We got our first look at Microsoft’s new hero device the Surface tablet yesterday, and some engineers from Microsoft took to Reddit to do an AMA today. There wasn’t too much that we didn’t already know, but the engineers did drop some interesting tidbits. For instance, the price of the Surface looks good when you take storage space into account–the $500 model of the Surface comes with 32GB of storage, whereas the iPad only has 16GB at that price. However, you may not get to use that whole 32GB. A vague answer given by Richard Lopez during the AMA led many to believe that the preinstalled Microsoft software would take up gigabytes and gigabytes of space:
After the OS, OfficeRT and a bunch of apps, you will still have more that 20GB. As you say, you can always add an SD card and while you cannot add apps there, you can get music, movies and photos there.
The one specification where the Surface lags far behind the current industry-leading iPad is in screen resolution–the iPad features a “retina” display, but the Surface only has a 1366×768 resolution. However, according to the Surface engineers, it shouldn’t be a problem–higher resolution actually makes the human eye see less detail. I’m not convinced, but the engineers certainly are:
Screen resolution is one component of perceived detail. The true measure of resolvability of a screen called Modulation Transfer Function (MTF), not Pixels. MTF is a combination of both contrast and resolution. There are over a dozen subsystems that effect this MTF number.. Most folks just focus on one number out of dozens that effect perceived detail. Without good contrast resolution decreases. Check out contrast sensitivity of the human eye graph.. Basically, as resolution/DPI increases the eye has becomes less sensitive.
There were a good deal of unanswered questions. Notably, we still don’t know whether there will be a way to avoid “double-dipping” when paying for Office, and why the smart cover is more when bought separately than when bundled. Still, if you’re interested in Microsoft’s new tablet, there’s a wealth of chatter in the AMA.