October 06, 2015 03:50 UTC

Science & Technology

Microsoft Competes Against Apple With New Tablet

Read, listen and learn English with this story. Double-click on any word to find the definition in the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary.

Microsoft officials introduce the Surface tablet computerMicrosoft officials introduce the Surface tablet computer
Microsoft officials introduce the Surface tablet computer
Microsoft officials introduce the Surface tablet computer


Play or download an MP3 of this story
  • Microsoft Competes Against Apple with New Tablet Computer

This is the VOA Special English Technology Report.
Microsoft has announced its first tablet computer. It is called the Surface, and it is designed to compete directly with the popular Apple iPad.
The computer software maker announced its new tablet last Monday at a media event in Los Angeles. Microsoft will offer two versions of the Surface. Each has a different processor. The Surface for Windows RT runs on an ARM processor. It is less powerful than the Surface for Windows 8 Pro, which uses an Intel processor.
The RT is also thinner and weighs less than the Pro. Either tablet weighs no more than nine hundred three grams. Both have screens that are about twenty-seven centimeters in size. That is a little bigger than the iPad’s screen.
Microsoft has not said exactly when the new Surface will appear in stores. But, it is expected to be sometime in September or October. This is about the same time that the company plans to release its new Windows 8 computer operating system.
Brenda Estrella owns a laptop computer. She has been considering switching to a tablet.
BRENDA ESTRELLA: "iPad for me is more of an entertainment device, like I see a lot of people carrying it around or taking pictures on it. For me, it's not that practical, so if Microsoft is coming out with a tablet that actually you can like type, and actually do different things other than just swipe, then that would be better for me."
Fox Van Allen is a technology expert. He agrees the Surface seems to have more to offer than the iPad.
FOX VAN ALLEN: "It's a very interesting new device. I think the key point here is that it's not just another iPad. It's a device that almost serves as a replacement for a PC."
Many technology lovers, including Catherine Clinch, are excited about the new tablet.
CATHERINE CLINCH: "The applause moments were on things that I think were predictable -- wow it stands by itself, you don't have buy a stand. It’s all together, the keyboard folds over, it’s a cover -- all those wonderful things. But when I look at this what I think of is the potential to get rid of the netbook, to get rid of the laptop, to maybe even down the line get rid of the full computer."
The Surface is meant to compete with the iPad. But not everyone is sure it is a better product. This includes iPad user John Ayala.    
JOHN AYALA: “Would I buy one over an iPad? No. I like Apple products right now. I am glad there is a competitor and I am glad there is an alternative, but I am sticking with Apple.”
For years, Microsoft made software, not computers. A few earlier attempts by the company to make and sell hardware products failed. That included the Zune music player. It could not compete against Apple’s iPod.
Estimates place the value of the tablet computer market at about seventy-nine billion dollars this year. Microsoft hopes to capture a share of that market with its latest device.
And that's the VOA Special English Technology Report, written by June Simms. Transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our reports are at voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Steve Ember.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Leonardo OG from: Wampia
06/30/2012 11:05 PM
All is well or It's all right.

See you soon.

by: Ha from: Vietnam
06/29/2012 10:49 AM
Woo, i hope to see device soon!!! i think it will sells more than Apple

by: Puchong from: Thailand
06/26/2012 7:48 AM
Thank so much for sound of news, I think it is very good of improve lesiten english.

by: Janet from: California
06/26/2012 3:13 AM
is the key pad cover removable and can you turn it vertical like the iPad ?

In Response

by: Jozsef from: Hungary
06/28/2012 11:02 AM
in most cases the touch screen orientation rotates when you turn the tablet.

