Much to nobody’s surprise — since the rumors had all been screaming “TABLET! MICROSOFT IS MAKING A TABLET!” for months — Microsoft’s big press event yesterday was about their new Surface tablet. Except this thing was way more ambitious, and better engineered, than anybody expected. The big question is…should you care?
Well, sorta. Maybe. But there are two questions still unanswered.
First, and most basic, is price. Yeah, it’s really neat it has two skinny keyboards to choose from, a stylus that sticks to its side that you can use to write on it, and a kickstand to balance it, but that won’t mean anything if it costs more than an iPad. Microsoft’s official line is that it’ll cost as much as a typical ARM tablet for the Windows RT version, and as much as a typical Ultrabook for the professional one, but that means nothing until we see some actual numbers.
The second is apps. Tablets live and die on their apps, and Microsoft is way behind Android and iOS in this respect. It’s a question of whether it can lure developers to make the kind of apps tablet and smartphone platforms live and die on, and nobody knows whether that’s the case yet.
It’s undeniably a cool piece of technology, and the word “ballsy” doesn’t even begin to cover it. It’s pretty clear Microsoft wants to essentially wipe out the iPad, the laptop, and the desktop in one fell swoop and replace them with an ultra-flexible device. The latter two are pretty easy — when the world’s biggest OS maker essentially announces that your product is crap and they’ve engineered a replacement, the clock is officially ticking.
The iPad? Well…good luck with that.
(Image via Microsoft)