As Apple’s big March event approaches, we’d thought we chuck our predictions in the hat.
The iPad’s stranglehold on desirable tablets is facing its first true competitors.

From our own time hands-on with both the Motorola Xoom , and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, the new generation of Android tablets will create real competition for all those people wanting to buy a tablet in 2011.

Leaner, meaner.

Fundamentally, the new iPad should be thinner and lighter than its older brother. Some rumours are suggesting that it will have a super-thin profile- rivalling the Japan-only NEC Medias’ 7.7mm frame. And that’s a phone. If anyone is capable of squeezing a tablet into that width, it’s Apple. Somehow, through that inimitable Apple magic, we think it’ll get lighter too.

Bigger, faster, stronger.

Following Apple’s complicated mathematical formula (times it by two), we expect there should be a 128GB version announced on March 2. Also expect a faster processor inside the new tablet, maybe even two.

Dual-core processors are the done thing, and if companies can even fit them into phones, we can expect them to fit into a thinner iPad. More RAM would also help stream and load full-screen video, and seems a likely upgrade.

Cameras. Maybe two

If there’s anything more likely than a thinner iPad, it’s an iPad with a camera. By the end of 2011, iPad 2 cases in Japan had holes ready for a camera lens to peep through.

A front-facing camera for iPad FaceTime would make the most sense, but a rear-facing camera would open up the iPad to all sorts of augmented reality apps, and, well, we really like them.

Mac Rumors spotted an iPad screenshot with new app icons for FaceTime, Camera and Photobooth. So we’re ticking the box labelled camera. A dead cert.

iPad with NFC chips, no dips.

Flavour of the month, NFC, would get a huge publicity boost if it comes insidethe next generation of iPads and iPhones. The ability to sync screens, information and login details, as demonstrated by HP earlier this month, could be done through NFC jiggery-pokery, though we don’t think we’d be using an iPad as an e-wallet just yet...

We will see it next week

If it’s just a white iPad, wow, can you imagine the geeky riots? There’s been plenty of gossip on the chances of a higher resolution screen, perhaps even rivalling the iPhone 4’s retina display, but that would be a huge drain on the battery, and there are even whispers that such a screen has already been ear-marked for the iPad 3. The rumours have already begun for that one.

We'll be there to see what Apple have done to the iPad, and will bring you all the juicy details right here.