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Microsoft Reveals Its iPad Rival: Surface

No details on pricing and availability, but it has a nifty looking keyboard.

There was rampant speculation about Microsoft’s secretive announcement all day today, but the most logical reveal was the actual one: a tablet. Inaccurate rumors had pegged it as possibly being Xbox related. Instead, Microsoft has re-branded the Surface name as part of a new series of tablets.

Surface will come in two flavors, Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro. The key difference? Only the latter will be able to run full-featured Windows 8. The Windows RT version is much more iPad-esque, locked into Microsoft’s new application ecosystem.

Microsoft appears to be positioning its tablet line as a more capable version of the iPad, especially since its Smart Cover equivalent has a keyboard on the other side. There’s even a version with tactile keys, if that’s your thing.

Complete specs on Surface are as follows:

The presentation was short on software demos, but 17-Bit, formerly Haunted Temple Studios, did reveal Skulls of the Shogun would be one of the premiere games compatible with Surface. It will also be on PC and Xbox Live Arcade.

The company could have knocked it out of the park with details on pricing and availability, but instead chose to punt that information down the line. Surface will be “priced to compete,” a statement that implies there are actually devices released that are, uh, not intended to be priced to compete.

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290 Comments
Posted by onan

The 360 dashboard has ruined any other product featuring the Metro UI for me. I hate it with a passion so now I have no interest in this Surface, no matter how slick and shiny it is. Shame.

Edited by xyzygy

@onan said:

The 360 dashboard has ruined any other product featuring the Metro UI for me. I hate it with a passion so now I have no interest in this Surface, no matter how slick and shiny it is. Shame.

Don't let the 360 Dashboard guide you away from Metro, it's not the true representation of it. Touch based W8 tablets and especially Windows Phones are much better examples of it and it works great on those devices. I imagine they will rectify their mistakes in the next dashboard.

@Zaapp1 said:

It seems to me that it's not so much about Microsoft trying to put something new out there as trying to guide the industry. Windows 8 is geared towards touch, even though it's also a desktop OS. By putting out a more powerful tablet with functions like a laptop they're essentially saying that tablets are the new laptops, both in the hardware and software side. It's an easier transition to swallow than going from laptops to iPads. If that message resonates with people I think this could do well.

Even without MS's guidance, don't you think that tablets were the future anyway? Microsoft is just ushering it in. They're setting a really high standard for others to follow in terms of making a PC ultra portable, which forces the competition to up their game and the whole industry changes.

Posted by MordeaniisChaos

@xyzygy: I'm not too interested in a metro browser. I'm happy just using the desktop for tasks like that. I'm hopeful that there will be a Chrome Metro app, if only so it can be a good solution for W8 tablets and the like.

Posted by Shuborno

The Pro is a proper Windows 8 machine in tablet form.

When iPads were announced I thought they were overpriced given that they were priced like a proper computer but didn't have all of the functionality of a computer. I've since been won over by iOS via my iPod Touch, but it is no substitute for a real computer.

The Pro doesn't need to be a substitute... it runs Windows. It is a proper computer. As long as the performance is good and the price is competitive I can see it being a great device.

Posted by RecSpec

I was planning to buy an iPad over the next few months, but I'm definitely going to wait and see how this turns out. I'm very intrigued.

Posted by EXTomar

As already mentioned, vendors have been trying to make sell everyone "ultra portable PCs" and have failed year after year after year. It is a combination of form factor and price. Their competition isn't iPad but the Win 7 Laptop that starts at $399.

Edited by mellotronrules

if anything, i think this presents a really great opportunity for microsoft. they've done right in the physical design, and the specs seem decent (albeit a little murky). the rest hangs on the os and app adoption by developers. i write a lot of music, so if i could get a copy of reaper and/or reason running on the surface- and perhaps my usb audio interface- SOLD.

and imagine steam with the 360 controller via usb (running light-duty games, of course). again, SOLD.

but if it doesn't perform and offer as it should, it'll be DOA. i'm also assuming they won't price it into oblivion.

Posted by MadMagyar92

@VooDooPC said:

@KaosAngel said:

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

@KaosAngel said:

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

OK its just a translator school, cool. I thought you were in the real military.

What? We're the top percentage of the military. Are you honest to god a moron?

LOL. Its just a language institute for the ARMY, the top percentage are the ones on the front line, not arm chair soldiers.

Uh...I'm in the USAF and I'm Aircrew. I fly, you retard, which also means I do SERE training. My training is over 3 years, first year and half is at DLI and after that it's all Aircrew Special Operations.

