Microsoft readying new tablet to take on Apple's iPad

Steven Sinofsky at Surface launch event

Microsoft readying new tablet to take on Apple's iPad

After abandoning both the Windows RT operating system and long-gestating plans for the release of a diminutive, affordable Surface Mini tablet, Microsoft made a decision to focus the consumer hardware efforts of the software-first company squarely on higher-end products.

Microsoft is reportedly planning to release a line of cheaper Surface tablets that will allow it to compete more effectively with Apple's iPads. According to the report, the new Surfaces should start at around $400 without accessories like a keyboard, which is $99 cheaper than the 2015 Surface 3. Moreover, the new tablets will keep the familiar kickstand first seen on the Surface RT, though these new 10-inch Surface tablets should be 20 percent lighter than the standard Surface Pro. It will have rounded corners, which are unlike the hard corners on existing Surface tablets, and should deliver about 9.5 hours of battery life.it will be powered by an Intel chipset and will feature USB-C connectivity. And it will run Windows 10 Pro.

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There will be versions with 64 and 128 GB of storage, and models that connect to LTE cellular networks.

What's interesting here is the report claims these tablets will ship with Intel processors, and not an ARM chip as so many assumed Microsoft would opt for in a new non-pro Surface device. A $400 Surface might draw in new audiences that previously weren't interested due to the high-price of Surface products usually.

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