Microsoft announced the prices of its Surface tablet this morning.
The pricing is right in line with the iPad, with the cheapest Surface costing $499, and the most expensive Surface costing $699 with the touch keyboard included.
Really, the Surface is a better deal than the iPad because the $499 iPad is only 16 GB. The $499 Microsoft Surface is 32 GB. (From a consumer’s perspective, we’re not sure the storage differentiation matters. It’s about price.)
There’s a catch, though. The Touch Cover keyboard is $120. That’s the fancy keyboard that Microsoft is heavily promoting in connection with the Surface. If you buy the keyboard and the cover as one, then the full price of the cheapest Surface comes to $600. An iPad with a cover costs $538, and really, Apple doesn’t make the cover seem like a must-have accessory the way Microsoft does with its cover.
There’s two ways to look at this. On the one hand it’s good because the basic pricing is right in line with the iPad. On the other hand, it’s not a significant discount and so it’s going to be hard to entice people to pick the Surface over the iPad. Especially since the iPad owns the market. Further, the keyboard makes it so expensive that people might end up skipping it.
Update: This is totally official now.