Sci-tech

Microsoft reportedly planning cheaper Surface tablets to compete against $329 iPad

Microsoft reportedly planning cheaper Surface tablets to compete against $329 iPad”

Microsoft (MSFT) plans to launch a line of lower-cost tablets to compete with Apple's (AAPL) iPad. What's more, these new tablets will feature USB-C connectivity instead of Micro-USB, something the Surface 3 featured instead of Microsoft's proprietary charging port. Microsoft is rumored to have softened the appearance of the tablets, rounding off the corners to make them more like the iPad, rather than leaving them square, as with the current Surface Line.

Back in 2012, Microsoft did offer a lower-cost tablet called the Surface RT, but it didn't hit with consumers. Since then, Microsoft has positioned its Surface devices for the business and professional markets.

Although Apple will probably still have the edge when it comes to entry price, with its cheapest iPad at just $329, the report says Microsoft will debut cheaper accessories to help keep prices lower.

In the past year, Apple sold 44M iPads for $20B in revenue.

One of my contacts said that Microsoft is planning to announce at least one new low-end Surface device in July 2018.

Since 2015, Apple has rapidly added new productivity tools to the iPads, taking on Microsoft features like integration with digital drawing pens and using multiple apps at the same time. Microsoft's Surface devices were always meant to be a reference for other manufacturers to follow.

Of course, along with a new Surface come updated accessories, and the new 10-inch form factor will see updates to the Surface keyboards, stylus and mouse at this size. Microsoft is said to be planning 64GB and 128GB models, and all configurations will run Windows 10 Pro. Interestingly, the tablet will be priced around $400. Bloomberg's report claims a new 10-inch Surface will be powered by Intel instead.

The new line will be part of a growing ecosystem of Microsoft hardware products that, beyond the tablets, includes the Surface Laptop, Surface Book laptop with a detachable screen, and the Surface Studio desktop computer.



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