Today during Microsoft’s Surface event in New York City, the company just unveiled its new 12-inch, Core i7 Surface Pro 3 tablet and it spent much of its presentation comparing it to the iPad and MacBook Air. Microsoft is pitching the 9.1mm thick tablet– the thinnest Intel Core product ever made– as the first true replacement for your iPad and laptop combination.

The announcement comes following rumors that Apple is at the very least testing similar sized tablets for future iPad models. Microsoft said Surface Pro 3 weighs just 800g and it made that point by comparing it to a 13-inch MacBook Air on stage (below):


During its comparison, Microsoft said that the Surface Pro 3′s 12-inch display would provide 6 percent more content on screen than on the MacBook Air’s 13-inch screen. The Surface Pro 3 has a 12-inch 2160-by-1440-pixel display and it moves to a 3:2 aspect ratio instead of 16:9 ratio used by previous Surface devices. Microsoft also has a new dock for the Surface Pro 3 that allows output to a 4K display.

We reported earlier this month that Apple is working on a new split-screen, multitasking feature for iPad similar to what Microsoft offers on Surface. Microsoft previously focused on attacking iPad in several marketing campaigns by highlighting the iPad’s inability to multitask with two apps side by side, in addition to its lack of Microsoft Office apps, which have since been released for iPad users in the App Store.

So what’s Microsoft’s new angle? The company spent most of its presentation today talking about the fact that consumers still have to decide between a laptop and an iPad or buying both:

“96% of you who own an iPad also own a laptop.. Tabets… They’re designed for you to sit back and watch movies, they’re designed to read books, they’re made for browsing the web. Laptops are not designed that way at all. They’re designed to help you get stuff done.”

To that point, Microsoft pushed the message today that Surface Pro 3’s 12-inch screen makes it the perfect tablet to fix the problem mentioned above and make it a true laptop replacement. Satya Nadella kicked off the event by pushing back against Tim Cook’s line about convergence. Nadella said of Microsoft: “We clearly are not interested in building refrigerators or toasters.”

Rumors of a 12.9-inch display on a new iPad model started to get serious when The Wall Street Journal reported back in July that Apple was indeed testing larger screens for both its iPhones and tablets. The rumors continued with other sources of varying credibility reporting that a 12.9-inch model will arrive sooner rather than later and possibly as early as the first half of this year.

The Surface Pro 3 is available starting tomorrow starting at $799. It’s available in three configurations including a Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7.

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118 Responses to “Microsoft announces 12-inch Surface Pro 3, wants to replace your iPad & MacBook”

  1. 錢定遠 says:

    I still love Mac OS and iOS
    not windows 8.

  2. tilalabubakr says:

    They’re speaking about MacBook and iPad more than Surface Pro.

    • herb02135go says:

      This and the Samsung tablets have eliminated the need for a computer. The iPad- not so much.

      • mockery17 says:

        Apple has never intended to eliminate the need for a computer with the iPad. Speaking of elimination, why haven’t you been banished from commenting here?

      • rettun1 says:

        The iPad isn’t a computer? Surfaces and galaxy devices aren’t computers?

        And I wonder why didn’t they cite how many SURFACE owners also owned a laptop. Lots of focus on Apple and Apple products here

      • iPadCary says:

        I WILL say this: those looking for a desktop (remember those? lol) PC replacement can use this. Normal people? Not so much.

      • Tallest Skil says:

        Shut up and go away, you useless imbecile.

      • rafalb177 says:

        Now that Apple showed them how to build tablets they finally know how to build iPad-like tablets.

  3. Batterylife of this ‘Amazing’ Tablet?

    • Steve Grenier says:

      Significantly less than a MacBook Air I presume. Even the iPad can’t compete with it.

      • i can’t tell you how many times someone at my school has asked to use my macbook pro or iPad (yes i carry both) because of the Surfaces horrible battery life. Typing notes and Web surfing: maybe 4 – 5 Hours

      • thejuanald says:

        The surface pro 2 has around 7.5 hours of use which is good enough (and beats many laptops, my MBA used to beat my Pro 2 but the MBA is getting old and the battery life isn’t what it used to be) but I don’t know how the amazing display on the 3 will affect it.

    • I have read the downloadable fact sheets about the hardware, it is estimated in 9 hours of browsing!! Only!!

      • patstar5 says:

        Only? 9 hours is plenty. Probably sell a power type cover with extra battery so total battery life will be 12 hours.

      • thejuanald says:

        Oh no! It will only last an entire work day!

