Microsoft Intros Surface 2 Tablets Ahead of Apple iPad Announcements

Apple isn't the only company using Tuesday for big announcements. Microsoft introduced its new Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro tablets ahead of Apple's media event where new iPads are expected to be unveiled.

Microsoft's new Surface 2 (left) and Surface 2 Pro (right)Microsoft's new Surface 2 (left) and Surface 2 Pro (right)

The Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro are Microsoft's second generation attempt to jump into the tablet market, and much like the original versions, Microsoft is offering accessories that make them feel very untablet-like. The company is pushing its add-on keyboards, and even a Surface-specific mouse.

Microsoft is calling the Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro "the most productive tablets on the planet," with improved processor performance and battery life, and a second angle option for the kickstand leg. The tablets run Windows 8.1 RT or Windows 8.1 Pro, include a USB 3.0 port, a 5 megapixel camera, and 1080p video capture.

The launch came only hours ahead of Apple's scheduled 10AM pacific time media event where the company is expected to show off new iPad and iPad mini models, new MacBook Pro models, OS X Mavericks, the redesigned Mac Pro, and updates apps. Even if Apple shows off just new iPads, the announcement will likely overshadow Microsoft's Surface 2 launch.

Pricing for the new models starts at US$499 for the Surface 2 and $899 for the Surface 2 Pro.