iPhone upgrades will get slower—and that's ok, analyst says

Global smartphone slowdown?

If iPhone replacement cycles are slow now, they're only going to get worse — and everyone should be fine with that, one analyst told CNBC's "Power Lunch" Wednesday.

As Apple prepares a preview of its newest wares, Wall Street will watch for signs that Apple can keep selling at the same rate it used to. While there are still plenty of reasons to upgrade, wireless carriers are seeing replacement rates pull in, even offering buy one, get one offers to boost sales, said Walt Piecyk, analyst at BTIG.

"Maybe that replacement cycle has extended," Piecyk said. "There's certainly evidence of that over the past six months — the December quarter, then more dramatically in the March quarter. It's frankly only going to get worse in the June and September quarter in anticipation of new products."

In the last quarter, Apple reported its first year-over-year quarterly sales drop since 2003 amid slowing iPhone sales. Now, it's ramping up for Monday's developer conference, where it expected to announce some features that will roll out on future iPhones.

Even if the smartphone market slows down to low single-digit growth, Piecyk said he'd still recommend Apple stock, because it would give the company time to develop new products.

"If you look at the world on a larger basis, a lot of people still don't have LTE smartphones in some of these emerging markets," Piecyk said. "So if you're talking about a global basis, there's certainly plenty of reasons for people to upgrade. If you're just looking at high-end smartphones, product is aging. I mean, a large majority of the customers are still on 5 or 5s."