      • Now what the sheet mentions is, literally: 9 hours of browsing!! Thus, 9 hours with webbrowsing only…but, most people who buy this, will do many other things on it…you won’t ever get a day through with a charge. And 9 hours for a brand new 12″ tablet is not much at all

      • thejuanald says:

        You’re confused. It’s an ultra book that has incredible tablet functionality. It’s not a tablet that can be a laptop.

      • @thejuanald Even if you would be right, and you are not, still weak it is! Topic closed, you get boring!

    • Jack Gnasty says:

      With a Corei7, I can’t imagine it running for 10 hours.

      • jorge1170x says:

        Yes. People fail to understand that the SP3 is a beast. Can’t compare its battery to that of a tablet like an iPad, which doesn’t have a full OS. And Macbooks do not detach, so their batteries can be bigger.

  4. As they say, the best advertising and marketing can be had when your competitors mention you more than their own product.

    I think the increased table competition is going to raise the overall innovation and deliverables to customers. I wonder if and when the tablet will kill the laptop?

    • John Gibson says:

      It’s Microsoft taking a play right out of the Apple playbook. Apple made tremendous gains with the Mac vs PC adds. Now that the shoe is on the other foot Microsoft is taking the same approach against Apple although at least to this point nowhere near as successfully.

  5. Tim Jr. says:

    Note.. no mention of battery life.. what are they quoting.. anyone know? if it’s not at least 10 hours of medium usage… It’s kind of a flat runner..

  6. jrox16 says:

    (my early knee-jerk opinion admitting I haven’t even seen the new device in real life yet)
    Sorry MS but this will never replace a MacBook Air. First off, the scale didn’t include the keyboard cover for the Surface. Not that I think that would make the Surface heavier than the Air, but it’s still an unfair example so who knows how close it would be with the cover. Secondly, 800g is way heavy for a tablet. An iPad Air weighs just 470g, so the Surface Pro 3 is nearly twice as heavy (yes, it’s a full PC, but again, why in tablet form?). Third, while they may have improved the keyboard cover and trackpad, I just find it hard to believe it’ll ever be just as good as a real keyboard/trackpad on a real laptop like the MacBook Air which allows me to position the screen at any angle and be a relatively solid device while open that I can easily pick up by it’s front edge and re-position myself, get up and move to another chair, etc… A tablet with a floppy keyboard cover and a flat edge kickstand is just not going to be all that comfortable for long. MS keeps pushing this fusion of things that don’t need to be fused and don’t work all that well fused together. The right tool for the right job I say… What I think makes the most sense these days for lightweight mobile computing is a combination of a MacBook Air and an iPad Mini. Best of both worlds easily carried in one shoulder bag.

    • mcp345 says:

      You’re absolutely right. I think the same way. If you want to make a tablet so big that it could challenge a laptop it ain’t no tablet anymore. You can’t watch a movie or read a book on a 800g tablet, and no one is going to use a 12/13 inch tablet in public transport or so and that’s exactly what a tablet is designed for. I think it will die the same way the MacBook Pro 17” died, I know some people loved them but you will always have those people who want very specific things.

    • I hate it when companies make crap comparisons, and they are all guilty of it so I am not picking on just Microsoft, but there is no keyboard AND the screen is an inch smaller, guess what, two completely different devices weigh differently.

    • He placed the cover on later and it is still significantly lighter than the air. There is no need to have two devices, I am tired of hauling my backpack with my laptop and ipad mini. It is a total waste and Microsoft has an excellent point. Apple tried to pitch that tablets were the end of the PC era, they are and were 100% wrong. While they have replaced a chunk of the leisure users market they have not replaced the PC. The surface pro really does seem to bridge the gap. Sure it may not be the lightest thing to read an e-book on (a book is the lightest thing to read a book on) but it gets all of the jobs done in one package.

      • Lander Kemp says:

        Apple never said the iPad was going to end the PC, PCs would always stay in this world.
        Now you say you would like to swap your computer and ipad mini for this laplet? First of all I wish you the best while you carry your huge tablet in front of you watching and reading stuff in public. It is ridiculous to use a tablet this size. an ipad mini is perfect, doesn’t weigh a thing. I’m wondering what laptop you have btw. My Air weighs 1300 grams, my ipad mini 312 grams. That is nothing. Your 12 inch laplet will weigh as much as 3 ipad minis with the keyboard included, very comfortable that is. If you want to be productive and still have a tablet then go ahead and get this and remove everything from your backpack, but I assure you, you will not like it. Not to mention people will make a loot of fun of you, walking around holding a 12 inch giant of a tablet like it is a regular tablet. All in one never works, most certainly when two things lie so far apart.

        Every job has its tool

      • Seriously, you’re whining about carrying around an iPad Mini that’s around 0.6lbs? I’d suggest you hit the gym then.

