Microsoft has unveiled a brand-new competitor to the iPad, named the Surface tablet.
The two devices it unveiled - a pro model running full Windows and a mobile-focused Windows RT version - feature a built-in stand, a hi-res display and an innovative touch-sensitive keyboard cover.
But what did the industry think?
Matt Burns, at Techcrunch, said:
To me the Surface doesn't seem like a serious iPad contender but rather a reference design or even a halo device. When released later this year ARM models will likely start around $400-$600 and x86 models will hit closer to $1,000. Even though it will likely never outsell the iPad, the Surface sets a clear standard for HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, and Asus. It shows the rest of the industry the proper way to make a Windows 8 tablet. As a halo device, it's essentially designed to draw attention to Microsoft and Windows 8 like the Corvette does for Chevy.
Dana Wollman, at Engadget, wrote:
We feel impressed, almost sobered by what Microsoft's managed to produce after vowing to take the Windows 8 hardware-software package into its own hands. Surface for Windows RT is well-made, polished, durable and carefully engineered. And yes, that's sobering news: Microsoft's own OEM partners, everyone from ASUS to Acer to HP, should feel a tinge of defensiveness.
Dieter Bohn, writing for The Verge, said it felt very well designed:
It does feel incredibly well designed... The design and build of the tablets the company has here feel very polished, with tight, clean lines. The device was also surprisingly light, barely feeling like it reached the full 1.5 pounds Microsoft is quoting. The 10.6-inch, 16:9 display also looked crystal clear at a variety of angles.
Matt Honan, at Gizmodo, said the tablet was "stunning":
The Windows RT Surface tablet is solid and stunning. Attention to detail is positively amazing, and it's so well designed from every angle that it's just a joy to look at. ... Google had better step things up at IO, because this Windows RT tablet is far more impressive than any shipping Android tablet I've ever seen.
Finally, David Goldman, at CNN, said that while well designed, the product may still struggle against the iPad:
This is a very thoughtfully constructed product... The crucial question is going to be how Windows RT, the operating system that will run Microsoft's the less expensive ARM-based Surface tablets, stacks up... If your Surface tablet doesn't double as your PC, then you've got a first-generation device that has fewer apps than the iPad, no Siri and no Retina Display.