Microsoft Surface vs. iPad: 10 Reasons to Ditch Apple's Tablet

NEWS ANALYSIS: Microsoft’s new Surface tablet has come out with the nicest features found yet in any tablet not produced by Apple, according to some observers. While the iPad might be the world’s most popular tablet, Microsoft's Surface really has the potential to be an iPad killer.

Microsoft on June 18 unveiled its new Surface tablet. The device, which will launch later this year, comes in two flavors€”an Intel-based option and one running on an ARM chip€”and runs Windows 8. The ARM-based version runs Windows RT, while the Intel-based option is running Windows 8 Pro, giving consumers and enterprise users the full experience on the device.

Of course, now that Microsoft has shown off its tablet, speculation abounds over how it will compete against Apple€™s iPad. Some observers say that the device will be ignored by consumers, since Apple has been hogging the spotlight for years and won€™t give that up so easily. Others say that Surface might actually have a chance to compete, since the device comes with some of the nicest features seen yet in a non-Apple tablet.

But perhaps that should go one step further. Apple€™s iPad is still the top tablet on the market, but the Surface looks extremely impressive. And for many customers, it might just be a good idea to ditch Apple€™s iPad for Microsoft€™s upcoming tablet.

Is that really possible? Read on to find out:

1. A bigger display

Apple€™s iPad has a 9.7-inch display, making it one of the larger options in the tablet market. However, Microsoft€™s Surface comes in with a 10.6-inch screen. And on the Windows 8 Pro version, it€™ll deliver a high-definition experience. Although the difference doesn€™t seem major on paper, in practice, a larger screen really matters.

2. Two flavors

There is constant talk of Apple launching an iPad Mini at some point in the future to give its customers more choice. Whether an iPad Mini will ever show up, however, remains to be seen. Microsoft has decided to deliver two flavors of its device, including one that€™s based on ARM and another that€™s based on Intel chips. The ARM-based option will run the stripped-down Windows RT, while the Intel option will have Windows 8 Pro. More choice is always better in today€™s marketplace.

3. The cover is better

Apple€™s Smart Cover was supposed to be a major step up over any cover on the market. But all it proved to be good for was to protect the screen, and now with a new version, the backside of the device. Microsoft€™s cover, meanwhile, includes screen protection, but doubles as a full, multi-touch keyboard, effectively turning the device into a notebook. That€™s a really nice feature.

4. A full, desktop operating system

One of the issues with Apple€™s iPad is that it€™s running a mobile operating system designed first for smartphones. Many Apple fans and critics have called on the company to bundle OS X with the iPad. Although Apple hasn€™t done so, Microsoft has heard that call loud and clear and will offer Windows 8 Pro in the Intel-based option. For enterprise users, especially, that€™s great news. It€™s about time tablets deliver the full OS experience.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...