It's unfortunate that a member of the USAF whom should be a respectable person argues on the internet with the mentality of a five year old.

He's more of a soldier for Apple Inc. than the US.

Edited by chose

Surface, Clear Glass, why do they all rhyme with Crash?

Posted by Thiefsie

This won't be cheaper than an iPad - it was way more full-featured. That being said it should be a hell of a lot better and more useful!

I'll wait off getting iPad 3 also to see how this turns out. I'd prefer a tablet that can run basic photoshop and load up an external HD or compact flash reader out of the box please for my photography purposes.

Bring it on!

Posted by Kazona
@KaosAngel

@SamFo said:

Everyone has products that don't work. What ever happened to Apples PING? And Mac Mini's are basically dead... Think it's a bit premature to write off Microsoft this early.

Nah, it's logic. MS late 3 years again, Apple's next-gen iPad and Google's Nexus Tablet out early next year to seal the deal. It's the same shit, MS is always late with this. No one is stupid enough to buy new hardware for close to the same price as an iPad.

The only time that it's too late is when the product is no longer relevant. As long as tablets remain strong, it will never be too late for a company to bring one to market.
Posted by mellotronrules

@chose said:

Surface, Clear Glass, why does they all rhyme with Crash?

i think you meant Smart Glass.

also- 'surface' doesn't even come close to rhyming with 'crash.'

Posted by Giantstalker

Well, just like the Xbox, Microsoft is doomed to fail because they've shown up to the party years later than the competition. Let's write it off and move on, folks.

Oh, wait...

Online
Posted by jozzy
@EXTomar

@jozzy said:

@EXTomar

We have already see this idea fail in 'netbooks' hardware. It turns out people don't want laptop in a tablet form factor (or a tablet in a laptop either). Tablets turn out to be great viewers but have a terrible interface to create content where it wasn't the software that was the problem and nothing shown here changes that.

Except this is nothing like a net book. If this is really as good as an ultrabook with a functional tablet it can be huge.

So don't believe netbooks, sub-notebooks and ultrabooks aren't the same thing let alone "an answer to a problem that doesn't exist"? People aren't wringing their hands about the lack of being able to write Word and change Excel spread sheets on new devices because "old fashion laptops" and desktops do that extremely well. I don't see how Surface changes anything.

Seems simple to me. Instead of a laptop and a tablet you only need to buy one device. Provided it can do both well of course, which remains to be seen. The pro looks promising.
Posted by OllyOxenFree
@chose said:
Surface, Clear Glass, why does they all rhyme with Crash?
What.
Posted by Zaxex

@mellotronrules said:

@chose said:

Surface, Clear Glass, why does they all rhyme with Crash?

i think you meant Smart Glass.

also- 'surface' doesn't even come close to rhyming with 'crash.'

He'd need a significant speech impediment to make any of those words rhyme with "crash". Though with "why does they all", that might not be the only requisite.

Posted by LLJK_Jasta

@Thiefsie said:

This won't be cheaper than an iPad - it was way more full-featured. That being said it should be a hell of a lot better and more useful!

I'll wait off getting iPad 3 also to see how this turns out. I'd prefer a tablet that can run basic photoshop and load up an external HD or compact flash reader out of the box please for my photography purposes.

Bring it on!

This would finally get me to buy a tablet. Surface, especially with it having Windows 8 and a keyboard in the cover seems like the tablet I would buy. Here's hoping it's actually good.

Edited by mlarrabee

@KaosAngel said:

@SamFo said:

@KaosAngel said:

That shit going to flop.

No one is going to waste more money on a MS tablet than buy an iPad. Google tried it already and they still haven't made a dent.

Good luck with that, just like how Microsoft took out Apple and Google in the handset market!

I think this comment needs to be preserved for future laughs.

How's Windows Phone 7 doing with Google and Apple?

I think a lot of that is because Windows Phone 7 was released after the iPhone 3GS. I've used neither, but I imagine a direct comparison between Microsoft's and Apple's first-generation phones would show comparable weaknesses. By the time WP7 was released, the iPhone already had two generations under its belt, along with the market saturation those generations brought. But like I said, I use neither so I'm speaking from ignorance.

@zanshin said:

ipod -> zune

ipad -> surface

Do the math.

Just so we're clear, that "->" means "is/will be more profitable," right?

'Cause my Zune is worlds better than my iPod Classic.

Posted by Korwin

@mellotronrules said:

@chose said:

Surface, Clear Glass, why does they all rhyme with Crash?

i think you meant Smart Glass.

also- 'surface' doesn't even come close to rhyming with 'crash.'

or "clear glass" for that matter...

