Even without knowing what changes the hotly anticipated iPhone 7 will usher in, Maxim Group is expecting "a significant upgrade cycle" for Apple in the coming years, analyst Nehal Chokshi said Wednesday.
Apple topped analyst's expectations for iPhone shipments when it reported fiscal third-quarter earnings on Tuesday, but orders were still down significantly from the year-ago period as customers await the latest iteration of the flagship product.
Maxim anticipates at least two years of annual growth for iPhone shipments. That assessment is based in part on the results of a Maxim survey that suggests the mid-cycle precursor to the iPhone 8, the 7S model, will attract more buyers than the 6S did ahead of the iPhone 7 launch.
"We've been doing survey work for five years, and what we see is, even without knowledge of what's going to be new, there is a significant upgrade cycle coming up," Chokshi told CNBC's "Squawk Box."
In Maxim's view, that should remove one of the underpinnings for a commonly evoked bear case, which sees Apple oscillating between one good year and one bad year for the foreseeable future.
A prominent Apple watcher recently said the iPhone 7 could be released as early as September.