    • houstonche says:

      Seems excessive. Even if they are light, traveling with an iPad and MacBook? I’m assuming you also have a smartphone as well. That’s three devices on the go, two of which are, from a software perspective, identical.

      There is certainly a market for hybrid tablets, as seen with numerous keyboard covers on the market for iPads.

    • John Gibson says:

      If someone’s tablet usage is mostly video rather than reading the Surface looks fantastic. Agree completely that if the use case is mostly reading, not so much.

      The way I look at it is that Surface may be the perfect device for business users who travel a lot. The one use case where the Surface 3 (and other Surfaces) blow away the iPad is in the form factor for video. It sounded so silly when they made such a big deal about the kickstand but it really is key differentiation. If one is traveling all they need is a Surface.

      • rafalb177 says:

        I prefer to travel with something that works, and works well, like iPad. Microsoft has already shown off the quality of their software. Besides using something that requires mouse without a mouse isn’t the easiest thing.

  7. Joel Henson says:

    Maybe it can replace a tablet and a laptop but you’re still stuck with Windows

  8. “Full Friction” ha-ha. I love the made up terms that marketers think mean something.

    People (idiots) will buy this thinking they have the “full friction” stand (as opposed to the half, or no friction stand?), and even brag about it to their friends. Reminds me of the movie “Idiocracy.”

  9. yuniverse7 says:

    This is just a crippled notebook. It’s WAY too heavy to be a viable tablet.

  10. John Tierney says:

    I spent 25 years breaking Windows. Enough. I work on MacBook Pro and iMacs now.
    Money was the people’s decider between Beta and VHS; the better machine lost. Let
    the people remain with Windows who won’t buy an iPad or MacBook Air.

    The late hours of reinstallation because the software is not made by the people who make
    the machine is the #1 argument for buying a Mac. Surface might have less problems
    than name brands sold with Windows installed; but Windows price category will probably
    get inundated by a Google innovation.

  11. rogifan says:

    Stock market is pretty much meh on this announcement. Both Microsoft and Apple pretty much unchanged. The two issues I have with Surface are, one, it’s not the kind of device I’d want to curl up with and read a book on or do any other consumption with. It’s not the kind of device I’d throw in my purse or backpack when I’m on the go. So in that respect it doesn’t really meet my tablet needs. Second, as good as the type cover might be, it will never be as good as a real physical keyboard and trackpad. And definitely never as good as a Mac trackpad. So in that respect it doesn’t meet my main computer needs.

    Man I’m so hoping we see a new fanless Mac from Apple this year. They did only a minor spec bump to the Airs so it’s possible we’ll get something new either at WWDC or this fall.

  12. We own an iPad AND a laptop because Xcode doenst run on iOS

  13. Juan Perez says:

    When you have to put in the scene to your competitor these losing the attention in your product..

  14. OMFG 6% more screen real estate! That’s a must-buy!

  15. They are right. I debate between an iPad and a laptop except I debate between an iPad and a Macbook AIR! My children have windows based computers, which I stopped using four years ago, and cringe every-time they require my assistance.

  16. greenbelt2csp says:

    But, it still runs Windows Ain’t. And my iPad runs Microsoft Office. And I get stuff done on my iPad all the time. And I don’t own a laptop. Well, I do own a laptop, it’s just really old and never gets used anymore because I have an iPad that can do everything it could do. I don’t need a physical keyboard because I believed I could learn to work without one, and something amazing happened! I DID learn to work without one. And Siri dictates long emails for me if I want, but the virtual keyboard is easy too. In fact, I can think of a few others I know who have iPads and no laptop. Well, they own laptops but they are old and decrepit and run Windows XP, which ironically was the last great OS from Redmond. Then came Windows Vistuck with a Virus, Windows SeveredUX, and finally Windown Ain’t (windows anymore but still sucks).

  17. Gotta give Microsoft credit, they’re persistent. I also think its funny they now switched to a 3:2 aspect ratio. What about those misleading comparisons they made saying the Surface had a “larger screen” because it had a longer diagonal in 16:9 aspect ratio, while the iPad had actually has more surface area. Now they’re reversing and pulling the same crap saying this Surface has more surface area than the MBA due to the 3:2 ratio.

    The Surface may be a suitable laptop replacement when used on a DESK. But as far as being a LAPtop, its pretty awful. And with that size/weight, its pretty awful at being a tablet held in your hands. You just have something that refuses to make design decisions and figure out its intentions, and would rather make NO decision and try to have the best of both worlds. You end up compromising on both ends, rather than excelling at any one thing. I’d much rather design products with intent and have them excel at a chosen set of tasks.

