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The devices will also be lighter than high-end models and will be equipped for up to four hours of battery life, while the Surface Pro lasts for 13.5 hours on a single charge. At $400, Microsoft's entry would run $70 more than the budget iPad's starting price, but would still run considerably less than the $799 Surface Pro.

Microsoft previously released the $499 Surface RT in 2012 to limited success before switching to the Surface Pro line. According to IDC market research, Apple sold about 9.1 million iPads in the first quarter of 2018. If this rumored $400 Surface indeed exists, there's a decent chance it's as a toehold for slipping Microsoft services into educational markets, battling the threat of the aforementioned iPad and Chromebook tablets.

Microsoft shares are down 0.3% to $97.04.

Another contender might be ready to tee off on Apple's $329 iPad, and no, we're not talking about Chromebook tablets again. "The news agency remarks that Microsoft is hunting for a piece of Apple's iPad pie, and says that the Windows maker intends to do so with a new Intel-powered Surface tablet with a 10" screen. This was another area in which it fell short of the iPad in terms of functionality and it will be nice to see it come to the cheaper Surface tablet as well. The display is framed by a bezel with rounded corners, supposedly not unlike those of the iPad, in what marks a big departure from the rectangular design of Microsoft's flagship tablet.

Bloomberg: Microsoft plans lower-cost Surface tablets to battle Apple

For now, those who wish to receive more information when it's available can sign up at the Microsoft Surface Hub 2 product page.

There will be versions with 64 and 128 GB of storage, and models that connect to LTE cellular networks.

Alongside the devices, Microsoft plans to launch a cheaper keyboard cover, stylus and mouse - the current package costs $160. The current keyboard cover costs an extra $160, while the new keyboard will be priced a bit lower, they said.

Since 2015, Apple has rapidly added new productivity tools to the iPads, taking on Microsoft features like integration with digital drawing pens and using multiple apps at the same time. The company stopped making it at the end of 2016.



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