High stakesWith the release date mystery solved, the biggest remaining mystery is whether the tablet will gain any traction with customers.
Early indicators point to the Windows RT Surface being a sales dud, with even bombastic CEO Steve Ballmer admitting that sales were "modest." The limited Windows Store and confusing operating system have forced Microsoft to pin all of its (short-term) tablet hopes on the Pro version.
A new – but pricey – hope
It's not a bad product to pin your hopes on. Surface Pro is a more logical extension of the company's "PC Plus" vision, allowing customers to run desktop Windows apps. It sports the same slick – though slightly beefier – design as the Surface RT, and uses the same (optional) keyboard accessories.
The Windows 8 Pro Surface has a sharper 10.6-inch display than its ARM-based cousin (1920 x 1080 vs. 1366 x 768). It also packs an Intel Core i5 processor, though Microsoft is mum on the chip's speed.
The Surface Pro's price, though, makes it less of an iPad rival, and more of a MacBook Air or Ultrabook rival. It starts at US$900 for the 64 GB version. For 128 GB, you'll need to pony up $1000. Neither price includes the tablet's keyboard, which will add at least an extra $120.
Will Surface Pro prove Microsoft's belated mobile strategy a success? Or will the tablet's MacBook-like price limit it to the Redmond faithful and enterprise customers? Stay tuned