Microsoft recently announced the arrival of their two new Surface tablets at an exclusive event in Los Angeles that will provide much needed competition to the seemingly unavoidable iPad contract. Given that the first generation iPad was introduced over two years ago, it may seem like too little too late for Microsoft’s new tablet. However, many experts are saying that the new Microsoft Surface tablets will have a huge impact on Apple’s iPad sales. So what are some of the features of the new Surface and can it match up to the iPad? While it is impossible to predict what sort of impact the introduction of the Surface will have on iPad sales for some time, one thing is clear: Microsoft has pulled out all the stops with their new tablet, and it boasts some very impressive features.
The new Surface tablets are likely to appeal to a broad range of customers for a variety of reasons, and Microsoft did a great job of highlighting the stunning features of its new tablet in their recent presentation. The Surface has a 10.6 inch HD display screen and HD video connectivity. It also comes equipped with innovative attributes such as a magnetic stylus pen for writing, a built-in kickstand to keep the tablet up at an angle for easier viewing, and a smart cover that has an integrated keyboard.
Rumor has it that Microsoft is hoping to target the mainstream consumer with the first iteration of their Surface tablet. It’s being said that the first Surface tablets will have wi-fi only capabilities, as most average consumers are more likely to use them at home or other locations where wi-fi is easily accessible. Customers using their tablets for business purposes generally prefer the flexibility of 3G or 4G access in addition to wi-fi. If their goal is to get the Surface into the home rather than the business, it’s unlikely that exclusive wi-fi access will negatively impact their sales. For customers who would prefer to have access via both channels, experts are predicting that Microsoft will be developing 3G and 4G Surface tablets further down the road.
If Microsoft does create a 3G or 4G Surface, there is one major consideration that they will have to make. Apple has contracts in place with mobile carriers allowing customers to purchase data for the iPad on a monthly basis, as opposed to on contract. This is crucial to customers, as mobile providers generally only offer multi-year contracts which can be a hassle. In order to compete with a 3G or 4G Surface, Microsoft needs to work something out with mobile providers to ensure a no contract model as well.
Pricing on the Surface tablet remains a mystery at this point and this is going to be another crucial consideration for Microsoft. They have indicated that their tablets will be competitively priced with the iPad, but they have not come out and stated their actual price point. Because Apple dominates the tablet market, they have access to cheaper parts and it costs them very little to make their devices. The price of the Surface tablet will be a huge factor in whether Microsoft is able to compete with Apple.
It may be too early to determine whether or not the Surface can match up to the iPad, but one thing is for sure: Microsoft has certainly created substantial excitement around the launch of their new product.
About the author: Joe Linford writes about the Mircosfot Surface tablet on behalf of Broadband Genie, the online comparison site for broadband, mobile broadband and tablet PCs.