Rumors about an ‘Xbox Surface’ emerge; what does it mean for the iPad?

A few months back, the rumor mill had a scoop about Microsoft’s plans to ape the Apple model and sell its own tablet. They even had a name for this tablet – the Xbox Surface. It seemed preposterous at first, because Microsoft simply seemed to avoid getting into the hardware manufacturing business like the plague (in most cases), and that the name of the rumored tablet was simply a combination of two notable Microsoft products – the extremely popular Xbox gaming console, and the Surface, Microsoft’s attempt at dabbling with touch interfaces a decade back that went on to infamously fail. As it turned out though, Microsoft did choose to call their own Windows 8 tablet the Surface after all. Moreover, widely circulating reports seem to indicate that they are planning to launch a 7 inch gaming tablet called (surprise, surprise) the Xbox Surface.



Apparently, the Microsoft tablet will have a custom ARM chipset and powerful RAM – powerful hardware to give it longevity in the gaming market. They have a well-established series of titles exclusive to the Xbox gaming console as well, and it’s not hard to imagine that this will translate to better prospects for the Xbox Surface than, say, a random Android tablet. But what about the iPad?


The iPad is no slouch when it comes to hardware. In fact, the recently launched 4th gen iPad is supposed to be a beast in terms of processing power. Moreover, its ecosystem is tightly integrated and yet gloriously diverse, making it a godsend for tablet gamers in the present. But it’s the future that is a bit more sketchy for the Apple tablet.


The iPad has a large number of brilliant games tailormade for it. The likes of Shadowgun and N.O.V.A. 3 are gorgeous games that get passed off as ‘console-quality’. Infinity Blade and Real Racing are gaming titles that have managed to stretch the limits of the iOS platform with every new iteration. But the fact is, the vast majority of games in the App Store cannot come close to matching the richness of a game run on a full-fledged console.


The Xbox Surface certainly will have hardware that’s closer to the iPad than the Xbox, but one could speculate that if Microsoft plays its cards right, a dedicated gaming tablet could enter territories hitherto unchartered by the iPad. That’s a proposition that could give the folks at Cupertino company some sleepless nights.




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