Microsoft’s rumoured iPad rival could be dead on arrival, if reports are true

Microsoft is reportedly working on a low-cost Surface tablet, designed to compete with Apple’s all-conquering iPad, according to reports.

Word comes from the well-connected Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet, who says there’ll be a $400 (around £300) asking price for the 10-inch tablet, which could arrive in the second half of this year.

According to the sources, it’ll run Windows 10 Pro and will be powered by a 4GB and 64GB of storage and will be powered by the Intel Core M processor. There’ll also be a 128GB version with LTE connectivity, the report says.

Related: New Surface Pro review

While the reports claim the device will be 20% lighter than the current Surface Pro and will be the first in the range to offer USB-C connectivity, the flaw in this masterplan is evident.

According to Bloomberg it’ll on have only four hours of battery life. Whoah.

Given the most affordable 9.7-inch iPad (£319/$329) has an advertised battery life of 10-hours, Microsoft’s device would struggle to compete with the iPad on that key level. Meanwhile, the 13.5 hours of battery life offered by the most recent Surface Pro put this in the shade.

Today’s reports bring back memories of the ill-fated Surface RT tablet, which ran on the ARM processors. Microsoft’s lack of success with the $499 Surface RT would result in the firm refocussing its hardware on the premium Surface Pro line.

Why Microsoft would attempt to dumb down the Surface brand at this stage with an affordable tablet that offers such pithy battery life remains to be seen.

Related: Best laptop

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