Will The Microsoft Surface Tablet Fit Into Education?


Earlier this evening, Microsoft unveiled it’s future. Quite simply, the tech giant is pinning it’s hopes, dreams, and revenue to the tablet-friendly Windows 8 as well as a new brand of tablet. We’ve seen Windows 8 and it looks like an easy-to-use, fluid, and streamlined approach to operating systems. It’s about time.

But up until about an hour ago, that fancy new operating system (due out later this year) was destined for, well, who knows.

So Microsoft solved that problem by simply creating their very own hardware. Let’s pause to remember that Microsoft is not well known for hardware. Sure, they produce mice and some other stuff, but it’s no Apple.

Although judging by the new Microsoft Surface, it may have learned quite a bit from Apple and may actually be a competitor in consumer products. All thanks to the new Microsoft Surface tablets.

Should You Care?

So what’s the big deal about the Microsoft Surface tablet? Well, it’s actually not just the tablet itself. It’s the accessory that you can get with it. It’s basically an iPad Smart Cover that has a razor-thin touch-sensitive keyboard and a multitouch mousepad embedded in it. Brilliant.

Unfortunately, no one was allowed to touch it during the unveiling tonight. In fact, the tablet isn’t supposed to be available for another few months. Just in time for the start of school.

So that keyboard is pretty awesome. And it’s got a kickstand. That’s all well and good but what about the actual tablet?

In all honesty, I’m an Apple fan and view the Surface Tablet as a blatant knockoff.

But, well, it’s more than that. I can swear on Steve Jobs’ grave that this new Surface Tablet looks to be both beautiful and functional. That’s something Apple always strives for. And now Microsoft seems to have done that as well.

Should Schools Care?

So it’s pretty, functional, and looks easy to use. Great for schools, right? Well, not exactly. We still have no idea what the Surface Tablet is going to cost. Microsoft mentioned that pricing would be ‘competitive’ but even that’s not really helpful.

After all, this device could be viewed as an iPad competitor or even a MacBook Air competitor. So it could be $500 or it could be $1,100 or more. Probably somewhere in between is my guess.

Another critical clue about the Surface fitting into education (or not) is the presentation given tonight by Microsoft. They mentioned just about every single buzzword associated with enterprise, business, and corporations. They don’t seem to have their eye on education yet. I’d say Surface is going to be tailored to the enterprise first and education after a few evolutions. Much like the iPad.

So we’re not quite sure yet if the new tablet fits into education. It’s likely more expensive than the iPad which is already viewed as far too pricey for any classroom. And it doesn’t have the ecosystem and vertical integration that Apple has nurtured for so many years.

But it’s beautiful, functional, and shows that there’s another big innovator out there. And it’s from one of Apple’s biggest competitors. So it’s win-win for the consumer, schools, and everyone else. Only time will tell if (after it’s available) the new Surface fits into education. Sorry for the let down.

Do You Care?

What do you think of the new Microsoft Surface Tablet? Could you see it anywhere in the classroom? Would that snazzy new keyboard be something that makes you not buy an iPad? Would love to hear what you’re all thinking about this exciting new entry into the tablet market.

8 Comments

  1. Peter Vogel (@PeterVogel)

    June 19, 2012 at 12:02 am

    I do care! In fact I’ve put in a request to get one in my school as soon as they are available. Why not? My school is pretty much a Microsoft shop. This technology is going to be good fit.

  2. Virginia Petitt @vpetitt

    June 19, 2012 at 8:16 am

    So is it a tablet, running apps, or just a very flat computer running the Microsoft OS and applications that we all love to hate? Does this have the transformative power of the iPad or is it just another expensive toy that execs can afford but schools cannot?

  3. Ron Bartel

    June 19, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Does every Apple fan in the world feel it’s their duty to put down and hate on this device even though they know very little about it? I sense fear in the Apple cult now that their classless ruler isn’t around to say hatefull things about competitors products.

  4. Timothy Guy

    June 19, 2012 at 9:39 am

    “enterprise, business, and corporations” This is exactly the focus that schools need. The consumer nature of the iPad makes it overly complicated to roll out and manage. Hopefully the focus on enterprise will make this tablet far easier to manage and secure.

  5. Mel

    June 19, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    I personally am over the apple hype, I can’t wait for Windows 8 to come out. I currently have the Asus transformer and LOVE it, I use ipads at school and cannot see any reason why educators have an obsession with the device. I can do more on my windows 7 phone than I can on an iPad! BRING ON WINDOWS 8!

    • Rich

      November 16, 2012 at 8:16 am

      Well said Mel, Im trying to convince our school to buy these instead of ipads…

  6. Dave

    June 19, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Looks like an amazing tablet! Great features however it offers so much more than an ipad, I won’t be expecting iPad prices. But it will be more than worth it!

  7. ron

    December 5, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    I like what you have said, but I think you missed a huge advantage that the Surface has over the iPad. Microsoft will provide a full operating system. We have many iPads in our school and they are great, but this should be a little intimidating to Apple.