Microsoft Plans Lower Cost Surface Tablets to Compete With iPad


But the $400 Surface tablet will apparently be the first of Microsoft's PC to rely on USB-C for power. There'll also be a 128GB version with LTE connectivity, the report says. Is getting Windows into more classrooms worth the Surface name being associated with a line of underpowered tablets? Beyond cutting the new tablets' prices, Microsoft will apparently also offer less expensive versions of its keyboard cover, stylus, and mouse accessories, which will be sold separately.

The software giant is planning to release a new line of low-priced Surface tablets as early as the second half of 2018, Bloomberg reports. 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.

However, the firm later discontinued the Surface RT in 2017.

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

With the smaller, thinner construction with rounded corners as well as the more affordable price, it's clear that this model is meant to be a direct competitor to the more-popular iPad. Over the past five years, Panay's team has built the foundation for Surface on the high end, content to let Microsoft's hardware partners fill out the other parts of the market.

On Tuesday, the company released the huge Surface Hub 2 touchscreen, a 50.5-inch device that is created to replace the whiteboard. Microsoft was in second place with 26% of devices shipped running Windows, while Apple lost ground last year, dropping to just 11% iOS devices, down almost 4% from the year before.

Surface sales are showing signs of plateauing, though, and while Apple now competes directly with the Surface Pros, there isn't a good Windows alternative to the entry-level iPad, which starts at $329.

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At Apple's Spring 2018 event in Chicago the company announced a new 9.7-inch iPad dubbed its "most affordable" model yet. Basically, Apple is not a player in the education market.

The latest incarnation of the tablet integrates with Apple Pencil and is available for $299 for schools in the US.

According to Bloomberg it'll on have only four hours of battery life.

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Apple is reportedly preparing to release the device as soon as this year.

The home button would be dropped in favor of an all-screen device, not unlike the 10th anniversary iPhone X, which was released last fall.

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