couple months," said Hake.
Hake said the biggest impact will be seen long term, with consumers spending more each month on their bills and new accessories. And the enthusiasm is clear, with consumers already thinking about the next iPhone.
According to Apple, demand for the iPhone 5 exceeds initial supplies. They say the majority of pre-order will be delivered Friday, but many are scheduled for October deliveries.