  18. 4nntt says:

    I want my MacBook Pro to be fast and my iPad to be light. You can’t have both. Just another niche device from Microsoft.

  19. iPadCary says:

    Wait, wha– …. Microsoft made a THIRD Surface?!? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

  20. scumbolt2014 says:

    You got one thing right Microsuck, most people would rather buy an iPad and a laptop instead of your turdface tablet.

  21. Sam Doohicky says:

    What’s up with the drug lord chemistry scale? Are they hoping to appeal to the third-world drug cartels?

  22. window 8 is the worst window ever ..

  23. scumbolt2014 says:

    Top of the line with i7, 8 gigs RAM, 512gb storage for 2000 dollars? That would buy you a 15″ Macbook Pro with more RAM and a larger retina display. Plus double the storage if you go for a refurb model. #FAIL

  24. Not a great way to market the device to do by comparison. I’d rather hear them say without comparison to another device what makes it great. Plus windows 8 still looks childish and reminiscent of AOL’s browser from what I recall(which by the way even then looked like crap and you can’t come back with the same crap and expect everyone like me to like it)

  25. I hate Windows, Microsoft, the Surface and everything associated with any of them, but … I think they are actually right about this. If you have a desktop, the iPad is a great mobile device, but if you already have a laptop, then I think you’re a bit of an idiot to buy an iPad.

    I use the iPad for content creation and it’s my main portable computing device for everything. If I had had a laptop beforehand, the iPad would completely replace it and that’s fine, but … to be a laptop person, then buy an iPad, and use both … that’s just insane IMO.

    It almost proves that the iPad sales are more hype than reality. People are clearly buying the iPad when they don’t actually need it at all. I have no respect for these people because the iPad is actually an extremely capable mobile computer, but these folks are treating it like a toy it seems.

    • houstonche says:

      No respect for these people??? I can get stuff some on my iPad, but it is nowhere near as easy as it is on an actual computer. That doesn’t mean I don’t find value in the iPad.

    • John Gibson says:

      This… I would love a proper Mac in this form factor with touch. I have a MBA and an iPad and i’ve noticed my usage of the iPad has shrunk considerably as I do need to type a lot and haven’t found any iPad keyboard nearly as satisfying as the MBA.

    • thejuanald says:

      Trying to do any amount of productivity on the ipad is ridiculously difficult. May I ask what content creation you do with your iPad?

  26. Why is Microsoft wasting its time with hardware? They should stick to software and provide really good and reasonably-priced software for Apple’s hardware. I would figure Microsoft would make more money providing software for Apple than trying to build hardware to compete against Apple’s well-established hardware. The Microsoft retail stores aren’t doing all that well for Microsoft’s bottom line. It just seems as though Microsoft is taking the more difficult route. I doubt Apple would cut Microsoft out if they really provided high-quality software for Apple. All the years Microsoft simply provided high-margin software and now they have to try to get into the lower-margin hardware business. It just seems foolish. As it is, there are claims the tablet market is slowing down and now Microsoft is trying to get established as a tablet maker. It’s going to be rather tough to do.

    Consumers aren’t buying Microsoft’s smaller tablets in quantity, so, what makes Microsoft think they’ll buy some larger version tablet that will obviously have an even higher price-tag? This comparison of the Surface and Apple computers just seems overblown. Microsoft is bringing a lot of attention to Apple products as being the leaders. Most people don’t even need Windows 8.1 to get the things they need done and that’s why so many people use smartphones.

    • houstonche says:

      Expanding a business to increase profits is common. Microsoft is trying to increase their portfolio size and it would be a shame if they didn’t. Apples Eco system and integration is why I left PC. Im glad they finally started to recognize the benefits.

  27. “Sure it may not be the lightest thing to read an e-book on (a book is the lightest thing to read a book on)” – I have no comment for this good sir (previous commenter). 43 people will ever read an e-book on this thing that is not in .PDF format and thus required by their project manager whose company thought these were a great idea. I repeat, 43.

    That is only 659 less than the number of people who will actually buy one of these that are not subsidized by Microsoft to increase sales figures in the first year. Probably school districts and foreign governments.

    Will there be people who buy one “just to make a point that surfaces are great”? Yes, but as they sit in the dark alone trying to type out xnx… with one hand and see if truely 4K is supported, they will quietly regret it…

    Will there be grandmothers who stray into the copycat Microsoft stores at the mall and are convinced that this is a convergence of an iPad and Laptop which their granddaughters have asked for for College next year? Yes, but little Melissa will curse that salesmen’s name every time she has to explain to her classmates what it is she is using as she continuously references the price point. Ok Melissa, we get it, it cost more than an iPad. Your still not cool.

