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Survey suggests iPhone 7 more popular than Apple's 6s, not as big as 6

Apple's newly released iPhone 7 lineup is poised to outperform its predecessor, the iPhone 6s, a new survey suggests. But outdoing the blockbuster performance of the iPhone 6 series remains a tall order.

The UBS Evidence Lab Global Smartphone Survey polled nearly 6,500 consumers across five countries, and found that demand for the iPhone 7 is especially strong in the U.S., where almost half of respondents said they are "very likely" or "somewhat likely" to purchase.

In fact, in America alone, demand for the iPhone 7 is even greater than during the iPhone 6 cycle two years ago. That's offset, however, by China, where demand for the iPhone 7 was tracked lower than the previous two product cycles.

The poll also found that consumer interst is rising for the jumbo-sized 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus, which exclusively features a new dual-lens camera design.

The results gave analyst Steven Milunovich confidence in his estimates, which call for the iPhone 7 series to post 6 percent year over year growth in fiscal year 2017. That would be a change from fiscal 2016, when the company saw its first-ever decline in iPhone sales.

The key factor was pent-up demand for larger-screen iPhones, which led to a so-called "super cycle" for the launch of the iPhone 6.

Apple is widely expected to introduce an all-new form factor iPhone next year, which Milunovich believes could help propel sales once again. He is currently forecasting iPhone unit growth of 16 percent in fiscal year 2018.

UBS has maintained a "buy" rating on AAPL stock with a 12-month price target of $127.