Earlier this week, Microsoft made one of its most important announcements in recent years. At a mysterious press conference in Los Angeles, Steve Ballmer walked on stage to announce the Microsoft Surface.
Today, we’re going to tell you everything we know thus far about the Microsoft Surface. We’ll also suggest a few reasons why it might be an iPad killer if Microsoft plays its cards right.
A true Windows 8 tablet
Microsoft’s reputation has often suffered because of poor quality manufacturing from its hardware partners. The low-cost, bloatware-ridden PCs sold by companies like HP and Compaq have pushed many people away from Microsoft’s operating systems and towards simpler systems like iOS.
Microsoft wants Windows 8 to succeed. Windows 8 is the company’s first foray into mobile operating systems, and new features like Metro UI are particularly unique. However, as good as Windows 8 may seem, it’s only going to be as popular as its best tablet. Since Apple has been successful at pairing its hardware toys with its own operating system, why can’t Microsoft do the same?
Put simply, Windows 8 needs a ‘killer tablet’ in order to be successful. Microsoft wants the Surface to be that tablet.
Features and technical specifications for the Surface
It looks like there will be two different versions of the Microsoft Surface. The first version is a Windows RT-based device that comes pre-installed with Microsoft Office. It features slightly weaker technical specifications than the other version, which comes with Windows 8 Pro. The Windows RT Surface comes in either 32GB or 64GB versions while the Pro Surface can be either 64GB or 128GB.
Both Surfaces have a sleek casing made of a material called VaporMg. According to early reports from Microsoft’s press release, VaporMGis smooth to the touch but feels strong and durable. It’s not as lightweight as other materials out there, but the Surface is still lighter than the iPad. And most consumers are willing to sacrifice some weight if it means their tablet will last longer.
Both versions of the Surface look should have crisper visuals than the Apple iPad. The Surface features a 10.6”, 16:9 widescreen HD display. In fact, the Surface with Windows 8 Pro should come with a full 1080p screen (1920×1080 pixel resolution). Both versions of the Surface will also feature front and back-mounted cameras.
Extra toysand Surface accessories
Up to this point, the Microsoft Surface looks like a normal tablet. Sure, it’s powerful and it has some nice visuals, but will that be enough to beat the iPad on its own?
Microsoft clearly didn’t think so, which is why they added in a cool new toy called the Type Cover. While most tablet covers are designed to safeguard your tablet against scratches and dents, the Surface’s cover does so much more than that. Once you flip the cover open, it turns into a full-scale keyboard.
Most tablet computers have keyboard attachments available. However, the Surface is the first tablet that makes a keyboard an integrated part of the design. That means you don’t have to carry around an external keyboard everywhere you go. Simply slip the cover on your Surface and you’re ready to type away.
There’s also a kickstand on the back of the Surface that holds the tablet at an optimal viewing angle. The kickstand opens up with a satisfying click sound. This might seem like a small, insignificant feature, but it shows that Microsoft has spent time perfecting the little things.
The important thing to note about these features is that they come included with the Surface tablet. So, while Apple forces its users to pay $50 for a basic Smart Cover, every Surface will come with its own Type Cover and kickstand included.
Rounding out the Surface’s list of extra features is a USB port. Most other tablets – including the iPad – don’t have a USB port. This will make it easy to print from your tablet or charge your other electronic toys.
At the June 18th press conference, Microsoft did not announce how much the Microsoft Surface would cost. However, the company did state that the Surface’s price would be competitive with other tablet PCs.
Conclusion: who wins – the Surface or the iPad?
With all of the features and specifications listed above, I would say the Surface beats the iPad in a head-to-head matchup. However, declaring the actual winner of the tablet wars will be much more complicated than that.
I think it all comes down to the price of the Surface. If the Surface costs less than the iPad, then Microsoft should be able to steal some market share away from the iPad. However, since Apple’s share of the tablet market is well over 60%, it’s going to be tough for the Surface to completely dethrone the iPad.
The only thing left to do is wait for the Surface to come out. With a suspected release date of October, tech fans still have a few months of waiting before they see the Surface on store shelves.