Can Apple hold on to its wow factor?

How will Apple and the smartphone industry fare in 2014?

With Apple's story over the next year likely to center on iPhones and new products designed to make the smartphone more useful, the Cupertino-based company may struggle to impress investors.

"As iPhone users, we are very excited about some products in the pipeline, like innovation in payments, geo-location, wearable devices and converged media with the Apple TV improvements," Barclays analysts led by Ben Reitzes wrote in a report on Thursday. "However, nothing we anticipate seems as revolutionary as the iPhone or iPad – not even a potential TV with motion sensors possibly coming next year."

Earlier this week, the tech giant unveiled CarPlay, a new platform that will enable drivers to integrate their iPhone and car entertainment system.

(Read more: Has the iCar arrived? Apple launches in-car platform)

While this is a positive development, analysts don't expect such products to re-accelerate growth in the iPhone category to sustainable double-digit levels. Apple reported sales of 51 million iPhones during the last quarter of 2013, up 7 percent from the same period in 2012.

The Apple Flagship Store in NYC.
Getty Images

"Some of Apple's newer launches, such as CarPlay, are interesting, but they are essentially just new applications for the existing iPhone. The same is true of 'wearables' such as the long-awaited Apple watch. These are initiatives that Apple should follow, of course, but none are going to make a huge impact on sales," said Charles Sizemore, chief investment advisor of investment advisor Sizemore Capital Management.

Tough quarter ahead?

Barclays says with no major product launches until the second-half, the June quarter could be a tough one for Apple.

"We believe the smartphone market could start to shift away from Apple in the very near term given new product launches from competitors and a lack of new products until the second half of 2014," the bank said.

Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 6 in the second half of this year, with features such as a larger screen, more durable glass and a faster processor.

However, the incremental improvements to its products are unlikely to be enough to reenergize its customer base the same way the original iPhone did in 2007, the bank said. Additionally, the company's margins may come under pressure as it adds advanced new features to new iPhones at similar price point.

"It seems very hard for hardware vendors to sustain competitive advantages for any meaningful length of time," the bank said.

(Read more: Will you be driving an iCar soon?)

Since refreshing its iPhone and tablet lines in the second half of 2012, Apple has experienced a contraction in its market share for both - a continued worry for investors.

Apple's smartphone market share, for example, stood at 18 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, down from 21 percent a year earlier.

Barclays downgraded its recommendation on Apple to neutral from overweight towards the end of February, with a 12-month price target of $570. Apple shares, which are currently trading at $530, are down 5.4 percent year-to-date - underperforming the Nasdaq Composite's 4.2 percent rise.

Sizemore says given how widely owned Apple's stock is there aren't enough new buyers to drive the price sharply higher. However, he thinks the stock offers decent value and expects it to outperform the market over the coming year, forecasting gains of 10-15 percent in 2014.

"Expectations are low, and the stock is cheap. The stock trades at a massive discount to the S&P 500, which is ridiculous. At the least it should trade at the market's price-to-earnings ratio, and I would agree with Carl Icahn that it should trade at a premium," he said.

That said, Sizemore acknowledges Apple seems to have lost its "wow" factor and is no longer an explosive growth company.

Apple's relevance in question

The next era of consumer technology favors those with leadership in web services, the bank said, with devices likely to become less important over the next few years.

"If we were to see evidence that payments and/or new content deals were to markedly enhance the web services aspect of the Apple story vs. Google long-term, we may need to reassess this position," he said.

(Read more: Apple investors, you're trading this stock all wrong: Pro)

While Apple's core strength has been developing universally acclaimed hardware, Google has excelled at delivering internet services such as online maps, email and messaging. But Google appears to be getting better at design, faster than Apple is getting better at web services, according to industry experts.

"We see the best prospects for future revenue in social, web, and the cloud. We believe these services are needed to keep ecosystems ahead of the pack and to attract and retain more users," he said.

—By CNBC's Ansuya Harjani. Follow her on Twitter @Ansuya_H