Microsoft's Surface tablet debuts today. It's going to run Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system and Microsoft is making a big deal out of it. Is the Surface a Tablet or a Laptop? Perhaps it's somewhere in the middle. Will you love it or hate it? So much depends on your Windows needs and how closely integrated you are into the world of Microsoft. My guess is that you'll really like the super thin one with the better camera that comes out next year and sincerely love the 7" version when it comes out in three years. For today, let's give the nice folks in Redmond some kudos and an "E" for effort. This is by far the coolest device Microsoft has introduced since the Xbox 360. And, there a good chance that, if they stick with it, the Surface may represent the future of Microsoft.
Now, just a few days ago, our friends at Apple showed off a whole bunch of stuff. Not only did Apple announce the iPad Mini, but they also announced improved MacBook Pros, iMacs, Mac Minis and even the full-sized iPad. What should you buy? Here what you need to know about the new crop of Apples.
It is, in fact, named the iPad Mini. It's 23 percent thinner than the 4th-gen iPad (details on this below), and has a 7.9 inch screen with a resolution of 1024×768 pixels, the same as the iPad and iPad 2. It weighs just 0.68 pounds.
The screen size is one-third larger than competing 7" Android tablets, which lets you view 49 percent more of a website in portrait mode and 67 percent more in landscape mode.
It has a rocking 10 hour battery, plus a dual-core A5 processor (same as the iPad 2), along with a FaceTime HD camera and a 5 MP iSight camera on the back.
Oh yeah, and LTE, which rocks. The LTE also supports Sprint's network, too.
There are 16, 32 and 64 GB models that are priced at $329 / $429 / $529 for Wi-Fi only. Pre-orders of these begin on Friday and will ship Nov. 2.
The LTE models will be available for pre-order and purchase two weeks after the Wi-Fi models, and will run $459 / $559 / $659 for the same capacities.
We should have seen this coming when the iPhone 5 got its Lightning port. The iPad released earlier this year ("the new iPad" aka third-gen) is no more. It's replaced by the 4th-gen iPad, which Apple now calls the iPad with Retina Display as a means of distinguishing it from the Mini and the iPad 2 (which is still available for purchase).
The only real changes are a newer processor, the A6X chip, which gives it 2x graphical improvement. It has a Lightning connector, just like the iPhone 5. Its Wi-Fi is two times faster and now has capability for LTE on Sprint. How sad will you be if you bought the "New iPad" back in March? Pretty sad.
MacBook Pro With Retina
The other biggest announcement of the day was a refresh of the 13" MacBook Pro, now with Retina Display. It is 20 percent thinner, one pound lighter. It's still heavier than the Air, but lighter than all other MacBooks.
The screen's resolution is 2560×1600 pixels, which is an insane amount on a screen that small. It has almost twice as many pixels as a 1080p HD TV.
It also has two USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt ports, an HDMI port and an SD Card Reader.
It's a beautiful computer. It starts at $1,699 with a 2.5 GHz dual-core i5, 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of memory. Ships today.
Non-Retina MacBook Pros are still sticking around, primarily because of the $500 starting price difference.
Even sexier than the new MacBook pro, the new iMac is a beauty. It's only 5mm thin, which is way, way thinner than the previous version. CNET described it as a "giant iPad on a stand."
The iMacs come with four USB 3.0 ports plus two Thunderbolt ports and Gigabit Ethernet. 21.5" model starts at $1,299.
Last but not least, the Mac Mini also got an overhaul, with USB 3.0 ports, the option for dual or quad-core i5 or i7 processors, and up to 16 GB of RAM. Starts at $599 for 4 GB of RAM and 500 GB of HDD.
All in, this is going to be a great Tablet holiday season. Apple iPads in every size, Samsung, Google, Amazon and now Microsoft ... Tablets for Everyone!!!
Shelly Palmer is Fox 5 New York's On-air Tech Expert (WNYW-TV) and the host of Fox Television's monthly show Shelly Palmer Digital Living. He also hosts United Stations Radio Network's, Shelly Palmer Digital Living Daily, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment. He is Managing Director of Advanced Media Ventures Group, LLC an industry-leading advisory and business development firm and a member of the Executive Committee of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (the organization that bestows the coveted Emmy® Awards). Palmer is the author of Television Disrupted: The Transition from Network to Networked TV 2nd Edition (York House Press, 2008) the seminal book about the technological, economic, and sociological forces that are changing everything and, Overcoming The Digital Divide: How to use Social Media and Digital Tools to Reinvent Yourself and Your Career (York House Press, 2011) For more information, visit shellypalmer.com.
Read all Shelly's MediaBizBloggers commentaries at Shelly Palmer Report.
Check us out on Facebook at MediaBizBloggers.com
Follow our Twitter updates @MediaBizBlogger
The opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaBizBloggers.com management or associated bloggers. MediaBizBloggers is an open thought leadership platform and readers may share their comments and opinions in response to all commentaries.