Will Microsoft's Surface be smoother than the iPad...
Will Microsoft's Surface be smoother than the iPad?
The eagerly anticipated new tablet from Microsoft was unexpectedly unveiled at a press event at Los Angeles earlier this week and is already causing a bit of a buzz on the internet - but could the Surface really be the 'iPad killer' that causes Apple's sales to slip? Apple may have dominated the tablet market so far, thanks to the popularity of the iPad, but plenty of other people are trying to get a piece of the action. Until now, despite their best efforts, nobody's been able to make much of an impact on Apple's market share, with tablets like the Blackberry PlayBook failing to hit the mark. But this week, software giant Microsoft announced details of its contender for the battle of the tablets at a special press event in Hollywood, Los Angeles. Microsoft sent out invitations to the event late last Thursday, with many of the journalists lucky enough to be on the guest list already suspecting that the subject of the event was likely to be the news that the company was planning to enter the tablet arena. And they weren't disappointed - Microsoft's Chief Engineer, Steve Ballmer, unveiled two new tablets, one running Windows RT and one running Windows 8, saying that these would be part of a new 'family' of computers, designed to work with its new operating systems.
So, what is the Microsoft Surface?
Microsoft says that the new tablets in the range are designed to work as entertainment systems, but that they'll also have all the functionality of a normal PC. According to the company's press release about the two versions unveiled at the event, the Windows RT version is 9.3mm thick and weighs 676g (about the size of the iPad). It has a 10.6 inch ClearType HD display screen and an ARM processor. You'll be able to choose between a 32GB version and a 64GB version, both of which also feature detachable thick touch keyboard covers and built-in kickstands, so you can place it upright - ideal for when you want to use your home broadband to stream movies or TV shows. The Windows 8 Pro version of the Surface will be slightly larger - 13.5mm thick and weighing 903g -and feature a third generation Intel Processor. It will also feature a 10.6 inch ClearType HD display screen, touch cover and kickstand, but will come with a pen and palm block too. 64GB and 128GB versions will be available. Microsoft have also stated that the Surface's casing will be made using "a unique approach called VaporMg (pronounced Vapor-Mag), a combination of material selection and process to mould metal and deposit particles that creates a finish akin to a luxury watch". The company claims this means they can produce cases that are thin but strong too.
Will the Surface rise above the competition?
At the moment, it's difficult to say whether or not the Surface is going to be able to take on the iPad and business experts have been cautious in their predictions so far. For example, Carolina Milanesi, a tablets analyst at Gartner, told The Telegraph she doesn't think the company views the Surface "as a big volume driver device in either version, but they establish the benchmark, sell a few at decent margins, and then let the ODM [original device manufacturer, eg HP or Dell] partners drive prices down." Ed Maguire, an analyst at Credit Agricole Securities USA, was reported in The Washington Post as saying that if the Surface is as functional as the Xbox, Microsoft may just be onto a winner:
“When you add up all of the relationships Microsoft has through the Xbox, Microsoft has all of the content relationships to compete with Apple"
Likely to go on sale at about the same price as the iPad, the Surface is slated for release in the US shortly before Christmas, so there's likely to be much more news about it coming out soon, so keep reading our blog for the latest. Do you think the Microsoft Surface could threaten the Apple iPad's dominance? Would you consider buying a Surface? Just let us know by leaving a comment below …