Microsoft has tried this before. Maybe not for long, though, as a new "line of lower-cost Surface tablets" is reportedly in the works. At the time, it was priced starting at $499. The 10-inch device will have rounded corners like an iPad, plus USB-C connectivity - a first for a Surface device - and new charging and syncing technology. On top of being more affordable, the publication's sources said the new devices will also significantly differ in design.
Apple has seen some renewed interest in its iPad family of tablets over the past year.
Apple has managed to generate nearly four times the revenue through iPad sales versus the Surface lineup. iPad sales generated $20 billion in revenue in the past four business quarters, while Microsoft managed to generate $4.4 billion in the same period. That compares with 9.1 million iPads sold in the same period.
Microsoft isn't seeing good sales number for the current Surface lineup but that's because of the premium pricing. The new device could be ready to hit the market as soon as the second half of 2018. Later, hardware chief Panos Panay confirmed that Microsoft killed the Surface Mini-at the last second, by many accounts.
Like the Surface Pro, the cheaper Surface will come without a keyboard cover, but cheaper versions of these - and styli - will also be available.
The company is planning multiple models, including versions with 64 gigabytes and 128 gigabytes of storage and models that can connect to LTE cellular networks, according to the people. The tablets will still have the kickstand for upright typing and watching video.
I had heard several weeks ago that Microsoft was indeed prototyping a new 10-inch Surface internally, but my sources had suggested said hardware would be powered by an ARM processor. This could be Microsoft's attempt to create a clear go-to package for educators looking for classroom tech solution on a tight budget.