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Apple has 'really tough' year ahead: Analyst

The prospect of slowing iPhone sales later this year limits the upside for Apple's stock, one tech analyst said Tuesday.

In the final quarter of last year, the tech giant sold a record 74.5 million iPhones. With a "really tough" comparison for the device, Apple faces a "very real possibility" of negative year-over-year sales, said Abhey Lamba, senior technology analyst at Mizuho Securities.

"That could make it very tough for the stock to work," he said in an interview with CNBC's "Squawk Alley."

An iPhone 6 Plus on display in an Apple store as customers talk with a salesperson.
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
An iPhone 6 Plus on display in an Apple store as customers talk with a salesperson.

Lamba, who has a "neutral" rating on Apple shares, added that he expects "nothing revolutionary" from the company's product event Sept. 9. Apple could unveil details about its next-generation iPhone and Apple TV, but nothing that would significantly move the needle, he said.

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He noted that, despite the "significant headwinds" it faces in coming quarters, Apple holds leeway to develop and monetize new businesses. In July, the company reported it had about $200 billion in cash.

"They've got the resources to try as many projects as they want," Lamba said.

He pointed to the Apple Music streaming service launched earlier this year as well as reports that Apple could develop original television content.

Read MoreApple explores move into original programming: Report

Apple shares were down more than 2 percent Tuesday afternoon. They have lost more than 15 percent in the last three months.