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Apple's March 9 'Spring Forward' event steals thunder from rivals at Mobile World Congress

Whether intentionally timed or just a matter of coincidence, Apple's just-announced March 9 event is likely to overshadow the Mobile World Congress mega-conference in Barcelona, which will take place the preceding week.

Scheduled for March 2 through 5, Mobile World Congress will conclude just four days before Apple's "Spring Forward" event, where the company is expected to give more details on its upcoming wearable Apple Watch.

Of course, it's likely that Apple's rivals will use MWC to unveil their own wearable devices as the nascent market continues to grow, in addition to new smartphone models intended to take on the iPhone. But as in years past, Apple's ability to build hype is likely to temper excitement for competitors' announcements.

This isn't new: Apple has a history of strategically upstaging industry events where it does not participate, as well as its competitors' announcements.

For example, last year Samsung announced its latest "phablet," the Galaxy Note 4 in early September ahead of its scheduled October release. But just a week later, the iPhone 6 Plus was announced by Apple and launched in a matter of days, beating Samsung's jumbo-sized phone to market. With the wind taken out of its sails, Samsung scrambled for an early launch of the Galaxy Note 4, but sales were tepid in the face of Apple's first phablet.

Apple also has a well-established history of making announcements, issuing press releases, leaking details or scheduling events timed with another major industry show, the annual Consumer Electronics Show in early January.

At MWC 2015, presentations will be made by a number of Apple rivals, including Samsung, which is widely expected to unveil its response to the iPhone 6 in its own Galaxy S6. It's also possible that the South Korean electronics maker, which already has a number of smartwatches available on the market, could respond to the Apple Watch with a new wearable device.

There's also HTC, which is also expected to unveil its flagship M9 smartphone, as well as its own first stab at a wearable device. Google will be in attendance, showing off its Project Ara modular smartphone concept, while Microsoft is expected to take the wraps off new Lumia handsets

Other companies with a presence at MWC will include LG, Huawei, Sony, and Lenovo.

But all week during MWC, anticipation for Apple's soon-to-follow "Spring Forward" event will inevitably weigh over the proceedings. At its keynote presentation, Apple is expected to give the final details on the Apple Watch, which will become available to consumers in April.

The company also has a number of anticipated products in its pipeline that could be given attention at the event. Most notably, the company has been drawing down inventory of its current MacBook Air lineup, a telltale sign that an update is in the works, presumably with Intel's latest Haswell processors.

The company is rumored to be working on an all-new MacBook Air design with a 12-inch Retina display, though it's unclear if the anticipated thin-and-light notebook will be unveiled at the March 9 event. Other products due for updates based on historical trends are the MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, and Apple TV.