Apple is gearing up for another big event Monday, as it prepares to offer its usual spring refresh of its products. The company is expected to update its iPhone and iPad lines, and introduce new bands for the Apple Watch, at its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.
Reports have indicated that Apple is going to release a smaller version of the iPhone called the iPhone SE believed to be short for “special edition.” The company is going back to the 4-inch size that it used for earlier models, most recently the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. Apple’s return to the smaller form could serve a couple of purposes. For one, it could offer a high-end alternative to the increasingly large screen sizes on offer from the likes of Samsung, LG and Apple itself, which may appeal to those who find newer phones too big. If priced more cheaply than the company’s current phones, it could also give Apple a stronger competitor to offer in the low-priced, mid-performance phone space which is becoming very popular in crucial overseas smartphone markets such as India and China.
A chance to thrive in a new market could be particularly appealing for Apple now, having recently reported the slowest annual growth for iPhone sales in the product’s history.
The company is also expected to introduce a smaller version of the iPad Pro, the tablet line Apple first introduced last year that was intended as a sort of laptop-replacement, with keyboard and stylus accessories. The first iPad Pro had a 12.9-inch screen; reports suggest that the model introduced Monday will have the same 9.7-inch screen as the current iPad.
Apple has not announced sales figures for the iPad Pro itself. But a report from the analysis firm IDC found that, despite some tepid reviews, the iPad Pro had outsold close competitors such as the Microsoft Surface Pro. The firm reported that Apple had shipped a little more than 2 million units of the iPad Pro, as compared to 1.6 million units of the Surface line most of which the firm said were of the Surface Pro.
The tablet market overall has been weak for several months, with sales growth declining. The only bright spot for the overall market has been the area Apple’s targeting with the iPad Pro, which analysts call detachables. This has been taking off as more consumers and businesses eye them as a lightweight replacement for laptops. Samsung also recently began selling a $900, Windows 10-powered tablet designed to be used with a keyboard attachment called the Galaxy TabPro S.
In addition to new products, Apple watchers may look for any mentions of the company’s ongoing legal and ideological battle with the FBI. After all, the event comes just one day before the company is due another high-profile stage: federal court. Apple has vehemently and publicly protested a court order compelling it to create software that would allow the agency to bypass security measures on an iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the shooters in the San Bernardino attacks late last year. The government insists this would be a vital measure to solving the case, while Apple sees it as potentially catastrophic for consumer privacy.
On Tuesday, representatives from Apple and the FBI will appear before a judge in the District Court of the Central District of California to argue their cases. As Fortune’s Jeff John Roberts reported, US Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym last week published guidelines saying that very few members of the media or public will be allowed in the courtroom or in spectator rooms within the courthouse.
The courthouse is in Riverside, Calif., about 15 miles southwest of San Bernardino.