If this is iPad 2, what will iPad 3 look like?
iPad 2 Reuters

Apple's long-awaited iPad 3 is expected to be out on March 7 in San Francisco.

With an invitation showcasing a picture of an iPad screen, Apple recently said: "We have something you really have to see. And touch," referring to the proposed launch event.

The web is upbeat about rumours related to the device, some of which can be taken with a pinch of salt. However with highly definitive patterns emerging over a period of time, the iPad 3 is likely to come with improved features. The invitation specially reserved for select members of the media and industry may see the light of other devices of Apple as well.

After reinventing the table market for two years, Apple is counting on the new model to beat back competition from newer devices running Google's Android software.

Here is a look at features that are most likely to be found in the upcoming tablet:

The iPad 3's design is not likely to be radically different. The external design of the upcoming iPad 3 looks like it will only offer a few minor differences compared to the current model according to various components pictured in the leaks. In fact the apps for iPad are specifically designed according to the dimensions of the previous two models, hence design changes in terms of dimension are unlikely. However reducing thickness can be an option along with the weight. Also moving of the camera to a different angle is a possibility with better resolution.

LTE Networks:
Apple has been working to make the iPad compatible with LTE. And the company is planning to bring LTE to the iPad before they include it in iPhone 5 as the tablet has a bigger battery and can better support the power requirements of the newer technology. Also Verizon and AT&T have already spread out through US to offer users faster access to data in the last two years. With Apple extending its tablet family to include iPads for both AT&T and Verizon, much emphasis being given by both these networks on their 4G data capabilities will most likely ensure the presence of LTE in Apple's device.

Siri, the intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator which works as an application for Apple iOS which works as a natural language user interface to answer questions, make recommendations and perform actions by delegating request to a set of web services has become a hit among users. As Siri has now become an integral part of iOS 5, it seems only natural for the feature to trickle down to iPad 3

Quad-core processor:
Industry insiders have been expecting Apple to debut the iPad 3 with a new quad-core A6 processor. The iOS 5.1 operating system code has given out what that next generation iPad 3 will contain, the quad-core A6 processor. The "S5L8960X"code information found in the code suggests newer processor as the original iPad's A4 chip was called S5L8930X and the iPad 2′s A5 chip was called the S5L8940X. Even though CNBC tweeted that the Apple iPad 3 will come with Quad-core and LTE support, a previous claim by the new corporation about the location where the event will take place was refuted by Jim Dalrymple, an Apple company expert. The refuting was proven right as the latest official report shows a different location.

Moreover with Nvidia and Qualcomm already introducing quad-core processors to newer devices, the ARM quad-core designs are coming from various partners relating to iPad 3. Lately even Korea Times reported about Samsung being the manufacturer of the latest A6 processors even though both Apple and Samsung are involved in patent battles.

Retina Display:
The iPad 3 display resolution has become a matter of debate. The retina display is presently found only in iPhone 4 and 4S models. Apple is reportedly testing suppliers' current shipments of 2048 x 1536 resolution on 9.7-inch displays as reported by tech websites. Early December of last year saw the leak related to a Sharp-manufactured 2048 x 1536 retina display. As Sharp will manufacture panels relating to the device, it is highly likely to find better resolution in the upcoming iPad 3. Given that the screen size is purported to stay the same, the iPad 3's pixels size will be one-fourth the size of previous versions - catapulting it to the exalted Retina Display status.

Improved Camera:
Many users have complained about the fuzzy and noisy images when taken in low light and with quad-core being implemented on the device, there are possibilities of 8-megapixel camera as processor will render support to higher resolution camera. The new features in iOS 5.1 also point to improved camera access from lock screen.

Updated Operating System:
Usually the introduction of new hardware brings about a new OS or updated version every time Apple holds an event. With iOS 5.1 has attained Golden Master status which means it's near enough the final version, it matches with the unveiling of iPad 3.

Thunderbolt Port:
The Thunderbolt Port is found in MacBook Pro and MacBook Air introduced during 2011. According to a recent Apple patent application, the company appears to be taking a greater hand in Thunderbolt development. The result may be faster sync and faster power charging which most probably may be added to iPad 3.

Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook aims to give customers more reasons to stick with the iPad even as rivals undercut it on price. Whether the rumours transpire into reality or not, Apple is likely to surprise its users as it does every year.