Selling a cheap Surface is a risky game however, as it's probably unwise for Microsoft to try and undercut its partners when it comes to Windows hardware. Now that Apple's more affordable iPad is killing it, however, Microsoft wants to take another stab stealing its customers. Microsoft, which hasn't finalized its plans, is expected to price the cheapest versions of the new device at about $400.
They're also reported to be about 20 percent lighter than current Surface Pro models but will sport about four hours less battery life. Intel is slated to provide the main processor and graphics for these devices that are said to be running Windows 10 Pro.
Over the weekend Patently Apple posted a report titled "Microsoft and Google are shifting strategies to challenge the iPad's Market Dominance from Features to Platforms". I think the target market of students and schools is correct, but some perceived threat from iPads isn't the reason that Microsoft is launching a cheaper device: It's all about Chromebooks. 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. 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. Features that can enhance learning experiences could help Microsoft see more Surface tablets being used in classrooms. That compares with 9.1 million iPads sold in the same period.
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The sixth generation iPad starts at $329. Currently, the Surface Pro can last 13.5 hours on a single charge.
Each model will have a 10-inch screen, which is comparable to the standard iPad, though it's noticeably smaller than the Surface Pro laptops. Like the Surface 3, the new 10-inch device won't come bundled with any accessories, with said accessories being priced lower than the current offerings. There'll also be a 128GB version with LTE connectivity, the report says. The initial Surface tablets were based on an OS similar to Window Phone instead of offering the full desktop experience.
Of course, the tablet market has changed considerably since the Surface and iPad had their first matchup. In 2012, the original Surface RT retailed for $499 but failed to resonate with customers. The next tablet from the tech giant is expected to release in the second half of this year and will offer a complete Windows 10 experience on the go.