When Microsoft began to send out invitations for its Windows 8 launch event on Oct. 25, many expected to learn more about the company's new Surface tablet as well. Now, Microsoft has confirmed that the Surface will indeed make an appearance, as another invitation sent Friday highlighted the tablet’s debut.
“You’re invited to celebrate Windows 8. Including a Microsoft Surface Reception,” read the invite.
The PC software-maker plans to launch the Surface starting at midnight on the day of its release, Oct. 26. A Microsoft spokesperson shared this information with The Verge, adding that some of Microsoft’s holiday retail locations will open for the Surface’s midnight launch.
These temporary “pop-up” stores will open on Oct. 26, and the majority of these retailers will be located in the same mall or shopping center as Apple stores, according to Computer World. Microsoft announced these short-term stores last month and now includes them in their full list of retail locations on their website.
As Windows 8 and its associated products prepare to hit the market, the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant has begun ramping up its advertising campaign. The most recent ad sparked attention in Chicago, where Microsoft posted what appeared to be a hand-painted graffiti-style Surface on a brick wall, just one block away from an Apple Store.
Apple enthusiasts have taken notice of this move: iOnApple writer Yoni Heisler described the advertisement as “bizarre.”
“I happened to be riding the bus in Chicago where I came across a particularly bizarre advertisement for Microsoft’s upcoming tablets on the side wall of a car wash,” Heisler wrote. “There’s just no way that could be real, right?”
Heisler’s confusion came from the simplicity of the ad, calling it “low rent” for Microsoft’s typical marketing approaches.
Despite these ads and event announcements, Microsoft has not disclosed any information regarding the Surface tablet’s price. CEO Steve Ballmer has hinted that it may fall in the price range of $300 to $800, which is a large gap that he described as the “sweet spot” for tablet prices.
“If you say to somebody, ‘Would you use one of the 7-inch tablets, would somebody ever use a Kindle [Kindle Fire, $199] to do their homework?’ The answer is no; you never would,” Ballmer said to The Seattle Times. “It’s just not a good enough product. It doesn’t mean you might not read a book on it…If you look at the bulk of the PC market, it would run between, say, probably $300 to about $700 or $800. That’s the sweet spot.”
Microsoft is entering the tablet industry at a crucial time when mobile slates are on track to outshine traditional PCs. A recent report from Forrester Research supports this notion, indicating that tablets will become the primary computing choice for millions around the world. Global tablet sales are projected to reach 375 million in 2016, the report says.
“Next year, tablets will outsell desktop PCs,” said Terry Myerson, Microsoft's VP of Windows Web Services, in an interview with CNET at the TechEd Europe conference in June. Myerson added that “touch” functionality will revolutionize the PC industry “just like the mouse did.”