The iPad 3 is the most-anticipated gadget after the iPhone 5 and the legal successor to iPad2. Speculation is rife about its expected launch any time soon.

Rumours abound that an array of special features are packed into the GenNext Tab - iPad 3. Check out the most-anticipated features of the most-awaited gadget this year:

iPad 3 on Steroids

1. Design

Expect a teardrop design of the iPad 3 with aluminium plate casing (as might be the case with upcoming iPhone 5 and iPods). But do not expect the iPad 3 to be thinner than the iPad 2, as Apple is likely to include an improved battery to address the endless battery woes of its fans.

2. Siri

Siri, Apple's revolutionary voice command personal assistant has been in the limelight ever since the launch of iPhone 4S. Besides, expect Siri to address language barriers with the upgraded version of the voice command technology on iPad 3, that will feature support for Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Italian and Spanish.

3. Near Field Communication (NFC)

NFC technology enables smartphone and tablet users to make simplified transactions, exchange digital content and connect devices with a simple touch.

Rumours abound that Apple software engineers have developed an app supporting NFC on the new iPhone 5. Apple users might relish the thought of cashless transactions and hassle-free online payment system on iPad 3 too.

4. Retina Display

The iPad 2 launch disappointed fan expectations, as Apple shipped the same old iPad display (instead of Retinal display) with 1024x768 pixels and a pixel density of 132 ppi.

The iPad 3 display, however is expected to go Retinal with a whopping 2048x1536pixels resolution and a modified IGZO (indium, gallium, zinc) technology for an improved pixel density of 330 ppi.

5. A6 Quad-Core processor

Expect the iPad 3 to feature an A6 quad-core processor to facilitate the processing demands of amped up display technology and an improved Siri. Also, on the cards is updated processing-core management software with support for dual-core processing on the A5 iPhone and iPad chip as well as quad-core processing.

As an improvement over iPad 2, the successor is speculated to integrate a fast 1.2-to-1.5 GHz quad-core A6 chip, with probably 1GB or higher RAM size.

6. Battery

Expect an improved battery on the iPad 3, as Apple is keen on addressing the endless battery woes of its fans. As of now, the iPad 2 ships with Li-Po 6930 mAh battery which yields about 10 hours of talk time.

According to DigiTimes, the iPad 3 will pack a powerful 14,000 mAh battery to accommodate power requirements for the HD screen and the potent quad-core processor.

7. 4G LTE connectivity

Owing to major design constraints requiring a complete overhaul, Apple did not support 4G LTE on iPhone 4S. As more and more people look forward to 4G technology for superior download and upload speeds, Qualcomm is reportedly developing a new thinner LTE chipset that might address Apple's prime concerns.

But, beware that the new LTE chipset will see light of day only in the second or third quarter of 2012, which in effect might delay Apple's iPad 3 release, if it's adopted.

8. Face Recognition

Good news for Apple fans, as the company has proposed to adopt Face Recognition as the primary method of unlocking the iOS device, owing to escalating thefts of iPad devices. The Cupertino company filed a patent way back in 2010 reserving its rights for the Face recognition technology on smartphone and tablet devices.

Expect the new security feature to enrich the value-added features proposed on iPad 3.

9. Revamped Operating System - iOS 5

Expect iOS 5 to incorporate some major interface design revamp and an assortment of goodies - Notification Centre, iMessage, Newsstand, Reminders, Twitter, Camera, Photos, Safari and PC Free tools, besides the addition of iCloud service. The iOS 5 boasts about 200 new features exclusively made for your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.

10. Camera

The iPad 2 was crippled with a poor 0.7 megapixel camera offering 720p video recording capability and an equally sub-standard secondary VGA camera for video chatting. However, its competitors are offering 3 megapixel and 5 megapixel cameras at cheaper prices, which is a fatal blow to Apple's prospects in tablet market.

So, don't be surprised if Apple bumps up the camera specs in iPad 3 with a 5 megapixel or 8 megapixel rear camera alongside an LED flash. The flash unit is expected to be separate from the camera sensor, besides enabling full HD (1080p) video recording on the device. Also, on the upgrade radar is an overhaul of the front-facing (secondary) camera with 2 megapixel sensor.

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