Just days before Microsoft's Surface officially hit the market, Apple dropped a bomb on Redmond by announcing its new fourth-generation iPad. Packed with a more powerful A6X processor and offering improved Wi-Fi connectivity, the latest iPad could spell trouble for Microsoft's big comeback.
So how do does the Surface compare to Apple's latest iPad? Well, for starters, there are two versions of the Surface, an Nvidia Tegra 3-powered model running Windows RT (available now) and a more business-friendly Intel Core i5-powered model running Windows 8 Pro (likely coming in January).
Both Surfaces are larger and heavier than the iPad 2. The screens measure 10.6-inches with resolutions of 1366 x 768 for the Surface with Windows RT and 1920 x 1080 for the Surface Pro. The Surface RT weighs 1.5 pounds versus vs. 1.44 pounds for Apple's slate. The Windows 8 Pro model is nearly 2 pounds.
The fourth-generation iPad has the same Retina display as its predecessor, packing 2048 x 1536 pixels inside a 9.7-inch display. In our side-by-side comparison, Apple's screen was not only brighter but offered better detail, color and contrast.
Some other points of difference include storage size: the Surface with Windows RT comes with 32GB of built-in storage, double the amount inside the entry-level iPad (16GB). Plus, the Surface includes a microSD Card slot for expansion, something the iPad doesn't offer. The Windows 8 Pro additional will start with 64GB.
Another feature that's unique to the Surface is its full-size USB port, which should accommodate all sorts of peripherals. You can plug in everything from USB drives and printers to cameras.
Both the fourth-generation iPad and the Surface with Windows RT cost $499. Pricing for the Surface running Windows 8 Pro has yet to be announced. Check out the chart below to get a closer look at the differences between these tablets.
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Row 0 - Cell 1||Row 0 - Cell 2||Row 0 - Cell 3|
|Device||iPad (Forth Generation)||Surface (Windows RT)||Surface (Windows 8 Pro)|
|CPU||Apple A6X dual-core||Nvidia Tegra 3||Intel Core i5|
|OS||iOS 6||Windows 8 RT||Windows 8 Pro|
|Display||9.7 inches (2048 x 1536)||10.6 inches (1366 x 768)||10.6 inches (1920 x 1080)|
|Size (inches)||9.5 x 7.31 x 0.37||.37 inches thick||.53 inches thick|
|Storage (Built-In)||16GB, 32GB, 64GB||32GB, 64GB||64GB, 128GB|
|Ports||Lighting connector||microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2x2 MiMO Antenne||microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, 2x2 MiMO Antenae|