Microsoft Plans $400 Surfaces to Take on iPad, Chromebooks

Microsoft will release low-cost Surface devices to better compete with Apple's cheap iPad, according to a report from Bloomberg

The devices, which will cost around $400, will reportedly use 10-inch displays, which are smaller than the Surface Pro's 12-inch screens but more in line with the iPad (which uses a 9.7-inch display). They will use USB Type-C connections, which Microsoft hasn't included on the Surface Pro yet (but first used on the Surface Book 2 last year).

The cheaper Surfaces will also have rounded edges rather than the square corners the existing Surfaces offer. Additionally, the report says the devices will be 20 percent lighter than a Surface Pro. But that light weight also means less battery life - about four hours less, to be precise.

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Intel will supply the CPU, although we don't know which one.  There will be multiple storage configurations, including 64GB and 128GB configurations, as well as LTE options, the report says. The devices will run Windows 10 Pro, though the report doesn't say if they will run in S Mode out of the box.

Unfortunately, just like higher-end Surfaces, these devices won't come with a keyboard cover, though Microsoft is planning cheaper versions of the keyboard, mouse and stylus for the education market. 

Microsoft is fending off competition on all sides in the education market, with Google's Chromebooks increasing in market share and Apple recently launching a new iPad aimed at schools. 

The cheapest existing Surface Pro is $799. Microsoft went for cheaper options with its Surface RT, Surface 2 and Surface 3, but none of those has the success of the more powerful, high-end Surface Pro lineup.