Microsoft Preps Rival to Apple's iPad

Microsoft's lack of success with the $499 Surface RT would result in the firm refocussing its hardware on the premium Surface Pro line.

Beyond the Pro tablet market, it's being reported today that Microsoft is now preparing to go all-out and launch cheaper tablets sometime in the second half of the year in an effort to finally crack the top tablet vendors worldwide which they've failed to do thus far, six long years after entering the market to challenge the iPad. The new models represent the latest of several attempts by Microsoft to bring a more affordable tablet to market.

The report claims the new tablet will be priced around $400 to compete with the iPad, and will also feature softer corners, again similar to the design of the current iPad. That compares with 9.1 million iPads sold in the same period. Currently, the Surface Pro can last 13.5 hours on a single charge.

Microsoft scrapped the Surface RT lineup as a result of lackluster sales and disappointing reviews, and chose to focus on its high-end devices instead.

The devices should create additional competition for Apple Inc.'s base iPad editions, which start at $329.

It's possible the Surface line has built up enough goodwill that Microsoft is confident PC buyers won't put the brand in detention for trying to appeal to students. Microsoft is planning multiple models, including versions with 64 and 128 GB and models that can connect to LTE networks. The current keyboard cover costs an extra United States dollars 160; the new keyboard will go for a bit lower. It will continue to have the kickstand for upright typing and watching video. According to the sources, Microsoft is planning to target the sub $500 market which is now dominated by Apple iPads.

A revamped version would mark the first time the iPad's appearance has been redesigned since the first iPad Pro debuted in 2015. This is going to be dirt cheap, particularly devices that are running the complete version of Windows 10 and not something like Windows 10 S. The company stopped making it at the end of 2016.

  • Valerie Cook