Microsoft’s “iPad Killer” Will Cost $900; Available in January 2013

The Surface RT has gotten lackluster reviews from nearly everyone who’s used it. It’s buggy. It lags. It doesn’t offer many native apps. The navigation and UI isn’t intuitive and takes time to learn. Then there’s the whole “you get half the storage you think you’re getting” debacle. Then, DigiTimes dropped this report yesterday saying component suppliers for the Surface RT have had their orders cut in half. Originally, MSFT planned to ship 4 million Surface with Windows RT devices by the end of 2012, but apparently they’ve now reduced that number to 2 million.

And the plot thickens.

The Surface everyone has really been waiting on – Surface with Windows 8 Pro – now has a price and release date: $900 bucks in January 2013. Yikes. Not only will Microsoft completely miss the holiday shopping season (like another struggling tech company), but they’re pricing is nearly the price of TWO iPads! Now, you may be saying “Oh come on Mike, the Surface with Windows 8 Pro is a full-fledged desktop PC in a tablet form, where the iPad is a tablet with a mobile OS.” And you’d be right. But Microsoft isn’t marketing it as a full-fledged desktop PC. Or an ultrabook. Or a laptop. They’re marketing it AS a tablet. So switch gears in your brain for a moment, and attempt to think like the average consumer. Ready?

Tablet 1: $500
Tablet 2: $600
Tablet 3: $900

Yes, one of these does not belong. Tablet 1 is the 16gb Wifi-only iPad. Tablet 2 is the Surface RT. Tablet 3 is the Surface Pro. What’s the average consumer’s initial reaction, based on this alone? Something like “Get out.” or “No way.” or “I’ll take Tablet #1.”

You see, consumers don’t want tablets. They want iPads. Think about that.

I still maintain my original stance about Surface: it’s a confused product that tries to be everything to everybody, and as a result, fails to be truly great for anybody. It isn’t a laptop, per se, because you can’t feasibly and functionally sit with it propped on your laptop. I’ve tried. The touch cover doesn’t work well when not on a hard surface (no pun intended) and the stand isn’t sturdy or stable on your legs. And this tweet from the official Surface Twitter account claims “half the battery life of Surface RT” – which makes it, at most, 4.5 hours.

And yet, it isn’t a desktop, either. Forget the desktop-like hardware specs for a moment; when was the last time you spent that kind of money for a “desktop” with a screen smaller than the smallest MacBook Air?

And even still, it isn’t a tablet. You never see it being shown without its keyboard attached and stand popped out, and at 2 pounds, this thing weighs as much as the original iPad and an iPad mini put together! Try using that with one hand for longer than 10 minutes at a time. Oh, and the touch cover keyboard isn’t included in that $900 price tag. Add it for $119 or the type cover for $129 and you’re now more expensive than the latest 11-inch MacBook Air.

Let’s pause for a brief moment.

All of this comparison so far has focused on the hardware and price tag. Let’s not forget the other side of the equation: the ecosystem (software/apps/accessories/integration). The Surface RT is quickly eliminated for its tremendous lack of available apps. But we can easily dismiss that, understanding it’s still a “new” product. We’ll assume developers are going to further develop for it, even though their apps will have to be rewritten to work on Surface RT’s big brother, Surface Pro. And you thought Android had a fragmentation problem. Surface Pro will run standard applications made for Windows as we know it. You know, the kind you install with a CD or DVD? Except, the Surface Pro doesn’t have an optical drive. You’ll need to add that, too.

Nay, the Surface Pro will not kill the iPad, just as the Surface RT will not killed the iPad. Nay, consumers are just as confused by it as it is by itself. Sure, it’ll sell some units. But will it erode any noticeable amount of market share from Apple? Sarah Jessica Parker says…..


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