So Microsoft announced their new tablet this evening, and it looks like they managed to pull off a miracle. MS not only demoed a decent tablet, they managed to develop one that looks to be better than the iPad. Normally I'd have sat out this story and let the many other gadget blogs cover it, but I am in fact so impressed that I couldn't help but say so.
First up is the cover. If the iPad 2 has a smartcover, the Surface has a genius cover. It not only attaches magnetically, this cover also has a built in keyboard and trackpad. the buttons aren't physical, so it could have some impact on usability, but it is infinitely better than the cover on the iPad 2.
And yes, that is a big cover for a 10" tablet; the tablet is tilted back in this photo so it looks shorter.
We know it's a 10" tablet but I've read several first-hand reports and none have mentioned the exact specs; TechCrunch even said that MS was being coy. At this point all I know is that there will be 2 versions of the tablet, one running Windows 8 Pro and the other running Windows RT.
What little we do know is that the tablet on display this evening was nigh on the weight and thickness of the new iPad. Everyone is reporting that the Surface tablet is 9.3 millimeters thick and weighs 1.5 pounds.(Can you just picture what was going on in Cupertino when that news broke?)
Microsoft hasn't released specific details on ship dates but they did say that the Windows RT models will come in 32GB and 64GB versions that are supposed to be priced on the level of ARM-based tablets. They'll be available around the time of the release of Windows 8. The Windows 8 Pro models will come in 64GB and 128GB iterations and be available three months after the release of the Windows RT models.
Do you know those reports that the Windows RT license will cost $90? I'm now betting that that rumor referred to the license for the full version of Windows 8. It looks to me like Windows RT really will be the Reduced Tech version it's supposed to be.
Now that we've gotten all excited about the hardware, let me inject a dose of pessimism. The tablets that ship might be no where near as capable or pretty as this one is. Even if they are, we still don't know if they'll be able to match the battery life of the iPad.
Nevertheless I cannot wait to get one and see if it measures up.