It was a historic day for Apple (AAPL -3.42%). The iPhone maker became the first U.S. company to achieve a market cap of $2 trillion, making it the world's most valuable company. Apple hit this milestone just two months after hitting $1.5 trillion and two years after becoming the first publicly traded company in the U.S. to hit $1 trillion.  

The ink is barely dry on this latest watermark, and one analyst is already prognosticating that Apple will hit $3 trillion -- and sooner than many think.

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Technology analyst Dan Ives with Wedbush has gone out on a limb, predicting that Apple's market cap will balloon to $3 trillion by 2023. He cited several factors that he believes will elevate the company to the next level.

Ives points to the ongoing transition to 5G -- the next generation of mobile technology -- and the resulting upgrade "super cycle" as a major catalyst. In a recent note to clients, Ives said, "Apple has a 'once in a decade' opportunity over the next 12 to 18 months as we estimate roughly 350 million of Cupertino's 950 million iPhones worldwide are in the window of an upgrade opportunity."

He also cites Apple's services segment, which has been an increasingly important part of the company's business over the past several years. Over the previous four quarters, services has generated revenue of nearly $52 billion, up 18% year over year, and now represents 19% of Apple's total revenue. Ives values Apple's services business at between $700 billion and $750 billion.

Ives has a reputation for being among the most bullish of Apple watchers, repeatedly suggesting that the company's market cap would cross the $2 trillion threshold by year's end. Turns out his estimates were right, with Apple reaching the benchmark months ahead of schedule.