Microsoft may be planning to go head-to-head with Apple in the tablet market.
The tech giant could release a line of cheaper Surface tablets as a way to better compete with the iPad, Bloomberg reported, citing sources close to the situation.
A range of cheaper Surface models could start at $400 and could hit the shelves as soon as the second half of 2018.
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Microsoft could release a line of cheaper Surface tablets (pictured) as a way to better compete with the iPad. The cheapest version would start at $400 and hit the shelves in 2018
They'd feature rounded edges, USB-C ports and a 10-inch screen, making them comparatively smaller than the Surface Pro, which features a 12-inch screen and starts at $799.
Meanwhile, the standard iPad has a 9.7-inch screen.
The devices will also be lighter than high-end models and will be equipped for up to four hours of battery life, while the Surface Pro lasts for 13.5 hours on a single charge.
One version of the upcoming Surface will have 64gb storage, while another model will have 128gb worth of storage, Bloomberg said.
They'll both be able to connect to LTE cellular networks and will run Windows 10 Pro.
Alongside the devices, Microsoft plans to launch a cheaper keyboard cover, stylus and mouse -- the current package costs $160.
Alongside a line of cheaper Surface tablets, Microsoft plans to launch a cheaper keyboard cover, stylus and mouse -- the current package costs $160
Microsoft declined to comment on the rumors of a cheaper Surface model, Bloomberg said.
By releasing a cheaper Surface model, Microsoft is trying to gain a bigger share of the low-cost tablet market, which Apple recently tapped into with its latest iPad version.
Microsoft tried to do this before when it released the $499 Surface RT tablet in 2012.
However, the firm later discontinued the Surface RT in 2017.
Instead, it began to focus on the Surface Pro, a higher end, more expensive version of its tablets.
Although Microsoft has yet to have a blowout success with the Surface, interest in the devices has sparked in recent months, with Surface revenue growing 32% in the most recent quarter.
On Tuesday, the company released the gigantic Surface Hub 2 touchscreen, a 50.5-inch device that is designed to replace the whiteboard.
Apple's tablet business continues to dwarf Microsoft's, generating $20 billion in revenue during the past four quarters, while the Surface business brought in about $4.4 billion in the same period.
Microsoft's cheaper Surface tablets would reportedly feature a 10-inch screen, which is about the same size of the standard iPad (pictured). The base iPad has a 9.7-inch screen
WHAT ARE THE SPECS OF APPLE'S NEW 'AFFORDABLE' IPAD?
At Apple's Spring 2018 event in Chicago the company announced a new 9.7-inch iPad dubbed its 'most affordable' model yet.
The latest incarnation of the tablet integrates with Apple Pencil and features over 200,000 education dedicated apps.
Below are the device's specs:
- Available for $329 for consumers and $299 for schools in the US
- It will cost £319 in the UK for a 32GB Wi-Fi only model and £449 for 32GB for Wi-Fi + cellular model
- Support for Apple Pencil
- Available in silver, space grey and gold
- TouchID fingerprint scanner
- Ten-hour battery life
- Eight mega-pixel camera
- A10 fusion microchip
- Augmented Reality (AR) compatibility
The iPhone maker recently released a $329 version of the iPad at its Spring 2018 event in March.
The latest incarnation of the tablet integrates with Apple Pencil and is available for $299 for schools in the US.
As well as a ten-hour battery life, eight mega-pixel camera, an A10 fusion chip and 9.7-inch Retina display, the one pound (154g) mobile computer will also feature over 200,000 education dedicated apps.
The iPad is also equipped with LTE cellular connectivity.
At the same time, Apple is believed to already be prepping a next-generation iPad with facial recognition technology that can be used to unlock the device.
The home button would be dropped in favor of an all-screen device, not unlike the 10th anniversary iPhone X, which was released last fall.
A revamped version would mark the first time the iPad's appearance has been redesigned since the first iPad Pro debuted in 2015.
Apple is reportedly preparing to release the device as soon as this year.