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.