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Microsoft plans lower-cost Surface tablets to battle Apple

16 May 2018

After abandoning both the Windows RT operating system and long-gestating plans for the release of a diminutive, affordable Surface Mini tablet, Microsoft chose to focus the consumer hardware efforts of the software-first company squarely on higher-end products.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) plans to release a low-priced line of tablets to rival Apple's iPad, according to Bloomberg.

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The $400 Surface tablet will feature a 10-inch display, which is considerably smaller than the 12.5-inch display on the current Surface Pro. Beyond cutting the new tablets' prices, Microsoft will apparently also offer less expensive versions of its keyboard cover, stylus, and mouse accessories, which will be sold separately. Microsoft is rumored to have softened the appearance of the tablets, rounding off the corners to make them more like the iPad, rather than leaving them square, as with the current Surface Line.

The new Surface tablets will debut in 2H18. Bloomberg says the new models should start at about $400, but with plenty of upgrade options for more storage and cellular connectivity.

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The 2015 Surface 13 is Microsoft's last 10-inch Surface model.

It's possible that Microsoft may target the new Surface tablets toward the education market as an alternative to a recent move by Apple, which in March released a new iPad aimed at students and educators, for $329. Like previous Surface tablets, it will feature an integrated kickstand. Bloomberg's report claims a new 10-inch Surface will be powered by Intel instead.

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Microsoft plans lower-cost Surface tablets to battle Apple