While both the well established Apple iPad and the newly announced Microsoft Surface are thin, powerful tablets of generous size, that seems to be about all they share in common.
The iPad is a singular, giant screen, with software dedicated for mobile, and a story that's all about the apps. Because it's been on the market since 2010, and built on the success of the iPhone, those apps now number in the hundreds of thousands, and the accessories are also plentiful.
The Surface is really two devices, a mobile running Windows RT and a cross-over running full Windows 8 Pro. The second one will have access to the massive Windows PC software library but the first will have to make its case for Metro apps. They both have USB ports and kickstands and other amenities that I really like but likely give Apple's Jony Ive the chills.
Because the Surface is like an iPad but is not an iPad, it might just appeal to people looking for exactly that, or for something in between an iPad and a MacBook Air (running Windows.)
On the downside, Microsoft didn't announce pricing, availability, or battery life, which, I'm not going to lie, are real concerns. And if the Windows 8 Pro version is expensive enough, a laptop, including a MacBook Air, might be a better alternative.
Apple is also getting ready to release iOS 6 this fall and likely an iPad 4 next spring. Depending when the Surface is actually released, who knows what that will bring to the table? Would you wait and see before deciding?
As always, vote in the poll up top and then tell me why in the comments below!