Apple iPad 2 will not face competition from Microsoft as the Windows OS maker will not release its tablet-specific OS until 2012.

Bloomberg cited people with knowlede of the plan who confirmed that Microsoft will not launch its tablet OS until the 2012 back-to-school season.

The report follows Apple's launch of the next edition of iPad 2. Also some other key recent launches include Android tablets from Samsung, LG, HTC and a webOS tablet from HP. The tablet sphere now boasts tablets running on multiple operating systems which include webOS, iOS 4.3, Android 3.0 or Gingerbread and RIM's QNX.

Microsoft will certainly be late to the tablet party by a year. The reasons could include its efforts to create Windows OS specifically for ARM processors. The new OS from Microsoft will possibly be called Windows 8.

Currently, Microsoft has a breed of tablets running on Windows 7. It launched a bevy of tablets at CES 2011. However, Windows 7 tablets are known to be large sized and heavy. Also they offer dismal battery performance. Like the recently launched ASUS Slate EP 121 sports a 12.1-inch display, weighs 2.5 pounds and offers a battery life of 3.5 hours.

In comparison, the recently released iPad 2 with 9.7-inch display weighs about 1.3 pounds and offers a battery life of 10 hours. The iPad 2 now offers a faster A5 dual-core chip and is also 33 percent thinner than its predecessor. The iPad 2 is 0.4 inches thin. It also offers a front-facing VGA camera and a rear-facing camera with 720p video capture support. It brings the goodness of its latest OS, the iOS 4.3, on a 9.7-inch display with screen resolution of 1024x768. It also brings enhancements to AirPlay feature and a faster Safari web browser.

However, Microsoft has a few good Windows 7 running tablets in its, camp like the ASUS Eee Slate EP 121, Lenovo's Windows 7 Slate, Motion CL 900, MSI WindPad 100W and HP Slate 500, which can compete against the iPad 2

Here is slide show of some of the major Windows 7-based  iPad 2 contenders: