While Apple was certainly not the first manufacturer to launch a tablet, it did it better than anyone else had - and by some way. Two years on from the launch of the original iPad and we are about to see the launch of the iPad 3 (or maybe iPad 2S or iPad HD) and while we don't know the final details of what is going to be launched, there has been enough information leaked for us to be able to judge whether or not you should upgrade.

iPad owners: Should you upgrade to iPad 3?

Despite being two years old, the original iPad is still a very decent tablet. At over 13mm thick and weighing 680g, the original iPad is certainly looking rather bulky compared to the slimmest of today's tablets, such as the razor thin Toshiba AT200 which is just 7.7mm thick and weighing just 558g.

Original iPad

However, 13.4mm is still relatively slim and may not be a problem for most users, especially those who might want a little bit of bulk from their technology.

Where the iPad can't live up to the latest tablets, such as the Asus Transformer Prime, is in terms of processing power. The iPad is powered by a single core A4 CPU running at 1GHz, while today's most powerful Android tablets such as the Acer A700, the Transformer Prime and Huawei MediaPad are all quad-core monsters.

Not only will the quad-core chips offer more processing power, they are also more efficient and should theoretically offer longer battery life. However the iPad's battery life of around 10 hours should still be enough for most users. Another area the iPad now seems dated in relation to the latest Android tablets is in terms of screen technology. The latest tablets, like the A700, feature Full HD screens, which leaves the iPad's 768 x 1024 resolution in the dust.

Original iPad

So what of the iPad 3, will is solve all these problems for iPad owners? Well the iPad 3 is almost certainly going to get an updated screen, with the most likely scenario seeing a doubling of the screen resolution. This won't give you Retina Display pixel densities, but should be enough for even the pickiest of tablet connoisseur.

In terms of raw processing power, the iPad 3 will certainly outperform the iPad but may stick with dual-core rather than go for the quad-core chip if the latest leaks are to be believed. Of course processing grunt is not everything when it comes to Apple mobile devices as the company has so tightly integrated the hardware and software, it manages to get more out of apparently less powerful chips than manufacturers using Android can.

Of course the original iPad also lacked a camera and while many don't believe a camera is necessary on a tablet, the presence of a front-facing camera is required if you want to use Skype or FaceTime. While the iPad 3 is expected to have a better camera, it is still not going to replace your compact for most purposes.

So, in the end it comes down to one thing. Are you willing to stump up £400-£500 for a shiny new iPad 3 which will be slimmer, lighter, more powerful , feature a better screen and have front and rear cameras? We suspect most people will, as the upgrade is considerable, and that screen should be too nice for most to resist.

iPad versus iPad 2

iPad 2 owners: Should you upgrade to an iPad 3?

The situation is a lot different if you own an iPad 2. The update, which was launched 12 months ago, slimmed down significantly and at 8.8mm thin is still one of the most attractive tablets on the market.

The iPad 2 also updated the processor to the dual-core A5 chip which may not be as theoretically powerful as the Tegra 3-powered tablets on the market, but most iPad 2 users have few complaints about performance - even with intensive 3D gaming like Infinity Blade.

The iPad 3 will get an upgraded processor (either a dual-core A5X chip or a quad-core A6 chip) and will offer improved performance, but we're not sure this will be significant enough to make iPad 2 owners upgrade.

One of the major upgrades to the iPad 2 was the addition of front and rear cameras. The rear camera was a 0.7 megapixel affair which offered very poor image quality and this is set to be upgraded in the iPad 3, but by how much is still unknown.

Apple iPad 2

The front-facing VGA camera was a more important upgrade, adding the ability to use the tablet for video calling which for many casual users is the primary function of owning an iPad - along with browsing the web while lazing on the couch.

The primary reason for upgrading your iPad 2 to the iPad 3 will be the screen technology. While the iPad 2 screen is good, the prediction is that the new tablet's screen will be sensational and for those who use the tablet a lot for reading iPad versions of newspapers, browsing the web or watching video, then an upgrade might be worth it.

The decision for many will come down to price. If Apple did what it did last year, the price of the 16GB iPad 3 will remain at £399, but with the improved screen tech, a slightly larger battery and a slightly improved camera, we could be seeing a price increase.

In that case we see a lot of iPad 2 owners sticking with their current tablet and waiting until next year to upgrade, but then again we also expect to see a lot of people queuing up overnight on the day the iPad 3 launches, because, well, that's what Apple fans do isn't it.

Make sure you log onto the International Business Times UK at 6pm (GMT) on Wednesday, 7 March for live coverage of the launch and all the details on the iPad 3 and whatever else Apple has in store for us.