Microsoft Planning Low-Cost Surface Line to Compete With Apple's $329 iPad

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 16, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    As Apple's iPad and Microsoft's Surface continue to compete in the tablet market, a new report out today by Bloomberg claims that Microsoft is planning its next tablet line to be lower-cost in an effort to attract people to Surface products who aren't interested in the more expensive Surface Pro. The move is directly aimed at competing with Apple's recently launched $329 iPad, and could see Microsoft debut the devices as soon as the second half of 2018.

    According to people familiar with the company's plans, the tablets will be priced at around $400, so they would still be more expensive than Apple's cheapest options. They will be the first Surface devices to adopt USB-C and rounded edges "like an iPad," instead of the square corners of the current devices. Storage tiers will include 64GB and 128GB, as well as LTE options, and the devices will feature 10-inch screens.

    The Surface Pro

    In an effort to make the tablets 20 percent lighter than the high-end $799 Surface Pro, Microsoft is believed to sacrifice battery life by as much as "four hours fewer" than the current generation (13.5 hours for Surface Pro). Not much is known about the insides of the upcoming tablets, but the people said that Intel will supply the main processor and graphics chips.

    The devices will continue to have the kickstand for upright typing and video watching seen in current Surface models, and they will run Windows 10 Pro. Ultimately, the company is trying to enter the low-cost market again after previous attempts with the Surface RT in 2012 and the Surface 3 in 2015, which both started at $499 and performed poorly in comparison to the growing Surface Pro line.
    Microsoft is believed to be looking at Apple's education-focused iPad launch from earlier in 2018, and the new Surface models "could likewise appeal to students and teachers," as well as schools that look into buying cheap tablets in bulk. With the cheaper Surface, the company is planning low-cost updates to its keyboard cover, stylus, and mouse. Prices haven't yet been pinpointed, but as a comparison the current keyboard cover runs for $160.

    Apple's low-cost iPad includes Apple Pencil support, an A10 Fusion chip with 64-bit desktop-class architecture, a Retina display, enhanced cameras, and advanced sensors with a gyroscope and accelerometer, which fuel powerful augmented reality apps through ARKit. Although the iPad is normally $329 for consumers when not on sale, Apple sells it at $299 to schools and says that the tablet was built for mobility and durability for students, sporting an aluminum unibody construction.

    Article Link: Microsoft Planning Low-Cost Surface Line to Compete With Apple's $329 iPad
  2. tito2020 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2011
    1st comment and also surface is the best right now in the market
  3. Gorms macrumors 6502


    Aug 30, 2012
    "They will be the first Surface devices to adopt USB-C and rounded edges "like an iPad," instead of the square corners of the current devices."

    I'm kinda surprised they'd lose the square edges, not only is it an industrial design separator that visually marks the device as "not being an iPad" from any distance. But also, it works well with the actual square edge UI of Windows.
  4. PhoneI macrumors 68000

    Mar 7, 2008
    Not sure why anyone would buy this crap. The surface is an awful tablet and a mediocre laptop.
  5. dmylrea macrumors 68030


    Sep 27, 2005
    I don't really see iPad and Surface as competing products. A small memory iPad is perfectly usable for most things people use cheap iPad's for (media, email, web, social). A small memory Surface will just be awful for what people use a real computer for.

    Also interesting how MS will have a new model this year, but it takes Apple 5 years to get anything designed and out the door.
    --- Post Merged, May 16, 2018 ---
    Careful...your Apple bias is showing with ridiculous statements like this.
  6. mattopotamus macrumors G5


    Jun 12, 2012
    The problem is, low budget machines running Windows are really really bad. I just cannot see a $329 surface running anywhere near as efficient as the iPad. Hopefully they prove me wrong, because I would definitely buy one for work.
  7. H2SO4 macrumors 601

    Nov 4, 2008
    Let's suppose you want a tablet, have to run the full version of Microsoft Office and only have $400. Is that reason enough for someone to want to buy this crap?
  8. Amacfa macrumors 68000


    May 22, 2009
    Careful...your Apple hate is showing with ridiculous statements like this.

    Coming from a surface owner, he’s right - it’s a crappy tablet and sub par computer
  9. TComm macrumors member

    Dec 28, 2017
    New York, NY
    I am buying a Surface Book. At least their keyboard works.
  10. macguru212 macrumors 6502


    Apr 17, 2009
    Good for Microsoft, though I despise them deeply, for competition is important and I wish Apple had a full OS form factor like the Surface.
  11. chucker23n1 macrumors 68020


    Dec 7, 2014
    I sincerely doubt it takes Apple 5 years to take an existing model, reduce some component costs by leaving stuff out, then ship it. Which is mostly what's happening here.

    (Consider the iPhone SE, or, heck, the current non-Pro iPad.)
  12. Dave245 macrumors 604


    Sep 15, 2013
    The Surface range doesn't seem to be doing as well as Apple's iPad even tho they position the Surface range to be something that can replace a laptop AND be a computer.

    I will say that the idea of being able to have one device rather than needing to switch between an iPad Pro and a Mac would be good, i'm massively put off by Windows compared to MacOS. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft can move forward, keep perfecting the Surface line-up and convert people from iPad and Mac. Apple's iPad and Mac are pulling in more money BUT is Microsoft's end game more about getting people to switch than the short term numbers, that may be the case especially if they are thinking about competing with Apple in the lower priced educational market.
  13. Rogifan macrumors Core


    Nov 14, 2011
    Mark Rogowsky (@maxrogo) has a good Twitter thread about the Surface. In Q4 2013 Surface revenue was around $900M. 4 years later it’s $1.3B. And that includes adding products to the line with higher ASPs. Considering how much Microsoft spends on marketing for this product the lack of growth says to me it’s more hype than anything. Of course Microsoft isn’t a hardware company and doesn’t need to make money off hardware. But still, if this was an Apple product it would be considered a failure. Heck iPad is considered a failure by many and it does 9x the revenue Surface does. Who is Surface for other than hipsters who work at and read The Verge?
  14. Darmok N Jalad macrumors 68000

    Darmok N Jalad

    Sep 26, 2017
    I don’t see how Intel can provide the chips and have this device hit $400 and be any good. I’m betting this is a WOA device, as that seems like how MS does things. The current SD835 isn’t so good, but maybe MS can put something newer from Qualcomm inside. It’s that or something derived from Atom/Gemini Lake, but this has been done before.

