By The Denver Post
Want to know about the future state of the American economy? It's very likely in your hands or your pocket, or your purse.
Just five years ago, Apple introduced its iPhone. It was not the first smartphone on the market, but it propelled the revolution that has given us apps and technological advancements that, literally, put a world of information at our fingertips.
It has changed not just how we communicate, but has had a profound impact on everything from business to entertainment to journalism.
True, much of the manufacturing work is done oversees, but the benefits to the U.S. economy are hard to miss.
The success of the iPhone gave birth to the iPad and propelled Apple to the title of most valuable company in American history based on stock-market value.
As The Wall Street Journal recently reported, sales of the iPhone 5 could, according to an economist at J.P Morgan Chase, add up to a half of a percentage point to the annualized rate of economic growth in the U.S. this quarter.
In layman's terms, that's a big deal.
Apple is a dominant financial player because it produces its own device, but Google is making waves and money with its Android operating system, which is used on the majority of smartphones.
And companies such as Motorola and Nokia raced in recent months to beat Apple to market with the latest, most innovative devices.
And no wonder.
Nearly 50 percent of adults in the U.S. now own a smartphone, according to the Pew Research Center.
Earlier this year, the technology trade group TechNet estimated that the "app economy" was responsible for more than 400,000 new jobs in the U.S. in the last five years.
It is made possible, to a certain extent, by the government making "spectrum" available for mobile communications. As such, the U.S. leads the world in access to mobile broadband. Still more will be needed if the faster mobile 4G platform is to reach its potential and the far-flung corners of the country.
Last year, the Deloitte accounting firm predicted U.S. investment in 4G networks could account for $73 billion to $151 billion in GDP growth and 371,000 to 771,000 new jobs by 2016.
We'd like to see it.
Smartphones represent a growing segment of the economy and are an example of how innovation and technology can propel America's economy in the 21st century global marketplace.