Microsoft announced the arrival of their newest tech gadget, the Surface, a 10.6 inch, 1.5 pound tablet they hope can steal some of the industry spotlight away from Apple’s dominant iPad. From the first bits of information that has been released the tablet does seem to be a real contender as opposed to the numerous pretenders we’ve seen released over the years. The device offers an HDMI outlet, a USB port (iPad owners have begged for this feature for years), and a full functioning keyboard that doubles as a screen protector and stand. Visually, the Surface is quite impressive.
Apple and Microsoft have been combatants for years, and Microsoft’s newest endeavor into the tablet industry will surely provide the two companies ample opportunities to slight one another. While the iPad is by far the biggest player in the tablet industry, this will be the first time they will be facing competition for a somewhat evenly matched opponent.
A Windows RT version of the Surface will be released first, followed by a branch of models varying in size, power, and operating system. These Surface models will be released in concert with the new Windows 8. The newer and more powerful models should be able to run popular applications like Microsoft Word, Excel and could help convince more production oriented users about viability of tablets. The iPad has been panned by many for its inability to run useful word processing programs and other work related applications.
If Microsoft can showcase the Surface as a cooler and easier alternative to the laptop, I think they can take some wind out of Apple’s sails. As of now, the iPad is seen as a more luxury item for digital connoisseurs and their entertainment. If the Surface can highlight its high level of functionality and computer-like features, it will have a fighting chance going up against an established name. But in terms of applications, Microsoft is in for a dog fight. The Surface will have to entice developers to create awesome applications to compete with the millions offered for the iPad. Microsoft has very high hopes for this tablet, but if it fails Apple’s supremacy could prove to be insurmountable.