Sources within Microsoft claim the company's new Surface tablets will cost $599 (£383) and $999 (£639) when they are released.

Microsoft Surface tablets for Windows 8 Pricing

One of the many questions left unanswered by the unveiling of Microsoft's Surface tablets was the rather important issue of pricing, but in the past 24 hours, two seperate sources claim that to have knowlegde of the issue.

First up was the sometimes unreliable DigiTimes online newspaper, which claims that "sources from notebook players" revealed that the Nvidia Tegra 3-powered Surface for Windows RT tablet would retail "above $599" while the higer-spec model, for Windows 8 Pro and powered by an Ivy Bridge processor, would be "at least above $799."

Corroboration of this pricing followed from The Next Web website, which quotes a "source close to Microsoft" who informed them, that the Tegra 3 RT model will cost $599 in store, while it claims the Ivy Bridge model will cost $999.

At the launch event earlier this week, Microsoft Surface general manager Panos Panay said the cost of the two new Windows 8 tablets would be "comparable" to ARM tablets currently on sale which have 32GB and 64GB of storage.

While both sources didn't mention if the quoted costs relate to the lowest capacity model in each category, we think it is a safe assumption that the quoted prices relate to the 32GB (RT) and 64GB (Pro) models.

Release Date

The question of when the tablets will go on sale is still somewhat of a mystery, though an October launch of the Windows RT model in line with the launch of the new operating system would seem the most likely - with the Windows 8 Pro version going on sale 90 days later.

We predicted earlier this week that the Tegra 3-powered model would come in somewhere around £400, with the Ivy Bridge model costing from £600 - and a direct conversion of the US prices would seem to bear that out.

However, direct price comparisons are usually not a good indicator of local pricing for consumer technology and we have seen in the past - with the iPad for example - that companies tend to just replace the dollar sign with a pound sign.

If we did end up seeing pricing of £599 and £999 for the two tablets in the UK however, it is hard so see how Microsoft would success, considering the RT model would be £120 more than a comparable iPad.

Also, a £999 price point for the Windows 8 Pro model would see it cost more than a lot of Ultrabooks and even more than an entry-level MacBook Air, which is some tough competition.

One question which wasn't answered by either source though, was whether or not the unique and innovative Touch Cover with integrated kepboard and touchpad was included in the price.

Microsoft, on its Surface product page does state: "Surface comes with an integrated Kickstand and a revolutionary, 3mm thin, pressure sensitive cover that doubles as a fully functioning keyboard and trackpad."

Microsoft made a big deal of the Touch Cover, and the more traditional Type Cover, at the launch in Hollywood on Monday, and it is clear the company sees it as an integral part of its tablet experience.