Microsoft has now unveiled its latest device, the Surface Windows RT tablet, which it hopes can make up lost ground on Apple's iPad. Microsoft's tablet won't be hitting the shelves until later this year, but we've poured over the available details to see how it measures up against Apple's ubiquitous tablet.
It's hard to compare the design of the Microsoft Surface and latest Apple iPad, and we'd be lying if we said that the two devices don't look almost identical. We must say however, that although the Surface has clearly taken design cues from the Apple-branded tablet, it's boxy metal trimmed edges look pretty robust and add a touch of class to the Microsoft tablet. However, its lack of dedicated home button might peeve those considering switching to the Microsoft tablet, as Apple's trusty physical key is now synonymous with tablet devices.
In terms of size, the Surface is 0.1mm thicker than the latest iPad, although it's heavier than Apple's tablet, weighing 676g compared to Apple's 652g. While people probably won't notice the 0.1mm difference in thickness, they are likely to notice the 24g weight difference.
Although Microsoft's tablet has a classier look than the iPad it would be unfair not to award this point to Apple, as without the iPad the Surface probably wouldn't look this nice.
When it comes to screens, Microsoft trumps Apple in the size stakes, fitting its Surface tablet with a 10.6in Cleartype HD resolution display. Although Microsoft has yet to announce specifics, we're pretty certain that the resolution doesn't quite match Apple's 1536x2048 Retina display touch-screen, which in our opinion, is the most gorgeous display in the tablet market.
This is the big issue. Whereas Apple's iPad arrives running the firm's well-known, popular and easy to use iOS operating system, the Microsoft Surface tablet will run Windows 8, an operating system that's yet to be unleashed on the general public. Designed for touch-screens, Microsoft's Metro interface does look great on a 10.6in HD display, and will no doubt offer up a slicker experience than it will on clunky non-touch-screen Windows 8 laptops.
However, there's one big issue here: apps. We all know it's more about an ecosystem than a specifications sheet now, and with Apple boasting almost 300,000 dedicated iPad apps, Microsoft has some serious competition. If it can woo developers to produce apps for Windows 8, however, Microsoft might perhaps trump Apple with its more personalised interface of updating Live Tiles.
Winner: Apple, for now
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