Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Microsoft plans to take on iPad with low-priced Surface tablets

Microsoft plans to take on iPad with low-priced Surface tablets

Microsoft (MSFT) plans to launch a line of lower-cost tablets to compete with Apple's (AAPL) iPad.

I've heard different things regarding possible screen sizes from my sources, with some saying the same as what Bloomberg is reporting - that the screen size would be about 10 inches. The budget line will have a battery life that's about four hours less than the Pro line.

Back in 2012, Microsoft did offer a lower-cost tablet called the Surface RT, but it didn't hit with consumers. Last year Apple sold nearly $20 billion in iPads, whereas Microsoft's professional Surface line sold just $4.4 billion. Microsoft's Surface hardware business had sales of $4.4B in the same period. They'll also include USB-C connectivity, a first for Surface tablets, a new charging and syncing standard being used by some of the latest smartphones.

Microsoft shares are down 0.3% to $97.04.

MS patent paperback
Microsoft has some interesting patents – more interesting than a cheaper Surface

Apple recently launched a 2018 iPad model for just $329. The new cheaper Surfaces could likewise appeal to students and teachers, and to schools that buy less-expensive devices in bulk.

The current professional-oriented Surface Pro lineup starts at $799. Microsoft, which hasn't finalized its plans, is expected to price the cheapest versions of the new device at about $400. Microsoft is also planning to sell Wi-Fi only models along with Wi-Fi and LTE variants. It will continue to have the kickstand for upright typing and watching video.

The only tablets that have got a good response from the customers were Apple's iPads. Microsoft is said to be planning 64GB and 128GB models, and all configurations will run Windows 10 Pro. It will have a 10-inch display, and it won't resemble the look of the traditional Surface devices. Microsoft officials have maintained the raison-d'etre for Surface is to establish new, untapped computing categories, not simply to make hardware for the sake of making hardware.

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