Microsoft is working on a new $400 USD budget Surface tablet designed to compete with Apple’s lowest-end iPad, according to a new report stemming from Bloomberg’s often reliable Mark Gurman.
Rather than just a smaller version of the current Surface, Microsoft is completely redesigning the tablet with a 10-inch display instead of the 12-inch size featured in the most recent Surface Pro. The tablet is also set to feature rounded corners, moving its design more in line with the iPad than the rectangular build of the Surface Pro.
Bloomberg goes on to state that the new Surface will be 20 percent lighter than the current Pro, and that along with this weight reduction, comes an additional four hours of battery life. The tablet is also set to feature Intel processors and graphics cards, as well as the full version of Windows 10 Pro, says Bloomberg. It’s unclear if Windows 10’s ‘S Mode’ will be enabled by default with the tablet, though this makes sense given it’s reportedly being positioned as a budget device.
Similar to the iPad, Microsoft is also planning to release a model of the budget Surface tablet that features LTE connectivity. Just like the most recently released Surface Pro, this budget tablet also won’t include a keyboard cover over stylus in the box, though Microsoft is reportedly working on a cheaper version of these accessories.
It’s worth noting that this isn’t Microsoft’s first attempt at creating a more affordable Surface tablet. In the past Microsoft released the Surface RT — which was a disaster — as well as the Surface 2 and Surface 3, though no entry in the cheaper line of laptop-tablet hybrid devices has achieved the same success as the Pro models.
The Surface 3, Microsoft’s most recent budget Surface, was discontinued back in 2016. It’s expected that Microsoft will reveal a refreshed Surface Pro at some point in 2018. The education focused 9.7-inch iPad (2018), Apple’s lowest-end tablet, is priced at $399.