    And I really am someone who is neutral on the subject of brand. I dont care who makes it, just innovate and microsoft is sitting around trying to anticipate…. as their entire presentation pointed out over and over again… It is kind of sad to watch.

  28. I really can’t consider the Surface as a Tablet. 800gr? Too much!

  29. I like how it says the Surface 3 can do split-screen multitasking, but the MacBook Pro can’t. Last I checked, the application windows are fully resizable and can do side-by-side, layered, tiled, or fullscreen.

  30. Will this be good enough to draw on? Microsoft certainly have been coming up with many interesting products that intrigue the normal people and now they want something that would replace the Ipad. Whereas the Chinese government have banned a certain entity http://bit.ly/1gLx7Dr That would greatly have its influence on Microsoft.

  31. Will this be good enough to draw something on ? Will it steal the hearts of people and make them switch from their macbooks? Ipad? This is a question of which answer`s going to out soon. Microsoft is certainly coming up with unique hardware recently. Whereas, The Chinese government have banned a certain entity which would greatly influence their budgets.

  32. Just the headline is a joke……….

  33. techsplyce says:

    Microsoft (and really everyone) need to stop comparing themselves so publicly to Apple. Apple is so polarizing to consumers that the comparison is not going to sway them very far in either direction and it causes a fire storm. Let the products speak for themselves.

    • herb02135go says:

      I agree. Too bad that 95 % of the people commenting have NEVER used any brand but Apple. Maybe they get employee discounts???

      I’ve used Apple products since the Performa. I now use Samsung phone and tablet.

    • houstonche says:

      When the consumer market has shifted in apples favor, you need to sway customers as to why your product is better.

      Apple did the same thing in their apple vs. PC advertising campaign. And it was very successful.

      • techsplyce says:

        I agree. But people aren’t as polarized about PCs as they are about Apple.

        Also, compare yourself to others. Samsung’s Note Pro is a more direct comparison anyway.

  34. b9bot says:

    And run Windows 8? Not a chance!

  35. drtyrell969 says:

    At least we won’t have to speculate what Apple’s doing next.

  36. Microsoft be like our tablet without a keyboard weighs less than a laptop with a keyboard!

  37. Brian Victor says:

    When I want to get serious work done, I pull out my Heavy Duty (yet remarkably light-weight!) Macbook Pro with Retina Display. When I want to watch something with my kid while on the go, an iPad Air with one-third the weight is how I like to roll. Do I wish I could just detach my Macbook’s Retina screen and tote it around like an iPad? Sure. More options are cool, but not at the expense of battery life or functionality. From what I’ve seen, the Surface does fine on 9 hours battery but doesn’t have the ability to process tasks like full notebook. Maybe someday down the road.

  38. My daughter now uses her iPad mini with keyboard case and MS Office 360 for 80% of her high school needs. She leaves the Macbook at home for video and picture editing that is about it.

    The Macbook (which has an i7), the iPad Mini, the case and Office 360 all cost a lot less than the new Surface with an i7 with comparable memory.

    Thanks Microsoft… for Office 360. And Thanks Apple, for everything else!

  39. Tim Irvin says:

    Its like comparing APPLES to oranges, Its a microsoft product, I’ll take my “Overpriced” Apple any day over a microsoft product.

  40. nothing to see here folks… MS is no longer a competitor. Remember this thermonuclear battle is between Apple and Google.

  41. Jack Zahran says:

    Surface is useless without a keyboard. The trackpad complaints clearly show that if you want to use a surface you need a keyboard. And then you need a kickstand in order to get back the functionality of a dedicated keyboard. So why not just get a MacBook Air? Out of the box it’s a better value…

    • jorge1170x says:

      It is quite awesome without a keyboard. Everything you need launches with one touch straight from the live-tile screen, and there is a very good on-screen keyboard to put in passwords and write messages, not unlike an iPad. Now, if you want to run “grown-up” programs, then yes it would be time to click the keyboard on and press the desktop tile..bam, full desktop OS. The beauty is that it does either or both, and it is only one product with one price tag. the same can’t be said for an iPad or a Macbook.

  42. Oh wow. Fail!
    I really don’t understand that Microsoft is paying such a high salary for people that can’t figure out what great hardware/software is, when all it takes is a high school teenager that immediately sees the differences in class!

  43. jorge1170x says:

    Now let’s hear the people rationalize why this thing totally sucks and Apple’s version is better….oh wait, there is no Apple 2-in-1 yet, you still have to buy two distinct computers and most likely a man purse, I mean “messenger bag” to carry them in.