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Apple won't make investors happy until it innovates again, say pros

The Apple Flagship Store in NYC.
Getty Images
The Apple Flagship Store in NYC.

Apple may have beat earnings, but analysts say that the company will need to show signs that it's innovating again to get investors excited.

(Read more: Apple drops 5% on weak iPhone sales, revenue outlook )

The company's earnings—$14.50 a share on sales of $57.59 billion, which beat consensus expectations—didn't keep the stock from dropping almost 8 percent after-hours.

Flat growth in many businesses scared investors off, according to analysts.

(Read more: Apple's China deal bigger than Street thinks)

What investors need from Apple is a sign that it is going to do something innovative in the near future that will help drive sales, said Max Wolff, chief economist at ZT Wealth, on CNBC's "Closing Bell."

"They have to show they can at least copy the best-of-breed phones and do something innovative," he said. The company must push back on investor Carl Icahn, who "will be emboldened on these numbers and ... on the naysayers they used to never have to deal with who are emboldened whenever they do anything that is ever less than perfect," he added.

With Apple's cash hoard rising 8 percent, to $159 billion, in its first quarter, Icahn's push for the company to distribute more cash to shareholders will become increasing difficult to ignore.

(Read more: Icahn: I'm better off if Apple does nothing; I plan to buy more stock )

But stock buybacks or dividends aren't going to fix Apple's long-term problems with investors, said Trip Chowdhry, a managing director at Global Equities Research. Instead, the company must find new leadership to drive innovation and growth.

(Read more: Icahn buys $500M more of Apple)

"There's still a problem at the executive branch at Apple," he said. "We can get excited about today's results and the stock may go up, but I think there is still a need for change in Apple's management."

Chowdhry, who has an overweight rating on the on the stock with an $800 price target, said that while the competition continues to intensify, the iPhone maker is coasting on its past successes.

(Slideshow: Rising smartphone stars look to outshine Apple)

"The next 10 years in the tech industry will be about people who have an idea and the execution to innovate and defy odds. This belongs to people like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Larry Page—not Tim Cook," he said.

"They cannot compete with Google," Chowdhry said. "Apple lives in a mind-set that their main competition is still Microsoft—they are living in a relaxed environment."

By CNBC's Cadie Thompson. Follow her on Twitter @CadieThompson.

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