And its a valid question. The answer itself isnt so difficult, its a simple two parter, firstly, if the surface costs a whole lot more to buy then an iPad 3, then it could easily have a detrimental effect on the Microsoft tablet solution. On the other hand, if the Surface is relatively close to the same price as an iPad 3, there should be no question that Microsoft has very appropriately decided to fill a genuine void.
There is always the problem that if people are just buying tablets for "fun" then at the iPads price point, it may be just about as far as people are prepared to go for fun. Having the extra ability of the Surface would come as a very welcome and relatively free benefit of going with the Surface if it cost about the same as an iPad.
I believe your absolutely right when you say "usage of the iPad has confirmed that a high percentage of people are mostly reading and viewing things and only occasionally have to do much typing, input, or creation." Because quite frankly, it isnt very good at much else.
On the other hand one has to consider the dynamics of this observation; "For these users, the fact that the iPad is so much more convenient and easier to use for viewing things than a laptop far outweighs the fact that its a lot less convenient for data input, content creation". One has to remember here, an iPad is something that will frequently be left lying around the house. I have seen it. For the times I have actually seen an iPad the most its been sitting on a coffee table or end table like an old magazine, turned on and simply ready to be scooped up, just like an old magazine and quickly flipped through to check something that just came to ones mind. The laptop in similar circumstances isnt even on and is often closed up either in another room or in some bag or briefcase. Thats what makes the tablet more handy. Not a whole lot else.
I do think that people would actually like to get more use out of a tablet. Right now its a toy for the well off, or a gadget for the geeky must haves out there, or its a lightweight work tool for a very limited number of jobs. A full fledged tablet that could do some real regular computing would at least have the potential to begin to change that. All this mindless chatter about the post PC world is never going to see the light of day until or unless there is a tablet like the Surface in existence. While thats not something the Apple fanatics want to hear, it dosnt matter, its simply a fact. There is no post PC world in a world where people still use PCs for the vast majority of their computing. And that is currently the case despite all the tablets sold to date.
But price is the real issue. A great deal of the world still dosnt understand some of the plainest issues about computing. Trust me, I know iPad owners and they were all bought (the owners I know) thinking that the iPad was just like a laptop, only a tablet. They were a little unhappy to find out it was not. Now, if MS comes out with the Surface, MS has absolutely got to make it plain plain plain as day that the Surface is what most people were hoping what they were getting when they purchased an iPad. Otherwise, if the Surface does cost any more at all, people will just go on thinking "why spend the extra on this Surface thing when I can get an iPad for less, do I really need anything extra the Surface can do?". Many will say no, unless its made quite plain that this finally IS the device that can replace a laptop. The public has got to be made 100% aware. Too much tends to go right over their head. Microsoft really has to impress on the public what the Surface truly is and what it can do.
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