Apple iPad sales so far have crushed any other tablet thrown against it. Blackberry Playbook is no threat to iPad, even after the Playbook OS 2.0 update. Kindle Fire lacks premium offering. There is no other tablet that has been successful in crushing iPad 2 business, including Samsung’s Galaxy Tab line of tablets. But after MWC 2012, where Microsoft revealed Windows 8 – a universal OS for tablets, laptops and desktops – Windows 8 tablets could pose a serious threat to iPad 3, which is scheduled for release on March 7.

A serious fight is expected between the two tech giants in form of iOS 5.1 [VS] Windows 8. Apple dominates tablet market with its iPad and this gadget is became a hit from day one, establishing itself firmly as the singular most popular tablet in the world. On the other hand, Windows 8 tablets are just about to enter the market with Metro UI built from scratch.

Metro UI is specially designed for tablets. iPad is not compatible with physical mouse (though it supports keyboard) but Windows 8 tablets can work with mouse as well as keyboard (not to forget, Android tablets also support mouse and keyboard, but with limited functionality). Also, Skydrive is giving Apple’s iCloud service a sound beating with its 5 times more free online storage offering.

Windows 7-based tablets have failed to prove anything, but Windows 8 is a whole new concept optimized for tablets. Windows 8 tablets can offer a lot of things that iPad has failed to do. But can Windows 8 tablets succeed in doing what Windows 7 tablets failed – beat iPad?

Apple iPad 3 is expected to debut on March 7 and could be available in stores within a week. On the other hand, Windows 8 tablets will not show up until summer. The market gods are in favor of iPad as Apple has an advantage with early release but Microsoft is always a serious threat to Apple. Windows 8 is already butting heads with Apple’s newly released OS X Mountain Lion. Similarly, Windows 8 tablets are expected to be designed to pose a major challenge to iPad 3. However, OS alone will not help Microsoft win the fight. Windows 8 will need lots of apps to attract consumers to buy Windows 8 tablets.

The new Microsoft OS has a feature called Microsoft Store, which can pose a threat to Apple’s Mac Store/iTunes Store. Games like Cut the Rope are already in the store and Microsoft is promising to develop more apps. If Microsoft is able to add more apps to its store, then Windows 8 will grow in popularity.

Of course, Apple has always stood apart from the crowd in the tablet market, but it’s too early to write off Windows 8. Presently, Windows 8 cannot stand in way of iPad 3’s success but the future could present a very different picture.

(Reported by Johnny Wills, edited by Surojit Chatterjee)

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