Microsoft Reportedly Prepping Budget Surface Tablet To Counter $329 iPad

Apple has seen some renewed interest in its iPad family of tablets over the past year. In 2017, the company launched a "new" 9.7-inch iPad priced at $329 and followed up this year by incorporating an A10 processor and support for the Apple Pencil. Microsoft has been watching carefully and is rumored to be launching its own low-cost Surface tablet to rival the iPad during the second half of 2018.

According to a new report from Bloomberg, the entry-level Surface tablet will have a display the measures 10-inches across (compared to 12 inches for the Surface Pro) along with more curves in its design compared to the more squared-off look of the current Surface Pro. 

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The report goes on to allege that the new tablet will be the first Surface-branded hardware device to support USB-C for connectivity and charging. Microsoft has been stubborn when it comes to adopting USB-C, even on its relatively new Surface Pro and Surface Laptop. Microsoft will reportedly offer the tablet in two storage capacities -- 64GB or 128GB -- and there will be optional LTE connectivity.

Intel is said to be providing the processor that will power the new Surface, which explains the estimated battery life of 13.5 hours. We were almost half expecting that the tablet would be powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 processor -- like Windows 10 on ARM convertibles -- given its entry-level status. Going with an ARM processor would likely push the battery life past the 20-hour mark, but we digress.

The new Surface, which will allegedly still incorporate a kickstand like its more expensive counterparts, will be priced from $399 (64GB model) when it launches. For comparison, a Surface Pro with an Intel Core m3 processor, 4GB RAM and a 128GB SSD costs $799.