Finally, we have confirmation of the actual launch date for the Microsoft Surface Pro. Panos Panay, General Manager of Microsoft Surface, announced in his blog today that the Surface Pro will launch on February 9, 2013.
There has been tremendous anticipation ahead of its launch, especially since the ARM-based Surface ended up performing below par in the marketplace. Unlike the Surface, the Surface Pro will run legacy Windows programs i.e., current Windows 7 desktop applications in addition to apps from the App Store.
According to the blog post, the Windows 8-based Surface Pro can be purchased in the U.S. and Canada beginning on Feb. 9 through all Microsoft retail stores, microsoftstore.com and at Staples and Best Buy in the U.S. as well as from a number of locations in Canada.
The technical specs include an Intel Core i5 processor, a 10.6-inch screen and support for Touch and Type Covers. It differs from the Surface with its pen support, a Full HD display and an Intel Core i5 processor.
The Surface Pro is directly targeted at the enterprise with consumers being a secondary target market. Pricing begins at $899 for 64 GB model, but a 128 GB model will also be available.
Will the Surface Pro be a game changer? This is a very difficult question to answer based primarily on its price point. At $899 for the base model, addition of the touch cover keyboard ($130) takes the Surface Pro to $1,130, which is a steep price to pay for the consumer.
Businesses will have fewer problems picking up Surface Pros as notebook or even desktop replacements with a touch-enabled interface. The real challenge might end up being answered by PC makers, those OEMs that come out with hopefully cheaper convertibles and tablets that can compete price-wise with the iPad ($699 for 64GB model), Nexus 10 ($499 for 32GB model) and Samsung Galaxy Note ($580 for upgraded 64GB).
Is the Surface Pro too expensive? For me, yes. I would have love to see it at $200 or $300 less, to gain that vital market share and more important, mind share. My hope is that this pricing decision will not be regretted. But I would be very happy to be proved wrong.
Weigh in with your thoughts on the Surface Pro.