How do the specs for the upcoming Microsoft Surface for Windows RT and Surface for Windows Pro compare with the Apple iPad? PCWorld’s Melissa J. Perenson shares what she knows, observing that Surface will change your expectations of what you can do with your tablet; first and foremost that you will no longer be limited to a dedicated mobile OS and its corresponding app ecosystem, but be able to buy one app and use it on both the Surface tablet and a Windows 8 laptop or desktop PC.
Ms. Perenson notes that the Surface tablets’ design is unique. featuring a comfortably angled bezel created with ergonomics in mind; a balanced arrangement of internal components that make the device feel lighter; and a built-in kickstand for conveniently using Surface in a variety of scenarios.
But it will be on the productivity front where the Surface will really stand out, because unlike Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, Microsoft’s Windows 8 provides the ability to view two apps at a time on one screen, as well as having additional apps multitasking in the background – flexibility closer to what users are accustomed to having on a desktop or laptop computer. Plus, Surface RT will include Office Home and Student 2013 RT (with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote) productivity applications.
The Surface will compete at the consumer level with the iPad as a touchscreen media tablet using the new ARM CPU supporting Windows RT operating system and touch-oriented Metro user interface, but will also be available in a more powerful, higher-end Pro model powered by an Intel Core i5 PC CPU and 64GB or 128GB of storage capable of running the full version of Windows 8 with a traditional desktop interface and file system access and supporting the vast ecosystem of Windows software, offering real PC power in a tablet computer. Both versions will have a real keyboard built into a magnetic cover, and a variety of industry standard I/O ports including real USB.
By contrast, iPad offers no kickstand, mouse/touchpad input support remains elusive, full screen app mode remains non-optional, there’s no file system access, no USB port, no SD Card slot, and no real productivity apps. All issues that Microsoft’s Surface appears to have satisfactorily addressed.
Analyst Says Surface Could Hurt Ultrabook, Windows 8 Tablets
The Register’s Simon Sharwood, APAC Editor reports that Taiwanese analyst firm Trendforce thinks Microsoft’s forthcoming Surface devices will cannibalise the market for ultrabooks, put price pressure on Android tablets, and confuse consumers, citing a note recently published by the analyst’s WitsView service, in which research director Eric Chiou says that Surface device’s 32GB of storage is a higher spec than that on most ten-inch Android tablets, justifying a higher price of US$599.
However, Chiou is of a mind that at that price Surface will inevitably cannibalize ultrabook sales, and that Microsoft itself may not be pleased to see a competition between its own products, while consumers may also be confused by the overlapping prices, circumstances that could be mitigated, Chiou suggests, by Microsoft dipping into its cash kitty to subsidise Surfaces so they can sell for US$499,, which would slot Surface between the iPad and ultrabooks, although that would be bad news for Android tablet players.
Speaking at a press conference at the Entel Summit in Chile in June, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak declared that the Surface is a “beautiful device” of the sort that a reincarnated Steve Jobs hired by Microsoft might have designed, adding that “Microsoft’s latest products have such a strikingly good visual appearance which is a lot of what Steve Jobs always looked for, the art and technology; the convergence of art and technology. And usually It was visual appearance of things.”
The Woz says he wants a Surface, pending actually getting his hands on one. You can check out his comments verbatim in this video (go about 2:30 in for the Surface discussion) posted by iDownloadBlog at: