Steve Jobs with iPad 2
The iPad 2 didn't get a screen upgrade, but the iPad 3 may see a "retina" display.

The iPad 2 has been with us since spring and with the iPhone and iPod ranges both seeing yearly updates, it stands to reason that Apple will be releases an iPad 3 in the first quarter of 2012.

With rumour mills churning out the usual never-ending list of possible features, here at the IBTimes we're showing our cards, with what we think the iPad 3 will and won't have.

Firstly with the obvious; the iPad 3 will be faster and have more storage. Expect to see a shiny new A6 quad-core processor and 1 GB of RAM take the iPad even further into the realms of laptop-rivalling performance. Gaming and graphical performance will take a quantum leap, encouraging developers to create even more intensive apps and games.

Storage is currently pegged at 16GB, 32GB and 64GB, and as we've seen incremental updates with the iPod and iPhone over the years, expect the iPad 3 to jump to 32GB, 64GB and 128GB; but don't hold out for an SD card slot anytime soon. Slots for storage cards make perfect sense in the real world, but this is Apple, and an extra slot is ugly.

To the dismay of many, the original iPad had no cameras. The iPad 2 solved this in part by offering front and back cameras, but both of fairly poor resolution - although it could be argued that no one would use their iPad to take proper photographs.

Regardless, the iPad 3 will undoubtedly feature uprated cameras, probably along the lines of a 4-megapixel shooter with flash on the back, and a lower-resolution one on the front for Facetime calls. The iPhone 4S does have a better camera, but Apple will want to showcase the iPhone as its camera-rivalling device - the iPad will never be a camera replacement.

The iPad 2 couldn't get much thinner and lighter if it tried, but expect design genius Jony Ive to work his magic on the tablet and shave off a few precious grams and millimetres, while preserving the screen size and impressive battery life. The tapered design with aluminium back will probably remain, and while a range of iPod nano-style colours is possible, black and white are likely to be the only options for now.

The showcase feature of the iPad 3 will almost certainly be the retina display. Recent reports claim that Apple is struggling to find manufacturers who can produce an ultra-high resolution screen in the numbers it needs, but compared to the iPhone 4 and 4S, the iPad 2's screen does seem a little fuzzy. Retina is needed and it will almost certainly happen, even if the pixel density isn't quite as high as the magazine-quality iPhone.

Near field communication - or NFC - is the technology starting to appear in credit cards and smartphones that lets users make payments instantly by touching their phone or card on a shop terminal. The iPhone 4S was tipped to include an NFC chip, but it doesn't and despite rumours, we don't think the iPad 3 would be Apple's first demonstration of NFC technology. NFC would be more suited to a pocket device, not a tablet that would need removing from a bag before it could be tapped against a shop terminal.

We don't expect the iPad 3 to be a complete overhaul - such as the iPhone 4 was to the iPhone 3GS - but the standard policy of small updates across the board will probably apply, and bring with it a solid update to a device that is still at the top of its game.