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
06/26/2012 1:45 AM
I agree with Catherine Clinch. This Surface has some advantages other than its lightness and thinness. It's very convenient that it stands by itself and a keyboard is fold in its cover. I wonder how long the Surface would run in one battery charging.

by: Helene from: China
06/26/2012 12:35 AM
I'm happy when I see a new electric device appearing in the store .I worry about my two children who have an Ipad , an Ipod, a laptop and desk computer .when the surface is comming out i have to spend more money for my children because the surface is more offer and more practice than I pad. I hope its prices is less than Ipad i will be happy.

by: firas najjar from: uae
06/25/2012 6:50 PM
if i can join ms tablet to domain and manage it that would a dream come true for me. my second dream is a free light weight office. if these two options are available i'd be the first buyer

by: 123
06/25/2012 5:59 PM
The surface pro is way cool!!!!!!!!!!!!
I hope it is released really quickly, so that lovers of this tablet can buy it quickly.
I am a surface pro tablet lover. I LOVE THIS TABLET MORE THAN OTHER TABLETS

by: Thai Ngan from: Vietnam
06/25/2012 4:43 PM
Hopefully, the Surface would be affordable to the masses.

In Response

by: George from: Georgia
06/28/2012 5:45 PM
VOA - you are incomparable !!! Thanks a lot !!!

Learn with The News

  • Trade ministers from a dozen Pacific nations in Trans-Pacific Partnership Ministers meeting post in TPP Ministers "Family Photo" in Atlanta, Georgia, October 1, 2015.

    Audio Twelve Countries Reach Trans-Pacific Partnership Deal

    For the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal to take effect, the agreement needs approval from national legislatures in all 12 countries. Completion of the deal is a major foreign policy victory for U.S. President Barack Obama. However, U.S. congressional approval of the deal is not guaranteed. More

  • Nobel prize in Medicine - winners

    Audio Ireland, Japan, China Scientists Share Nobel Prize for Medicine

    The first of the 2015 Nobel Prizes has been announced. The committee awarded the prize to scientists from Ireland, Japan and China for discoveries that will reduce death and suffering. For one of these countries, it is a first-ever win. More

  • In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Oct. 4, 2015, an aerial view of a bomb explosion in Syria.

    Audio Western Nations Criticize Russia’s Air Campaign in Syria

    Western military experts have studied video recordings and said Russia is mostly using unguided, or dumb, bombs. Experts say such weapons greatly increase the risk of damage and death in civilian areas. Russia began the airstrikes September 30. More

  • Video US Promises to Investigate Afghan Hospital Attack

    The aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 22 people died in the attack in Kunduz. Afghan officials say Taliban fighters were hiding in a hospital and on its grounds. But the Taliban and Doctors Without Borders say that is not true. More

  • New Zealand Marine Reserve

    Audio New Zealand To Establish Massive Marine Reserve

    Marine reserves are special places offer great opportunities to see rare and abundant sea creatures and environments. The Kermedec Sanctuary will cover 620 thousand square kilometers of largely clean ocean. It will be one of the largest marine reserves to protect wildlife in the South Pacific. More

Featured Stories

  • Video Know Your Enemy

    Do you have an enemy? Hopefully, you don’t. An enemy is someone who hates you and you hate them back. An enemy threatens you, attacks you or tries to harm you. In some languages, there are different words for a personal enemy versus an enemy of war, political enemy or enemy of the state. More

  • Audio Everyday Grammar: Comparatives and Superlatives

    When we want to compare things we use comparative and superlative forms. Find out some of rules and exceptions of these important forms in Everyday Grammar for this week. More

  • Video ‘The Martian’ Mixes Science, Science Fiction

    Hollywood's latest space operation gone wrong movie stars Matt Damon as an astronaut mistakenly left on Mars. The film is a hit with movie critics. But what do science critics think? More

  • The Open Boat by Stephen Crane, Part 2

    Video The Open Boat by Stephen Crane, Part Two

    We continue the story of “The Open Boat” by Stephen Crane. As we told you last week, the story is based on true events. In eighteen ninety-six, Crane was traveling to Cuba as a news reporter. On his way there, his ship sank in the Atlantic Ocean. Crane climbed into the last remaining lifeboat. More

  • Audio Great Barrier Reef Choking on Pollutants

    The Great Barrier Reef is off the coast of Queensland in northeastern Australia. It is the largest living organism on Earth. However, the reef is being damaged by climate change and pollutants from farms that flow into the reef. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner
Confessions of an English Learner blog

Tell us About Our Programs