Chris Alexander

On Engineering

Microsoft Surface - Could it kill the iPad? No. Should it? Yes.

19th June, 2012

Microsoft late last night unveiled their Surface tablets, confusingly similarly named as their previous table top computer, which has been catchily renamed to the “Samsung SUR40 with Microsoft Pixelsense” (you literally couldn’t make that up).

However what they have replaced it with is quite spectacular. The Surface tablets have quite significant potential, and importantly innovate in some key areas where the iPad does not.

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For example, the “Touch Cover” is suspiciously like the iPad’s Smart Cover, until you open it up and reveal a capacitive keyboard which can be used to type on the tablet. It has a full size USB port, and the back camera is angled so that when it’s on the stand it looks straight ahead.

Additionally, the Skype acquisition looks to have finally paid off somewhat - Skype integration will be core to the product.

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However there are, as ever with Microsoft product launches, issues. There is no mention of pricing. The USB support is limited to “approved devices”, which could mean basically anything. The Windows RT version has no desktop fallback, so you can only get apps from the Windows Store.

It remains to be seen whether this product will take off, but it has some extremely innovative features that definitely give it the potential to compete going forwards.