Microsoft Prices its Surface Tablet Just in Time For the iPad Mini

If internet rumouring is correct, Apple is about to unveil a smaller version of its astronomically popular iPad tablet. Invitations have gone out to the chosen tech press outlets and those places have duly told the masses about their appointments and are fuelling the speculation.

[drop2]The invitations feature something of a call back to retro Apple branding, with the multicoloured spread but it’s the wording that has caused many to conclude that all those rumours were correct. “We’ve got a little more to show you” alludes to the fact that it’s only been a month or so since the last big Apple press event showed us all the slimmer, taller iPhone 5 and the oddly larger iPod Nano. It also, so say the speculators, alludes to a “little” iPad. We’ll know for sure on October 23rd, when the waiting press will no doubt be liveblogging, tweeting and otherwise fervently pushing out Cupertino’s message to the baying hordes of Apple-ites.

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The tablet news doesn’t stop there, though. Remember way back in June when we were all still struggling to cope with that heavy, fat iPhone 4S and an iPod Nano that would fit in the wrist-band we bought to use it like a watch? Microsoft unveiled its own pair of tablets and a duo of fancy keyboard-encapsulating covers to clip on them.

The Microsoft Surface comes in two flavours – the Surface with Windows RT and the Surface Pro. The Windows RT version is ring-fenced into Microsoft’s app store and works in much the same way as an iPad or a good Android tablet works. The Surface Pro will run Windows 8 and be much more powerful – mor a replacement for a laptop or a competitor to the range of high-end ultrabooks we’re seeing announced.

The pricing has gone up for the Windows RT Surface and it looks like Microsoft wants to pitch it firmly at the iPad – it’s £399 for a 32GB model without a keyboard cover. That’s the same price as a 16GB version of the newest iPad. With the nifty Touch Cover (which houses a touch-sensitive keyboard) the Surface is £479 – exactly the price of the newest 32GB iPad.

Of course, the Surface RT will only be able to purchase software from the Windows RT store – it won’t function with existing Windows software you might be able to lay your hands on. Given the size and proven record of the AppStore on Apple devices, that might be its biggest stumbling block.

There’s no price yet for the incredibly tempting Surface Pro – which will function in a way much more familiar to PC users in that you will be able to install regular Windows-compatible software on it. The potential for touchscreen gaming on a well-specced machine that runs Windows is unmatched by any tablet device. So we’re expecting it to be significantly more expensive.

Source: Microsoft Store & Engadget (Apple invitation)

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15 Comments

  1. I want the pro, but I’m thinking it’s going to be out my price range. Boo.

    • Pro tablets from OEMs start at $799, but you’d probably want to spend more to get the specs etc that would make it really useful, not sure on the Surface Pro, but looking at the price of this it ain’t going to be cheap.

      • Yeah… I was planning on selling my laptop as I have a PC that I use more, but I want something portable and the laptop is quite large.

  2. I really like the sound of Win 8 Pro tablets/ultrabook hybrids, being able to take your desktop with you when you want it for full PC use & all the software and gaming benefits that brings is brilliant, & then just breaking off the screen (tablet) and having a tablet-centric OS for when you just want to sofa browse, read, play a mobile game… Just incredibly useful, does away with ultrabooks and does away with tablets, it’s huge for consumers and probably even bigger for enterprise.

    Sadly these Win 8 RT tablets are not them, it’s a just a tablet OS except it has next-to-no ecosystem & at that price point I think it’s an incredibly tough sale.

    With laptops, once you reach a certain price point all sales volume goes to Apple, if that happens with tablets too, Microsoft is in for a very bumpy ride. If Google with the Nexus7 & Amazon with the Fire/FireHD are delivering higher volumes at the mass market & Apple is creaming all the sales at the top there isn’t much room to manoeuvre once they’ve sold initial shipment to Microsoft fans.

    Of course customer confusion could aid Microsoft here, the number of comments I’ve seen that think these RT tablets will enable user to have a full desktop experience is ridiculous, although that could lead to negative feelings once people realise all they can do is play Angry Birds Roost

    • From what I understand from above and your post, is that these are slightly better than a tablet, but you can only use the software on their store. Which I’m guessing will not be that big compared to say Apple for example, so I don’t understand what is meant to be making me want this?

      I have an ipad3 and I have to say didn’t really want one (the wife wanted it). I’ve always said laptops are better etc but since getting it, I don’t see a reason for anything else really, yes it has limitations as we all know, but I can’t see why paying slightly more for something like this would take customers away from buying the popular tablets.

      • It’s aimed at the group of people who need the device to be able to do more than armchair-surfing.

        However I fall into this camp and like to have separate devices for different tasks. Jack-of-all-trades, master of none is my guess for this tablet, but there is a market there which Surface fits perfectly.

        They need to get their marketing right; great marketing can sell a mediocre, or even poor product, whereas a brilliant product will not sell without decent marketing.

    • Totally agree. When the tablet and the laptop merge (and I can play football manager) that’s when I’ll buy.

      Till then these don’t do enough stuff that my phone doesn’t do.

  3. Hey Apple, I’d like a Macbook Pro retina with a touch screen, any chance?

    • How about a Macbook Air, where a ‘retina touchscreen’ detaches to run iOS as an iPad ;)

      • Why would they combine two lucrative markets when some people within said market currently buy both products?

      • all that would require is a MacbookAirBase™ and a iPad Screen with the ability to display MacbookAirBase™ screen data… nice idea, but it would be expansive unless they allowed MicroSD (or similar) to be storage for the iPad which would be even better than current fixed size TBH… but then again I doubt Apple would allow people to size there own iPads…

  4. Wait, prices in pounds?

    Did I miss a European announcement? Is it coming to Ireland? When?

    I’d probably wait for the Pro version anyway, but still…

    • starts shipping in the UK on 26th Oct (day of Windows 8 release) so I assume it’s the same in RoI too.

      • Hmm…
        I can’t seem to get to the Surface page on my connection.

        Probably not coming to Ireland just yet then.

        Oh well, hopefully when the Pro comes round it’ll be sorted…

  5. *chokes on toast*
    HOW MUCH!
    i can get a pretty decent lappy for that!

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