Are you ready? Is your soul prepared? Apple Inc., as you've no doubt noted in your prayers, will present its new version of the iPhone today. In world-historical terms, this will rank among the big ones: the wheel, the steam engine, God's revelation to Moses.
In secular terms, it will also make a little bit of cash. Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray says Apple could sell 10 million of the devices. By the end of the month. Michael Feroli of JPMorgan Chase estimates the new phone could add as much as a half of a percentage point to U.S. gross domestic product growth in the fourth quarter -- that is, it could demonstrably affect the GDP of the world's largest economy.
For Apple, the iPhone made up 43 percent of sales last year and perhaps 70 percent of profit. As Bloomberg News noted Sept. 11, the $16.2 billion that the company made in iPhone sales last quarter was almost as much as Microsoft Corp.'s $18.1 billion in total sales. Of 58 analysts tracked by Bloomberg who cover Apple, 50 -- 86 percent -- have a buy recommendation or the equivalent on the stock.
But forget such base metrics. Apple's spiritual munificence dwarfs its commercial ambitions. Today, you will be invited to exult in the ecstatic light of a newer, slimmer, handsomer handset. You can watch the unveiling. It will be a beautiful moment. A revelation. And you should not temper your expectations. Because Apple cannot possibly disappoint you.
Do you suffer from anxiety? You won't. Does your husband seem distant lately? Not after today. Perhaps you've been the coach of a certain NFL franchise in Philadelphia for 13 years and can't win a Super Bowl? Behold the iPhone 5. Drought in the Midwest? IPhone 5. Mediating a conflict between antagonistic peoples claiming the same slice of land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean? An app, surely, will be delivered unto you.
The modern soul -- yearning for coherence and meaning in a fragmented, dissolute, arbitrary age -- has found its redeemer. The rough beast has slouched through Bethlehem gate. Its name, ye seekers, is Siri.
(Timothy Lavin is a member of the editorial board of Bloomberg View.)
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