Is The Surface a Reason to Wait on an iPad?

Is The Surface a Reason to Wait on an iPad?
Has Microsoft learned from their failed attempt to take on Apple's iPod with the Zune several years ago? Recently, Microsoft made a bold move in the tablet market; they announced their own version of a tablet-like device that is made out of some cool new material called VaporMG (MG for Magnesium). It's called the "Surface," and has a cool case with a built-in keyboard and it will run the next version of Windows. There is no official word on availability but we hear two versions will be released before the end of the year. Whether or not Microsoft can become a viable alternative to Apple's iOS and Google's Android remains to be seen but that doesn't stop us from coming up with a few arguments in Microsoft's favor.
Microsoft Has Office, Apple Doesn'tAs we've always said, software is what sells hardware. In the case of the iPhone and iPad the software is the huge library of apps. Microsoft's Surface will run two versions of Windows 8 both of which will run Microsoft Office. The higher end Surface "Pro" will run all Windows applications while the more "mobile" Surface will run WinRT which will not run all the desktop apps. As hard as other vendors like Google have tried to lure Office users away with browser or cloud-based alternatives, it appears that the majority of computer users still prefer to work in the Microsoft Office environment. Will Office be the software that sells Surface tablets? Furthermore, if Microsoft can somehow convince developers to port their iOS and Android apps to Windows 8, they might have an even more compelling argument to buy a Surface.
Real Keyboards Let You Do Serious WorkDo hybrid devices offer the best of both worlds? At the recent Computex show in Taiwan, hybrid computers, that is, tablets with touchscreen displays and keyboards were in a lot of manufacturers' booths. Of course you can buy a Bluetooth keyboard for an iPad and it becomes essentially a hybrid, Windows 8, with its touch-friendly Metro UI, offers a compelling operating system for hybrid computers that can be used for personal entertainment and serious work. The Surface will offer keyboards built into its cases.
Microsoft's Ecosystem Includes the XBoxWith many corporations around the world letting workers bring their Apple devices to work, the old arguments that companies like IBM, RIM and Microsoft used to make for better security and support are harder to defend. However, there's still something to be said for buying into the Microsoft ecosystem of server software, applications and home entertainment products like the Xbox with its recently announced SmartGlass technology.
Microsoft-Based Products Are Typically Less Expensive

OS Windows RT Windows 8 Pro
Light 676 g 903 g
Thin 9.3 mm 13.5 mm
Clear 10.6" ClearType HD Display 10.6" ClearType Full HD Display
Energized 31.5 W-h 42 W-h
Connected microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2x2 MIMO antennae microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video, 2x2 MIMO antennae
Productive Office 15 Apps, Touch Cover, Type Cover Touch Cover, Type Cover, Pen with Palm Block
Practical VaporMg Case & Stand VaporMg Case & Stand
Configurable 32GB, 64GB 64GB, 128GB
Price? ~$600? ~$1,000?

Apple users are used to paying a premium for Apple products like MacBook laptops and iPads. The greater number of Android phone vendors has contributed to Android outselling iOS phones by offering a greater variety of devices many of which sell well below the cost of an iPhone. The big question everyone is asking is whether or not Microsoft devices like the Surface can offer a better value than an Apple device. Early reports indicate the Surface may cost around $600 with the higher end "Pro" version costing closer to $1,000. If this is the case, than the price advantage is nixed at least for the Surface. If the Surface becomes more of a "reference" design or model for other vendors to follow who might in turn, create lower cost versions of a slick Windows 8/RT mobile device, Apple may see some real competition from Microsoft.

Apple Doesn't Have a KickstandIf all other arguments fail to convince you to consider something other than an iPad, and frankly we can understand if you're leaning in Apple's direction, than how about a kickstand? The Surface won't be the first mobile device to offer a pop-out kickstand that keeps your device propped up for viewing but it is something that Apple doesn't offer at the moment.

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