Microsoft shows off 12-inch Windows 10 Toshiba tablet to battle Apple iPad Pro

The ultralight prototype could battle the expected super-size iPad for the enterprise market.

Photo: The Verge

Hoping to blunt the force of next week's expected announcement from Apple about a larger iPad Pro, Microsoft unveiled a prototype 12-inch tablet that could be a Windows 10 competitor in the burgeoning enterprise-specific tablet market.

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The Verge got its hands on (and snapped some pictures of) a super-size Toshiba slate behind closed doors at this week's IFA event in Berlin. The prototype comes with a 1,920x1,080 (full HD) 12-inch display and is ultra-lightweight, thanks to its plastic construction. As seems inevitable with a tablet of this size, it includes a stylus, and a keyboard can be magnetically attached to the case for easier transport.

If something like this device eventually sees the light of day, Microsoft and Toshiba seem to be banking on Windows 10 and the svelte feel to compete against the iPad Pro, which will be running iOS -- familiar to workers from their iPhones and other iPads, but not the one on which they usually perform a lot of their work -- and probably will be constructed with heavier, if potentially more durable materials.

Microsoft could also have something of a split strategy with business tablets, positioning its Surface Pro slates for power users and the lighter 12-inch model for most workers. (Alternatively, there's something like the Lenovo Miix 700, a 12-inch Windows tablet with 2,160x1,440 resolution, Intel Core M processor, and detachable keyboard.) That's because the Toshiba prototype is using an Intel Atom processor, which is tinier and less resource hungry than the Intel Core CPUs found in the Surface Pro tablets. It will be interesting to see how its performance would ultimately compare to the iPad Pro, which would conceivably using Apple's custom chips.

Apple has always had a mixed (at best) relationship with the enterprise market, and there are serious doubts about whether an iPad Pro could really succeed and help lift stagnating sales of the company's tablets. My ZDNet colleague Jason Perlow summed these concerns up earlier this week. The split screen feature coming to the iPad version of iOS 9 addresses one previous drawback, and if the rumors are true, Apple may be adding a Force Touch display and stylus option to boost worker productivity.

Of course, given the prototype status, there's no pricing or availability for this potential larger Windows 10 tablet. Perhaps those will become available when and if the iPad Pro is announced, as Microsoft hopes to deflect attention from Apple's latest big event. On the other hand, a tepid response to a bigger iPad could delay (or even halt) the roll-out of competing devices. Would you prefer an iPad Pro or a thin, light, large-screen Windows 10 tablet, once both would hit the market? Let us know your thoughts in the discussion section below.

[Via: The Verge]