Posted by chose
@mellotronrules said:

@chose said:

Surface, Clear Glass, why does they all rhyme with Crash?

i think you meant Smart Glass.

also- 'surface' doesn't even come close to rhyming with 'crash.'

in french it does my friend, in french it does.
Posted by Osiris

@KaosAngel said:

@SamFo said:

@KaosAngel said:

That shit going to flop.

No one is going to waste more money on a MS tablet than buy an iPad. Google tried it already and they still haven't made a dent.

Good luck with that, just like how Microsoft took out Apple and Google in the handset market!

I think this comment needs to be preserved for future laughs.

How's Windows Phone 7 doing with Google and Apple?

I heard a lot of good stuff about the latest Windows phones actually. The problem with it is that most people are blinded to what's out there, they have this idea of more expensive has to be better and "Apple" is that brand. Not to mention "everyone else has it" so they tend to go with that "safe" choice.

Posted by Osiris

I do think detachable keyboards are the future of these devises and that laptops and tablets will become one. I really hate having both devises. And end up never really using my tablet because of that. Just a useless gimmick. Everything that my tablet does my phone/laptop can do as well if not better.

Posted by mlarrabee

@TMBaker: Man, Microsoft hasn't been known in the past for its marketing, but that promotional video, and the one for IE 9 are evidence that they're turning that around.

Posted by Wallzii

To be honest I'm pretty excited by this. I have a Transformer Prime right now that I am enjoying quite a bit, but a fully-functional Windows 8 tablet has me drooling a bit. Android is great and all, but like any other mobile OS, it really lacks true productivity. A tablet able to do everything my Windows machine can do is very appealing. Just think of what this could mean for mobile gaming with older titles. That alone has me sold.

Posted by ValiantGrizzly

I am going to try and zigzag through all the trolls and fanboys in this comment section, and just try to get some honest advice:

If I'm looking to replace my (relatively low- to mid-end) laptop, say, next year, am I better off just getting a tablet? Regardless of it being a windows or apple product. I just use it to browse and write the occasional e-mail, I have 3 consoles to play video games on and no space to put a desktop computer.

Posted by Driadon

@ValiantGrizzly said:

I am going to try and zigzag through all the trolls and fanboys in this comment section, and just try to get some honest advice:

If I'm looking to replace my (relatively low- to mid-end) laptop, say, next year, am I better off just getting a tablet? Regardless of it being a windows or apple product. I just use it to browse and write the occasional e-mail, I have 3 consoles to play video games on and no space to put a desktop computer.

That's hard to say, there could be some really great Laptops by next year, same goes with the tablet market. I'd look into it when you're thinking on replacing it in a month's time, as at that point it would be a lot easier to gauge.

Posted by pornstorestiffi

Anti Apple people will love this device, i can already heard them screaming. But fuck brand loyalists, i see this going the same way as the Dodo and Zune. People don't think of Microsoft when they think tablets or phones. Apple has become synonymous with that, and when moms and dads are getting these things for their children, they will already have heard of iPad, iPod and iPhone, so naturally that will be their choice.

If in 6 months to 1 year it turns out to be a success i will gladly eat crow.

Posted by chose

They should name it The Landfill.

Posted by CakeBomb

@ValiantGrizzly:

Tablets have less moving parts and probably better battery life, so I'd think they'd last longer.

Posted by divakchopra

this looks pretty cool

Posted by Grilledcheez

I'm interested

Edited by xyzygy

@pornstorestiffi said:

Anti Apple people will love this device, i can already heard them screaming. But fuck brand loyalists, i see this going the same way as the Dodo and Zune. People don't think of Microsoft when they think tablets or phones. Apple has become synonymous with that, and when moms and dads are getting these things for their children, they will already have heard of iPad, iPod and iPhone, so naturally that will be their choice.

If in 6 months to 1 year it turns out to be a success i will gladly eat crow.

But what about when Nintendo was known as the video gaming "go-to"? You'd hear on TV and places, people would say "He's playing Nintendo" when in reality they could have been playing a PS1, anything. It was just synonomous with video games because that's what was popular. But things change, and now you more often than not hear "He's playing Xbox" and you see Xbox controllers on TV and in ads. Things change; just because Apple is known for their products now does not mean they will hold that spot from now until eternity. I see the Surface as being a product that can seriously dent the tablet market because it can do so much more that iPads simply cannot. From a tech point of view there is no reason why you'd choose an iPad over a Surface because it seems superior in almost every way - your full PC experience is able to follow you and do everything + much more than the simple mobile OS that the iPad has.

