Microsoft may challenge Apple with new Surface tablet

Microsoft may challenge Apple with new Surface tablet

The software giant is planning to release a new line of low-priced Surface tablets as early as the second half of 2018, Bloomberg reports.

The $400 Surface tablet will feature a 10-inch display, which is considerably smaller than the 12.5-inch display on the current Surface Pro.

Microsoft hasn't really refreshed the design of its Surface tablets since the 2014 Surface Pro 3, so it will be interesting to see Panos Panay's team can out-innovate Apple's popular but slightly dated iPad design.

Microsoft receives a lot of criticism these days for its increased focus on the cloud and business customers, but it seems that the company remains very interested in the consumer market.

Citing "people familiar with the matter", Bloomberg said some features of the new Surface tablets will more closely emulate Apple's iPad.

The first 10-inch member of the classroom-friendly family could be unveiled "as soon as the second half of 2018", according to rock-solid sources on the inside, fetching around $400 with iPad-like rounded edges and a USB Type-C port that's still notably absent from the Surface Pro. Beyond cutting the new tablets' prices, Microsoft will apparently also offer less expensive versions of its keyboard cover, stylus, and mouse accessories, which will be sold separately. As always, there will also be 64GB or 128GB variants, along with an LTE model for cellular connectivity too.

The Bloomberg report doesn't specify this, but it's likely that the new Surface is aimed at the cost-conscious education market.