    I think iPad will easily feel faster and more flexible since iOS has less overhead and has more apps designed to work on it. The problem with every budget Surface has been the fact that it presents itself to the web as a full-blown PC, which causes websites to deliver the heavy versions of their content to the device. This isn’t a problem on the Core-powered devices, but anything less than that can’t handle it well.
  15. dumastudetto macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2013
    They are talking of using low-end Intel processors which are terrible for battery, performance, everything. It is really incredible the lead Apple has being able to offer a $299 with a great A10 processor that no rival can compete with.

    Dream on Microsoft, you have no hope of competing with iPad.
  16. nviz22, May 16, 2018
    Last edited: May 16, 2018

    nviz22 macrumors 603


    Jun 24, 2013
    I want this to happen. However, Microsoft needs to realize that tablet mode optimized software and strong hardware (no defects) are the reasons why people choose iPads over Surface Tablets.

    No processors like the Atom either. Have to make a new processor that could mimic Apple’s offering with stability, performance, and battery life. Keep the price at $299 or less for students too.
  17. cola79 macrumors regular

    Sep 19, 2013
    That has been like this, but with the current CPUs of this year even low budget desktops in a case form factor like most chinese Android tv boxes have, do work absolutely amazing if you don’t want to play games.

    Very fast, no error or restarts, and with mouse support. Thats the iPads biggest downfall, that you can’t use it for office things beyond email.

    They should get this working in the small surface too. I must admit, if prices are the same, i would buy the surface rather than an iPad.
  18. SeminalSage macrumors member


    Nov 10, 2016
    As a former SP4 owner, I concur. With the random reboots, freezes, excessive heat, loud fan, and 1/2 the advertised battery life, I was glad to get rid of the thing. That said, the pen, with magnetic attachment and ability to activate an App through clicking the top (like a real pen) was the best thing about the device.
  19. Smartass macrumors 65816

    Dec 18, 2012
    Microsoft has struggled to find a high-volume hit with the Surface devices as well as to introduce a flow of new choices to keep growth steady. In the fiscal year that ended last June, Surface revenue declined 2 percent as the company faced lower volume sales owing to an aging Surface Pro line. Revenue rose 32 percent in the most recent quarter, indicating new interest in Microsoft’s hardware.

    Well of course they do. Did they ever think to actually start selling the tablet elsewhere, other than USA and some bigger EU countries? If you look at Apple iPad, you can buy it in almost every country in the world. And where does microsoft sell its surface lineup?

    There are 28 member states in EU, yet they sell them only in 12
    Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, Spain

    Outside EU and USA
    Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Bahrain, China, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates

    And then they wonder why on earth surface revenue isnt going anywhere. The same crap like they did with Zune.
  20. ocnitsa macrumors 6502

    Jan 24, 2011
    I don't think they are crap, but I'm not sure why people would buy them, either...But, I teach at a university and there are a fair number of people who have them...even techy people.
  21. legacyb4 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 13, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    Though I doubt Apple's product roadmap is only a year out from planning to production which is why they miss the boat on some things when their new products hit the market.
  22. Blackstick macrumors 6502a


    Aug 11, 2014
    Sunny South Florida
    Much as I'd love for Apple to up their game on the iPad in various ways, a low-cost Surface is effectively an underpowered, tablet-form-factor netbook... welcome back to 2008.

    We bought 100 SurfaceBooks for a pilot, deployed 50 to a pilot group, 25 developed minor-to-severe hardware issues within 6 months. MS bought back the remaining 50 new-in-box and the pilot was canceled... Dell was thrilled.
  23. DNichter macrumors G3


    Apr 27, 2015
    Philadelphia, PA
    I don't see these products competing at all. One is a tablet and one is a laptop. I see this as more competition for all the cheap Windows laptops out there.
  24. Geardo_Ranger macrumors member


    May 16, 2018
    North Carolina
    I think this is a smart move for Microsoft. This move would stimulate further competition in the low price tablet/computer market in the education sector. For years the Chrome Book has led the way. Higher competition will allow these devices to become better and better over time. This could also be part of their larger plan since Microsoft recently announced a 95 percent revenue share in the Microsoft App Store to attract more developers and grow their app store.
  25. Dave245 macrumors 604


    Sep 15, 2013
    And that's the point, people think that individuals such as myself are "fanboys" or whatever BUT the reason i choose Apple products is because i have not issues with them, for example i still use a 2011 MacBook Pro (will be upgrading to a 12" MacBook at some point) and i've literally had NO issues with it from the day i brought it. The same can be said for every iPhone and iPad i've ever brought (going back as far as the 3Gs) now either i'm extremely lucky (which i doubt) OR Apple make brilliant hardware and software that lasts.

    If Microsoft were to do the same, make a Surface device that was as reliable i'm sure most people would give it a try, hell even i would try and get over my distain for Windows and try it, at this point tho i'm not willing to sacrifice my Apple products for something that is of less quality. I will say one thing for Microsoft tho the design of the Surface Pro is nice.

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