If you’re one of those people who has been dying to use Excel or Word on a touch-optimised tablet, your wait is over. But that may not be enough to justify paying a premium for a device that is both Microsoft’s first foray into personal computing hardware as well as the flagship for the new Windows 8.
Try, for a moment, to put comparisons with the iPad out of your mind (admittedly not so easy on the day that Apple has just shown off the new iPad mini and a souped-up 10in version). The Surface, which goes on sale on Friday, deserves to be judged on its own terms: as a tablet that is designed to function equally well as a notebook PC.
Apple's iPad mini
Apple’s introduction of an iPad mini and the second update this year of the original iPad positions it perfectly to take on all-comers in the tablet wars for this holiday season.
Having handled the new mini at Apple’s launch event on Tuesday, I think it could be onto another winner, the only doubts being over whether consumers will think it too expensive for a 7in-category tablet or so cheap and adequate enough that they need not buy the pricier 9.7in iPad.
Apple must feel it has dealt with the cannibalisation issue by introducing a new version of the “new iPad” it unveiled in March, so that the larger model feels fresh and still appealing to consumers.
Improvements include an even faster chip – the A6X – said to deliver twice the performance of its predecessor, an improved FaceTime HD camera, the new Lightning connector, dual-band Wi-Fi and support for additional LTE carriers worldwide.