Microsoft Surface for Windows 8 Pro
Microsoft announced two Surface series tablets on 18 June 2012.
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Following Apple's announcement of new its 15in MacBook Pro with Retina Display at the WWDC 2012 event last week, Microsoft has unveiled two Surface tablets.

The consumer-focused model will be powered by the low-power, ARM-based Nvidia Tegra chip and will run the tablet-optimised Windows RT version of Windows 8.

The business-focused model will be powered by a third generation Intel Core chip and will run Windows 8 Pro.

Both the tablets feature 10.6in ClearType display, with the Windows 8 Pro version having a Full HD resolution compared to the HD resolution of the Windows Rt model.

The Surface tablets both include an integrated kickstand on the rear to make the devices stand upright and the unique Touch Cover, incorporates a cover and keypad, which attaches magnetically. Both are also constructed of a VaporMg (pronounced Vapor-Mag) chassis, which is entirely magnesium, a first for a tablet.

The Surface for Windows RT tablet will be released with the availability of Windows 8 and the Surface for Windows 8 Pro model will be available 90 days later. Both the tablets will be sold in Microsoft Store locations in the US and through select online stores. Microsoft did not provide much information on the pricing of the tablets but as we reported earlier, they will be competing with tablets and laptops of similar specs.

The main challenger to both versions will of course be the current king of the tablet market, better known as the iPad.

Here we look at how the Microsoft Surface for Windows 8 Pro stacks up against Apple's third generation iPad, whcih was launched earlier in March this year.

Surface for Windows 8 Pro vs iPad 3: Display

The Microsoft Surface tablet for Windows 8 Pro, like the Surface for Windows RT, will feature a 10.6in ClearType display which will be protected with Corning Gorilla Glass.

Microsoft has not revealed the exact resolution of the display, but unlike the Windows RT model which has a HD resolution, according to Microsoft's spec sheet (PDF), the Pro verison will have a Full HD resolution, which should be enough for most people's uses.

Apple's new iPad features a slightly smaller screen compared to the Surface tablets - a 9.7in LED-blacklit multi-touch display which uses IPS technology. However it is the Retina Display resolution of 1536 x 2048 pixels which makes this screen standout, giving it a pixel density of 264 pixels per inch (ppi).

The Retina display is one of the key elements of Apple's new iPad. The new iPad's Retina display when compared to its predecessor delivers four times the number of pixels.

While we are yet to discover the details of the Surface displays, it would be a surprise if Microsoft has managed to come near the resolution of the new iPad.

Surface for Windows 8 Pro vs iPad: Dimensions

The Surface tablet for Windows 8 Pro measures 13.5mm in thickness and weighs 903g. The Surface series tablets come with two types of keyboard: Touch Cover and Type Cover. Touch Cover is a pressure-sensitive pad and measures 3mm in thickness. Type Cover is very much like a traditional keyboard and is slightly thicker at 5mm.

The new iPad comes in two models: new iPad with Wi-Fi and new iPad with Wi-Fi+Cellular. The new iPad Wi-Fi model measures 241 x 186 x 9.4mm in thickness and it weighs 652g. The dimensions of the Wi-Fi+ Cellular iPad model are identical but it weighs 10g more.

Surface for Windows 8 Pro vs iPad: Operating System

This Microsoft Surface tablet will run on the Windows 8 Pro operating system. In April of this year, Microsoft announced three editions of its operating system: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT. Windows 8 Pro, according to Microsoft, has been developed for tech enthusiasts and business or technical professionals.

The new iPad runs on Apple's iOS 5.1. Apple recently announced its latest operating system, iOS 6 at the WWDC 2012 and released its beta version to Developers Programme members. Apple promised that the iOS 6 will be available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch this fall as a free software update.

Surface for Windows 8 Pro vs iPad: Processor

The Surface tablet for Windows 8 Pro will be powered by a third generation Intel Core processor, though it is unclear which particular Intel processor the tablet will pack.

The new iPad is powered by Apple's A5X dual-core custom-designed high performance processor with quad-core graphics.

Surface for Windows 8 Pro vs iPad: Camera

The Surface series tablets will feature rear-facing and front-facing cameras but there is no information what the resolution of the cameras will be.

The new iPad packs a main camera of five megapixel with auto-focus, tap to focus and face detection. The camera can record HD 1080p video at 30 frames per second (fps) with audio. The iPad is also equipped with a FaceTime VGA quality camera which can capture photos and video up to 30fps.

Surface for Windows 8 Pro vs iPad: Connectivity

The Surface tablet for Windows 8 Pro will be Wi-Fi-enabled

The new iPad offers Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n and Bluetooth version 4.0. The new iPad with Wi-Fi+Cellular run on both AT&T and Verizon offering LTE connectivity.

Surface for Windows 8 Pro vs iPad: Storage

The Surface tablet for Windows 8 Pro will come with storage option of 64GB and 128GB offering support for microSD card whereas the new iPad offers storage space options of 16GB/32GB/64GB.

Surface for Windows 8 Pro vs iPad: Battery

The Surface tablet for Windows 8 Pro will be powered by a 42 watt-hour battery whereas the new iPad is powered by a built-in 42.5watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer battery.