Microsoft previews own ‘Surface’ tablet

“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

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


    1. I’ll bet Apple times its major “Apple TV” announcement perfectly, to bury this thing (along with Windows 8) in a dustbin before it’s even launched. And add “The New iPhone,” along with iOS 6 (and maybe an 8-inch iPad).

      Just like Windows Phone 7, which Microsoft worked feverishly on ever since the first iPhone, was buried by iPad’s introduction.

    2. They are missing the whole point of a tablet! They are trying to make it into a laptop!

      I remember Steve Jobs sitting in a lounge chair, showing the intimate experience of surfing the web on the iPad.

      Then MSFT comes out 3 years later with a tablet that is designed to imitate a laptop. Haven’t they watched people use tablets? Most people put them in their lap, not on a hard desk.


    3. They had me at ” Integrated Kickstand”..the very crest of the MS ingenuity & sleekness. The only way they could make this more Microsoft-ish would be to give it a snap-on swivel handle & produce a ‘Zune brown’ version..

    1. ZuneT has ” re-surfaced ” only to go back to Low sales #s and High return rates plus their tech support will be busy with complaints 🙂
      iPad is the Benz of the group and it’s not even close 🙂
      BUY AAPL 2015 = $1055 bucks 🙂

    1. I’m so happy I think I just pissed down both legs! This means AAPL will keep on going on. Very little competition. Very little affect on the stock. I agree with most posters (even fanboys) in that MSFT has had time to do it right and they still fucked it up! Kudos to Balmer. May he always lead Microsoft.

      1. Down boy. There shouldn’t have been much expectations and they sure didn’t exceed them. I’ve gone from openly mocking Microsoft to wishing they could execute something right, just for the shock of it. Please, if you’re listening (which, alas, you aren’t) just once announce a product with a specified price and availability. Extra points if said date is within a month.

  1. Make it simple stupid. Even when Microsoft has te opportunity to sit back and take it all in from a position of market newcomer, albeit a giant brand, they make it harder than it has to be. They don’t need 2 operating systems. No need for multiple ports. Just perfect something so you can compete. Be clear. Be definitive and be serious about your products. Only then can you have the conviction that so many people praises Steve for having. It’s not surprising that once again they are trying to be too many things to too many people.

        1. On both models. Be a little reasonable. No matter how flawed the product was, I’ll give them credit for designing both the hardware and the software. The approach was a good one, though MS still lacks Apple’s vision.

  2. And the color of the “smarter” cover does not match when attached to the “surface”. Great attention to detail. M$ wouldn’t know a properly calibrated display if their life depended on it. And it does.

    1. I keep reading and hearing this line.

      I suppose for the consumer competition is, in general, a good thing. Choice is good. However, there is not a lot of strong competitors for the iPad, the best of which inadequate in either the hardware or software departments. All of which, before this MS concept tablet, were essentially just copies of the iPad, but with more ports.

      I also do not think Apple is somehow being pushed by competitors in any of their markets. I’m sure there are some minor features that Apple has introduced since other’s have, but the major product innovations they have made since the new Jobs’ era started have not bee in response to another companies product.

      I’m sure that enterprise IT departments will be pushing this thing over the iPad on people ASAP. I get it – there is known path forward for managing MS WIndows in corporate environments. However, MS has positioned this thing poorly in my opinion. It is either a too-heavy tablet that will likely struggle to provide a good software experience or an underpowered ultrabook that will struggle to provide a good software experience.

      I suspect that the most critical spec that was not released yesterday is going to be battery life. Apple prioritized three things with the iPad: weight, battery life, and price. Those have been critical to the iPad’s success. MS has missed on weight and could be in the right neighborhood on price. If they get less than 8 hours of battery life, I think Surface will have a difficult time with anything other than corporate IT departments and Windows fanboys.

  3. Something must be wrong with my eyes! As soon as I saw that first paragraph, I thought it was saying this:

    “Microsoft Corp unveiled a tablet called Surface on Monday, in a move to rival Apple’s Lisa”

    Still waiting for those new glasses…

  4. Wow, I just looked at some of the youtube comments on this. Based on just a few pictures, all these commenters are saying how it’s the death of the iPad. Really? And they call us ‘fanboys’!

    1. When it is your *own* ideas/preferences in play…well, it’s OK to be a fanboy because you are right. Or so the M$ fanboy thinking goes. Smart covers and magnetic latches and so on – just copying Apple like Samsung and the others.

    1. Back in ’82 I think the closest thing to “hard” they were making was the box for their software and the printed manual. Heck, they weren’t even making mice back then.

  5. Not that bad, considering, but MS glosses over inherent flaws such as two incompatible hardware versions. Don’t you think Grandma’s going to buy the wrong one and not be able to run Word and not understand why?

    The worst for me is the aspect ratio. Horrible. Too wide. Fine for movies, but a nightmare for reading web pages and emails. Which do you do more on on a tablet? With the attached keyboard, this feels like it’s designed for landscape-only use. I use my iPad locked in portrait 90% of the time (even when using the external BT keyboard).

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