Posted by Tanstaafl

That thing looks kind of cool, It's something I would think about if the Windows 8 Pro model isn't too expensive.

I was real bummed out to hear Skulls of the Shogun was going to be a Windows 8 exclusive though. I'm not likely to upgrade my desktop to 8 any time soon.

Posted by CubeTheory

It seems to me that with the focus on full Office functionality and the addition of a full keyboard Microsoft is probably more posturing this as an enterprise solution then a direct competitor to the iPad in the public consumer market. Apple has been digging in their heels for years when it comes to enterprise adoption, and has only recently begun to make some more allowances in that area. If this tablet can fill that void as a reliable, easy to configure tablet in the enterprise market and isn't all wild-westy like android tablets, then I'm sure Microsoft will do just fine with it.

Posted by ptys

Microsoft really don't come up with the best names do they, I'm mean Xbox, come on! Admittedly Apple is just a terrible. Middle-age men in suits should not name commercial products IMO.

Posted by WinterSnowblind

@pornstorestiffi: In fairness, people made those exact comments when Microsoft announced the Xbox.

Posted by paulwade1984

this thing will own 80% of the 20% share the i-pad doesnt have.

Edited by Gruff182

I think the fact that they put the time into Windows 8 and it's integration across devices. This could be a really excellent thing.

I Love my iPhone and would get a iPad if tablets appealed to me, but my Windows PC will always be king. If Windows 8 does work across platforms/devices as intended, I'd happily remove all apple from my life.

I won't be as quick to write this stuff off, as I have been in the past.

Not to mention as gamers, you know this and PC will have all kinds of interconnectivity with the next Xbox. One OS to rule them all.

Posted by soralapio

@paulwade1984 said:

this thing will own 80% of the 20% share the i-pad doesnt have.

Yeah and what's up with Apple making a phone? That shit will fail so hard, it'll compete for the scraps Nokia, Blackberry and others leave off the table!

-- People in 2007

Posted by Slaneesh

@ptys said:

Microsoft really don't come up with the best names do they, I'm mean Xbox, come on! Admittedly Apple is just a terrible. Middle-age men in suits should not name commercial products IMO.

We all thought Wii was the worst name in history when the details came out

Posted by Gergleflerg

@Slaneesh said:

@ptys said:

Microsoft really don't come up with the best names do they, I'm mean Xbox, come on! Admittedly Apple is just a terrible. Middle-age men in suits should not name commercial products IMO.

We all thought Wii was the worst name in history when the details came out

... and that changed?

Posted by Dante_the_Jedi

The keyboard thing looks really cool. That could be a key fact in this thing doing well, if it dose.

Posted by paulwade1984

@soralapio said:

@paulwade1984 said:

this thing will own 80% of the 20% share the i-pad doesnt have.

Yeah and what's up with Apple making a phone? That shit will fail so hard, it'll compete for the scraps Nokia, Blackberry and others leave off the table!

-- People in 2007

I don't think you read my comment properly.

Posted by pornstorestiffi

@WinterSnowblind said:

@pornstorestiffi: In fairness, people made those exact comments when Microsoft announced the Xbox.

They did, and i loved my original Xbox, but it didn't do good. Lucky for Microsoft they had better luck with the 360.

Posted by PenguinDust

Cool, I'll check it out when it hits generation 3 or 4. First generation tech is always wonky, so I'll let the early-adopters find all the bugs and reap the rewards of their struggle in later editions.

Posted by DelroyLindo

I dont get it, that looks like a laptop, not a tablet

Posted by m16mojo2

@adambyrney said:

This will probably be better than the ipad but the sheep wont notice. I've started to realise all the expensive crap people buy from apple (and others) as if we are all CEO's.......when it is basically a twitter/youtube machine.

So yeah these tablets will be much more useful when they can handle/accomodate real work and content creation. Until then privileged white people will still have angry birds.

Exactly. I've been trying to get these things to run in tandem with Oracle. Not even trying to have Oracle on the thing, just trying to connect it to a remote cloud server to do a simple print job at local offices. Nope!

As far as this, "Until then privileged white people will still have angry birds" goes. I've seen people who can't even make their car payments on time, running around with these silly ass things...

Posted by piderman

@DelroyLindo said:

I dont get it, that looks like a laptop, not a tablet

Well it's a tablet with a cover, but the cover also works as a touch-keyboard.

Posted by ultra2extreme

@DelroyLindo said:

I dont get it, that looks like a laptop, not a tablet

detachable keyboard bro

Posted by SpiralEye

The only thing I'm interested in from this is the 128Gb storage.. Ipad is long overdo in improving that..