For enterprise use and for replacement of notebook I think a keyboard is not really sufficient. The question is can the tablet run applications that is currently running on notebooks? Of course MS office should not be a problem but how about others?
All of the comments neglect what is probably even more important, which is the microsoft penchant for releasing "buggy" products. What software release of theirs has not had countless updates for a lot of different problems? Would you spend even $200 on a product that was certain to have issues a few months down the road? My point being: "look at the reputation and past performance". Does anybody really think that the product will be fully debugged when it hits the market? Have they ever had a product without problems? A bad reputation is often earned, and in this case their's certainly is earned.
A 3G or LTE-capbale Surface would likely cannibalize some netbook and ultrabook sales as well as some tablet sales, for all the reasons stated above.
In a nutshell: content creation as well as consumption.
Consider the millions of consumers who use both a netbook and a tablet -- one for productivity apps (content creation), the other mostly for content consumption.
If they can have a device in a tablet form factor that can fulfill both types of computing needs, I think many will opt for that one device that replaces two.
Because the Surface is not a phone, but rather a tablet-sized and tablet-weight PC. (And it has a nice 16:9 screen, vs. the 4:3 screen on the iPad!)
As to the UI, from what I've read about Win8, it is adjustable. The "start screen" look, with tiles, is the default, but not the only option. You can also start to a desktop, and then run your so-called "apps" from the task bar or desktop shortcuts. OR, you can access the "start screen" from the desktop, just like you now access the "start menu" from the desktop.
With every new Windows version, you read many many complaints. But usually what happens is that people set it up the way they prefer, and then the complaining ends.
Why would you buy a Surface when you probably didn't do that with any of the previous Microsoft tablet offerings?
Microsoft has spent forever trying to force the familiar PC-desktop onto other devices (Start buttons on WinCE devices etc).
Then Microsoft bought Danger and got enamored with the tiles interface on the Kin device (which bombed like Zune). Now Microsoft is pushing the Kin-style interface onto other platforms: tablets and PCs.
Over the process MS have learned nothing. They still try to get only one interface onto all devices whether they fit or not.
Sorry, but yoy didn't read what many have been complaining about, wrt existing tablets.
The first point was, they only work well for consumers of info, not for production of anything. Therefore, those who want a tablet-sized device that is actually useful to them would leap at something like this. We have a Kindle Fire. I have very little interest in it. Mostly, we end up using it as a quick way to get the weather.
Second point being, what are "apps"? Apps are programs, apps are sometimes nothing more than a "favorite" or a "bookmark." Why do I need an explicit "app" to do, say, measurement standards conversion, if I can download any number of tools to do that, or even use the built into the Windows "calculator" for that?
Or, why do I need an "app" to go to Amazon, or CNN, or iTunes, if I can easily create bokkmarks for those sites on my browser?
If this Surface is functionally more of a PC that one of these other pads are, it opens up all sorts of possibilities that no number of "apps" can match.
The compelling solution here is, instead of buying a laptop, I might just buy a Surface. And then I could easily forget that those other limited tablets even exist.
Okay, let's look at reality here folks. The last tablet that made a dent in the market was the Kindle Fire, which is a fraction of the price of the iPad with a unique content library (books, music, movies, etc.). Microsoft is coming at this with prices equivalent to the iPad and without the content library. And yes, apps will run on the device, but the vast majority of apps are still being designed for the iOS and Android platforms, not Microsoft.
So, why should or would a consumer switch from a platform they are comfortable with for Microsoft? Without a really compelling reason, it will be difficult to generate momentum in the market and this is a problem not only faced by Microsoft, but also many throughout the electronics value chain. Because of the success of the Fire, many tablet OEMs decided not to release their next generation Android-based tablets in the US. Instead, they hoped to release Windows-based tablets aimed at productivity applications, which still might not be a bad alternative because Microsoft's does not have a history of success in the hardware market.
The point is, you have to deliver a compelling solution which includes a device, content, and services. Apple set the bar that others have to compete against or find a niche that that they can play. Amazon found that niche, but I'm not convinced Microsoft has. A shiny new device may capture someone's attention for a moment, but not for long. Just look at the Win7 phones.
Supposedly you'll have 3G on your Windows Phone 8 device:p Tether away.
Microsoft hinted at expensive prices... really? Do you see 3G/LTE in the typically priced Ultrabook or the $500 iPad? Jim is reading "missing information" as "missing critical feature". A "the glass is half emtpy and it'll be gone tomorrow!" cry of an opinion. Mind you, having mobile broadband (and the expensive contract) doesn't make it "10 times better".
the author completely missed the point of Surface. I mean by a country mile. What the surface brings together is the two modalities of modern computing: content consumption and content creation. Content consumption is what the Kindle and Apple tablets are good at, and with Kindle and other good browsing apps, the Surface should not lag far behind iPad and Fire.
BUT, for content creation, esp in the enterprise, being able to have a full keyboard and mouse in a highly integrated fashion DOES make this a sufficiently productive replacement for a notebook, while the iPad and Fire do NOT.
Hence, I see this as the tablet I always wanted, because with this feature set, I truly don't need to fuss with hauling my laptop around for when I need to do real work, verse browse Facebook posts all day.
A successful apps store/ market place will help the tablet thrive. To me, it means a convenient way to buy games, small apps and books. However, I believe majority of the people demand better productivity software; something that they have been using for a while. I have no doubt Surface will acquire a substantial market share. Corporations would rather buy Surface to their employees than buying a Macbook or Google Tablet. Whether Surface will thrive in consumers market, only the market can tell.
Microsoft Surface is just the beginning like Ultrabook. There will be innovation. I have no doubt.