Has a real iPad competitor finally Surfaced?

Yesterday the digital world was abuzz with the announcement of Surface, Microsoft’s new tablet device that is set to compete with the laptop market as well as attempting to go head-to-head with the iPad.

While Microsoft has failed miserably to compete with the iPod and iPhone, there is hope for them yet to catch up with Apple a bit with in the world of mobile devices. Initial thoughts of the Surface seem to be fairly positive, particularly of the features setting it apart from the iPad  – the device’s integrated kickstand, the ‘Touch Cover’ keyboard case and a good old USB port.

There will be two versions of the Microsoft tablet available, the Surface running the dedicated tablet operating system Windows RT and the more powerful Surface Pro running Windows 8. Each device, it seems, is aiming to tackle two different markets – the tablet and the laptop.

The features that have gained the most attention for both models, though, are the ones that make it more like a laptop – the integrated kickstand, the keyboard with a trackpad, USB port and the inclusion of Microsoft Office apps – so it could actually be difficult to see the Surface competing with the iPad at all, rather it is creating a bridge between a tablet and a laptop.

Microsoft are still struggling to shake the suit jackets and pull off Apple’s creative, fun and laid back personality, and I think going for substance over style, fun and creativity isn’t necessarily the way to win iPad-lovers’ hearts. The wealth of fun and innovative apps are at the heart of the iPad, keeping users interested, excited and entertained and, unfortunately, it’s likely that the availability of apps for the Surface won’t be able to challenge this.

The Windows Surface RT device will be available to buy in Autumn along with the release of Windows 8, with the Pro version following a few months later. I guess only time will tell if Microsoft Surface will be a true contender in either the tablet or the laptop market!