This week has seen a major shift in the tablet market. No less than 3 new products have been launched. It started on Tuesday 23 October with the much anticipated iPad mini launch which was accompanied by a surprise launch of a new iPad 4. To end the week today sees the launch of Microsoft’s first tablet Surface for Windows 8.
Apple with Steve Jobs at the helm had always discredited the benefits of the smaller tablets like the Amazon Kindle and the Google Nexus but now appears to be trying to compete with them. The launch of the iPad mini was surrounded with rumour and speculation on everything from specifications to pricing. It has the much expected 7.9” screen and is as thin as a pencil. It has 3G and 4G capabilities at an extra cost. It only weighs 300 grams – less than a bag of sugar. The downside is that it costs more than most expected it would with a price tag of £269 for the entry level wi-fi only 16GB model. The top of the range 64GB with 3G and 4G will cost you £529.
Apple then announced a new fourth generation iPad, much to the irritation of consumers who had recently purchased the iPad 3 no more than seven months ago. Apple is renowned for releasing new models every 12 months, for many people an iPad represents a pretty major purchase and something that you wouldn’t want to do more than once a year.
Today Microsoft is set to launch what is being billed as a radical overhaul of its flagship software in an attempt to regain ground on rivals Apple and Google. Windows 8 is aimed at the tablet market and is the launchpad for Microsoft’s own hardware – Surface tablet. The Surface tablet comes with its own kick-out stand and is also offered with a screen/keyboard option in several colours.
Windows RT is designed to run on machines powered by CPUs based on designs by the British firm ARM, while more fully-featured versions of Windows 8 will run on the x86-based architecture chips used by Intel and AMD. This strategy allows Windows to compete against both iPads and Android-based tablets as well as higher-end laptops and desktop computers.
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