Instead of taking on the iPad Air’s 9.7-inch display, Microsoft is thinking even bigger with a 12-inch Surface Pro 3 that could make it the perfect competitor for Apple’s long-rumored 13-inch iPad Pro.
Like Microsoft’s other’s tablets, the Surface Pro 3, which the company revealed Tuesday morning, comes with a kickstand and a collapsible keyboard that Microsoft Surface chief Panos Panay says will remove all the conflicts you’ve had about buying a laptop or tablet, plus they’ve added a Surface Pen for seamless digital writing.
At 9.1mm thick the Surface Pro 3 is nearly 2mm beefier than the iPad Air, even though its the thinnest tablet Microsoft has ever made. It sports a 12-inch HD display with a 3:2 aspect ratio, carries between 64GB and 512GB of storage, and comes with three CPU variants, including Intel’s latest Core i7 processor.
Starting at $799, Surface Pro 3 launches Wednesday and while its 800 grams of weight is nearly double the iPad Air, Microsoft boasted that it’s 279 grams lighter than the 11-inch MacBook Air – the device Microsoft considers Surface’s No. 1 enemy, even though it’s still a pain in the ass to use in your lap.
Apple’s own answer for a productivity-oriented iPad is rumored to be coming in the form of the 13-inch iPad Pro that may feature a 2K display and eye-tracking. An allegedly dummy rear-shell for the iPad Pro was spotted last week but recent reports have claimed Apple has tabled the project until 2015.
Getting a six-month or longer head start on Apple to make the best big-ass tablet on the market could be the boost Surface needs to gain traction among consumers and professionals alike, but judging from the crowd at the event, and the latest Surface usage numbers, Redmond is going to need more than just a big screen and fancy new stylus to dethrone the tablet king.