A Partner's Guide To Apple's March Event: 5 Rumored Releases

What's In Store For Apple?

Apple has made headlines over the past few weeks for its ongoing battle with the FBI over encryption policies for an iPhone that was used by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino attacks.

However, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has another important event in March -- its "Spring Forward" product launch event, where Apple is expected to take the wraps off upgraded products, including an improved iPhone and iPad and new Apple Watch bands.

At last year's March event, Apple unveiled the Apple Watch, the MacBook's fourth redesign and iOS 8.2. But what products can we expect to be on the stage at this year's event? Following are five keys to help partners navigate Apple's upcoming March event.

Product Security Discussions

The date of Apple's product launch has not yet been confirmed -- while initial media outlets were reporting that it would occur March 15, reports from popular Apple blog 9to5Mac now point to March 21 as a possible launch date.

If true, March 21 would be an interesting date as Apple will challenge the FBI on March 22 over a motion filed by the Department of Justice for the company to help the government unlock the iPhone at issue in the case.

Due to this timing, Apple may use its event as a platform to discuss its controversy with the government in more detail, as well as the security platform surrounding its hardware and iCloud.

New iPhone 5SE

Apple may debut a smaller iPhone, which reportedly will be called the iPhone 5SE.

The new iPhone 5SE is for consumers who aren't attracted to the larger 4.7-inch screen of the iPhone 6s or the 5.5-inch screen of the iPhone 6s Plus but would still like to upgrade. This new iPhone reportedly will have a 4-inch screen, about the same size as the iPhone 5S, and will pack the A8 or A9 chip that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s run on, respectively.

Finally, the iPhone 5SE may have upgraded camera features, such as the ability to take Live Photos, as well as an NFC chip for Apple Pay.

Upgraded Apple Watch Design

A year ago, Apple showed off details for its new Apple Watch during its March event. This year, Apple may show off new fashion upgrades to the wearable -- through new bands.

The company might unveil new colors for the Apple Watch Sports Band, as well as a new band for the watch made from new materials.

Apple has showed off new bands in the past via third-party partnerships, such as a new Hermes high-end band for the watch, so the company might be showing off its new band as a result of a partnership with another accessory manufacturer.

iPad Upgrade

Though Apple only recently took the wraps off its newest iPad product, the iPad Pro, the company may soon reveal another new tablet at its March event.

Rumors point to an upgraded iPad Air, which may contain a 9.7-inch screen and include features such as a smart connector, support for new accessories such as a smart keyboard and Apple Pencil, and an improved camera system with a rear flash. In addition, the new iPad reportedly will see a performance boost with the new A9 processor.

Upgraded MacBook With Skylake

All eyes are also on the MacBook, which Apple may improve with a new touch screen and a new sixth-generation Intel Skylake processor, boosting performance, power efficiency and graphics for the laptop.

Last year, Apple revealed a new fourth-generation redesign of the MacBook, and this year, rumors say that it will start producing new 12-inch and 13-inch MacBook Pro models early in the year. If these models are not revealed at the March event, they could be unveiled at Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference in June.