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Apple analyst to investors: Get ready for a REALLY long wait for a game changer

The next big thing at Apple could still be years off, Maxim Group technology analyst Nehal Chokshi said Tuesday, ahead of the tech giant's earnings release after the closing bell.

"What I would be pretty excited about, but it's three or four years down the line, is an iCar," Chokshi told CNBC's "Squawk Box," adding he does not see anything truly innovative in the near term.

"If you look at the annuity value of a car relative to a phone and on a per-person basis and the profits that you can be associated, that's very significant," he argued. "That's a needle mover."

Don't look for the Apple Watch, which just celebrated its first anniversary, to be a game changer, Chokshi said, estimating the device at about 5 percent of revenue.


Apple is expected to report Tuesday afternoon its first quarterly revenue decline year over year since 2003.

Chokshi said he expects a slump in iPhone sales in the second quarter. "You're coming into an … [iPhone 6S] year. So you're at the end of a product cycle," he said.

The iPhone accounts for 50 percent of the company's overall revenue and about 75 percent of operating profits, he said.

"Is this year-over-year decline that we're seeing in the '6S' going to continue into '7' or not? The key answer, based on our survey work, is absolutely not," he said. The iPhone 7 is expected to be unveiled in the fall.

Acknowledging the risk of users keeping their iPhones longer, Chokshi said: "I think that's why Apple instituted the program ... where you can buy a phone and keep on upgrading every 12 months. That becomes more of a subscription service."

Chokshi cited Apple's services business — including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay, and iCloud — as a bright spot that accounts for about 15 percent of revenue.

"It's a high-margin business," he said. "The importance of the services is it gives you an indication as to what is the stickiness of the Apple ecosystem. It also gives a way to actually gauging how big is the ecosystem; how much it's actually growing."

In its fiscal first-quarter earnings report released in January, Apple said its active installed base was 1 billion users. That extrapolates to about 20 percent year-over-year growth, Chokshi said.

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