“Microsoft Corp unveiled a tablet called Surface on Monday, in a move to rival Apple Inc’s massively successful iPad,” Lisa Richwine reports for Reuters.

“The tablet will come in two versions, one running on traditional Intel Corp chips, and another using ARM Holdings. Both will have a fold-out cover that becomes a keyboard,” Richwine reports. “A prototype was demonstrated by Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer at an event in Los Angeles. The tablets will be available when Windows 8 ships later this year, according to a Microsoft statement.”

Richwine reports, “No details on pricing were mentioned, except that it would be “comparable” with current ARM tablets and Intel-powered Ultrabooks.”

Read more in the full article here.

Microsoft’s press release:

LOS ANGELES — June 18, 2012 — Today at an event in Hollywood, Microsoft unveiled Surface: PCs built to be the ultimate stage for Windows. Company executives showed two Windows tablets and accessories that feature significant advances in industrial design and attention to detail. Surface is designed to seamlessly transition between consumption and creation, without compromise. It delivers the power of amazing software with Windows and the feel of premium hardware in one exciting experience.

Advances in Industrial Design

Conceived, designed and engineered entirely by Microsoft employees, and building on the company’s 30-year history manufacturing hardware, Surface represents a unique vision for the seamless expression of entertainment and creativity. Extensive investment in industrial design and real user experience includes the following highlights:

• Software takes center stage: Surface sports a full-sized USB port and a 16:9 aspect ratio – the industry standard for HD. It has edges angled at 22 degrees, a natural position for the PC at rest or in active use, letting the hardware fade into the background and the software stand out.

• VaporMg: The casing of Surface is created using a unique approach called VaporMg (pronounced Vapor-Mag), a combination of material selection and process to mold metal and deposit particles that creates a finish akin to a luxury watch. Starting with magnesium, parts can be molded as thin as .65 mm, thinner than the typical credit card, to create a product that is thin, light and rigid/strong.

• Integrated Kickstand: The unique VaporMg approach also enables a built-in kickstand that lets you transition Surface from active use to passive consumption – watching a movie or even using the HD front- or rear-facing video cameras. The kickstand is there when needed, and disappears when not in use, with no extra weight or thickness.

• Touch Cover: The 3 mm Touch Cover represents a step forward in human-computer interface. Using a unique pressure-sensitive technology, Touch Cover senses keystrokes as gestures, enabling you to touch type significantly faster than with an on-screen keyboard. It will be available in a selection of vibrant colors. Touch Cover clicks into Surface via a built-in magnetic connector, forming a natural spine like you find on a book, and works as a protective cover. You can also click in a 5 mm-thin Type Cover that adds moving keys for a more traditional typing feel.

An Amazing Windows Experience

Two models of Surface will be available: one running an ARM processor featuring Windows RT, and one with a third-generation Intel Core processor featuring Windows 8 Pro. From the fast and fluid interface, to the ease of connecting you to the people, information and apps that users care about most, Surface will be a premium way to experience all that Windows has to offer. Surface for Windows RT will release with the general availability of Windows 8, and the Windows 8 Pro model will be available about 90 days later. Both will be sold in the Microsoft Store locations in the U.S. and available through select online Microsoft Stores.

Microsoft "'Surface" tablet iPad wannabe

Microsoft "'Surface" tablet iPad wannabe

Microsoft "'Surface" tablet iPad wannabe

Additional Product Information

Surface for Windows RT

• OS: Windows RT
• 676 g *
• 9.3 mm *
• 10.6” ClearType HD Display
• 31.5 W-h battery
• microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae
• Office ‘15’ Apps, Touch Cover, Type Cover
• VaporMg Case & Stand
• 32 GB, 64 GB

Surface for Windows 8 Pro

• OS: Windows 8 Pro
• 903 g *
• 13.5 mm *
• 10.6” ClearType HD Display
• 42 W-h battery
• microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae
• Touch Cover, Type Cover, Pen with Palm Block
• VaporMg Case & Stand
• 64 GB, 128 GB

*Actual size and weight of the device may vary due to configuration and manufacturing process.

Suggested retail pricing will be announced closer to availability and is expected to be competitive with a comparable ARM tablet or Intel Ultrabook-class PC. OEMs will have cost and feature parity on Windows 8 and Windows RT.

For more information about Surface, visit http://www.surface.com.

Some information relates to a prerelease product, which may be substantially modified before it is commercially released. Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information provided here.

Source: Microsoft

MacDailyNews Take: “Conceived, designed and engineered entirely by Microsoft employees.” Which is why it looks pretty much like an Apple iPad, except with a blurry screen, a rear and sides designed by Sony in 1985, in the wrong aspect ratio, with a logo that serves as a warning label to informed users, festooned with bunch of unnecessary ports (of course), and a silly made-to-be-broken-off “kickstand” with a bastardized Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad hanging off it in your choice of horrid hues chosen by the usual color-blind Microsoftie.

Apple iPad with Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover

Apple iPad with Retina display and Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover

BTW: Windows “partners,” you just got PlayedForSure™. Sleep tight.

And, the best part: It’s all still just vapor. No prices. No shipping date(s). No actual sizes and weights. No nothing. 30 months after Steve Jobs first unveiled the iPad.

Oh, and “software takes center stage?” Seriously? What software? Microsoft is completely delusional.

Related articles:
Microsoft touts ‘major’ June 18 event said to showcase Windows RT tablets – June 15, 2012
ZDNet’s Kingsley-Hughes: Microsoft’s Windows 8 is an awful, horrible, painful design disaster – June 8, 2012
Analyst meets with big computer maker, finds ‘general lack of enthusiasm’ for Windows 8 – June 8, 2012
Dvorak: Windows 8 an unmitigated disaster; unusable and annoying; it makes your teeth itch – June 3, 2012
The Guardian: Microsoft’s Windows 8 is confusing as hell; an appalling user experience – March 5, 2012
More good news for Apple: Microsoft previews Windows 8 (with video) – June 1, 2011