Could Microsoft’s New Surface 3 Make Apple’s iPad Obsolete?

This morning, Microsoft introduced the 10.8-inch Surface 3 tablet, which runs Window 8.1 and is basically a watered-down version of the Surface Pro 3. Unlike the Surface and Surface 2, Microsoft is not ruining the device by including a watered-down operating system like Windows RT.

According to the Microsoft website, the new Surface 3 will start off at $499, making it very affordable for those who want a tablet, but don’t need one as powerful as the higher-priced Surface Pro 3. The 10.8-inch unit will have a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution screen. It will run a quad-core Intel Atom x7-Z8700 processor. The $499 version comes with 2GB of RAM, but you can have 4GB by spending an extra $100. The same pen capabilities of the Surface Pro 3 will be available on the new Surface 3.

Brent Rose of Gizmodo was able to spend some time with the Surface 3.

“Overall, my impressions of the Surface 3 were positive. It just feels so much smaller and lighter than the Pro 3 or a typical ultrabook. It still feels big for a tablet, though. Compared to, say, an iPad, Google’s Nexus 9, or Sony’s Xperia tablets, it’s definitely big and heavy. But still you could easily toss it into a backpack and forget it’s there.”

The Surface 3 could mean bad news for Apple’s current line of iPads. Not only does the Surface 3 have a better price range, but unlike the iPad, it runs a full desktop operating system. Unlike the iPad, the Surface 3 has a digital stylus. You can use a rubber stylus for the iPad, but let’s face it — the iPad was never aimed for inking. However, Gizmodo reports that the the iPad Pro, which will definitely be a competitor to the Surface Pro 4, could have a digital stylus.

“Apple already has patents for its own stylus, and a bigger iPad wouldn’t interest the average user anyway, who would most likely stick with an iPad Air or Mini. Instead, the big iPad will be marketed toward creatives and artists who need the pen to do their tablet-based artwork.”

Microsoft’s Surface 3 looks to be the best entry-level Windows device that comes with a digital stylus. There have been other Windows 8 tablets by Dell and Asus that have optional digital styluses, but many have complained that the inking on those devices is less than optimal. Though Microsoft has struggled with the Surface line (not the Surface Pro, which is successful), they may have finally hit the hot spot with the Surface 3.

[Photo Credit: Microsoft]