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Team iPad or Team Surface? A look at new Apple and Microsoft innovations

By Mary Beth Hamilton | Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Happenings from the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (AWDC) were leading the news last week as Apple faithfuls (and investors too) patiently awaited (and speculated) what the world’s innovator had up its sleeve. While no new iPhone was announced, the company didn’t completely disappoint.

Not to be outdone, Microsoft introduced its first tablet this week – the Surface – but more on that later.

Apple WWDC 2012 logo

Here is a snapshot of Apple’s AWDC news:

A Preview of iOS 6: Available this fall for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, iOS 6 brings 200+ new features including:

  • A new Maps app with Apple-designed cartography, turn-by-turn navigation and an amazing new Flyover view;

  • New Siri features, including support for more languages, easy access to sports scores, restaurant recommendations and movie listings;

  • Facebook integration for Contacts and Calendar, with the ability to post directly from Notification Center, Siri and Facebook-enabled apps like Photos, Safari and Maps; and

  • Shared Photo Streams via iCloud.

New MacBook Pro with Retina Display: The all-new 15-inch MacBook® Pro features Retina™ display, all flash storage and quad-core processors in a radically thin and light design – it measures a mere 0.71 inches and weighs only 4.46 pounds.

Updates to MacBook Air & Existing MacBook Pro: Not overly exciting but the MacBook Air is now available with the latest Intel Core processors, faster graphics and flash storage that is up to twice as fast as the previous generation. The current generation 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro – not to be confused with the Retina display unit – have also been updated with the latest Intel Core processors and powerful discrete graphics from NVIDIA.

Mountain Lion July Availability: Mountain Lion – not the animal, the ninth release of Apple’s OS X – introduces more than 200 features including the all new Messages app, Notification Center, system-wide Sharing, Facebook integration, Dictation, Power Nap, AirPlay Mirroring, Game Center and the enhanced security of Gatekeeper.

Microsoft Enters the Party

In other tablet-maker news, Microsoft this week revealed its own Windows 8 tablet – the Surface. The impressive new device appears to target the iPad head on, but we are still awaiting more details including the official cost, availability and distribution channels.

What we do know is that the smallest Surface tablet is 9.3 millimeters thick and weighs 1.5 pounds, which is similar to Apple's iPad, at 9.4 millimeters thick and 1.44 pounds. The Surface has a 10.6-inch screen while the iPad's screen is 9.7 inches.

Uniquely, the Surface has a built-in kickstand, full-size USB port and cover that also serves as a touch keyboard, which could potentially win over folks afraid to go completely keyboard-less. Two models of Surface will be available: one running an ARM processor featuring Windows RT, and one with a third-generation Intel Core processor featuring Windows 8 Pro.

You can learn more about the Microsoft Surface here.

All this news leaves one final question -- Are you Team iPad or Team Surface?

Image Credit: Apple, Inc. & Microsoft, Inc.


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