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Microsoft to launch low-priced Surface tablets to rival Apple iPad

17 May 2018

Microsoft looks poised to launch a new line of Surface devices with smaller screens and lower price tags.

If you are familiar with Microsoft's past experience with tablets, then you will remember that this isn't the first time company has tried to take on iPad with low-priced tablets.

Microsoft's new devices are expected to boast 10-inch screens, roughly the same size as the standard iPad and smaller than the 12-inch screens on the Surface Pro range. I've heard conflicting things as to whether Microsoft plans to brand these as Surface Pro devices or use another new Surface brand. This is further supported by the fact that the upcoming models' battery life will reportedly be about four hours shorter than their pricier counterpart. In any case, the Intel processors will mean that the cheap Surface tablet will be able to run any Windows software right out of the box without any system changes, which would be undoubtedly good news for a school's IT department.

Microsoft, naturally, won't respond to queries about the device, which is reportedly set for a release in the second half of this year.

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Microsoft previously released the $499 Surface RT in 2012 to limited success before switching to the Surface Pro line. The tablets will run Windows 10 Pro out of the box, although there's no word as to whether S Mode will be enabled by default. Apple sells several versions of its iPads, including those equipped with just Wi-Fi and those that also offer Wi-Fi and cellular connections that let you access the internet anywhere Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint have a signal.

At Apple's Spring 2018 event in Chicago the company announced a new 9.7-inch iPad dubbed its "most affordable" model yet. Since then, Microsoft has positioned its Surface devices for the business and professional markets.

Currently, Microsoft's Surface Pro lineup starts at $799.

Earlier this week, Microsoft unveiled its next-generation conference room display called the Surface Hub 2.

Microsoft to launch low-priced Surface tablets to rival Apple iPad