It's an interesting time for the tablet marketplace these days. On the same day that Apple sent out invitations for its long-awaited iPad Mini event, Microsoft finally dropped some details regarding its Microsoft Surface tablet. And so, after 6+ months since Microsoft first announced Surface, we finally have pricing and release date information.
Here's what we now know.
The base level Microsoft Surface tablet running Windows RT will set you back $499, putting it on par with the entry level iPad. The lone difference is that the entry level Surface tablet comes with 32GB of storage while the equivalent iPad comes with just 16GB of storage.
It's important to note, however, that the $499 price tag does not include the Microsoft Touch Cover - which is kind of a bummer given that the Touch Cover is seemingly the main selling point of the device, or at the very least the key differentiator between the Surface tablet and every thing else. Note that there's also a 64GB version of the Microsoft Surface tablet for $699 that does come with a Touch Cover included.
And assuming you want the base model Surface tablet, the Touch Cover will cost you $119 while the Touch Cover with tactile feedback will cost you $129. As a quick point of interest, isn't the whole point of having a Touch Cover to emulate the typing experience? Why, then, not just sell one Touch Cover for $129?
All that aside, it'll be interesting to see how the Microsoft Surface competes with the iPad. Sure, the specs may be about the same, but spec wars are a thing of the past. Today, it's more about what you can do with your device than it is about how fast it necessarily is. To that end, Microsoft will have a tough time competing with the iPad.
Marco Chiappeta noted yesterday:
On the surface (no pun intended), $499 for a 32GB, quad-core Windows RT-based Surface tablet may seem somewhat competitive, considering a 16GB iPad with only a dual-core SoC is available for the same price. Keep in mind, however, that the current-gen iPad has a much higher-resolution screen, a far more diverse selection of apps, a more mature ecosystem, excellent build-quality, and a massive install base, which virtually ensures a constant influx of new apps and development. The Surface tablet’s build quality should be comparable, but Microsoft has no hope of catching Apple in the short-term in the app department.
And I'm inclined to agree.
In many ways, the only thing Microsoft's Surface tablet has going for it is the Touch Cover, an accessory that no one outside of Microsoft has ever used just yet.
All that said, there already seems to be a lot of interest in Microsoft's take on the tablet.
Pre-orders for the device have already sold out and shipments for the $499 model are now falling in the "within 3 week" range. Of course, it's hard to measure how impressive that is without first knowing what Microsoft's initial supply was.
We'll have more about Microsoft's foray into the tablet market soon, but for now, take a look at Microsoft's first commercial for its Surface tablet. I gotta say, it's really well done. Dare I say, it actually makes me more curious to get my hands on one and see what all the fuss is about.