If Microsoft’s new Surface device is successful, it will create a new category, something between Apple’s iPad and notebook computers made by its partners.

NEW YORK — Much has been speculated about how well the new Microsoft Surface will fare in the tablet world, particularly against Apple’s iPad.

But if consumers flock to the Surface, it won’t be because it’s an alternative to the iPad. Microsoft’s vision for the Surface goes well beyond the traditional tablet market. The company is betting that consumers will want to use the keyboard it’s designed for the Surface to create documents, annotate pictures, and more.

And yet, the Surface, which Microsoft launched here today, isn’t really a laptop either. The version that hits its New York store at 10 p.m. tonight and elsewhere at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow won’t run most legacy Windows applications. And, of course, it can be used without a keyboard to surf the Web and watch videos.

“Is it a tablet? Is it a laptop? What category does it go in?,” Microsoft Windows President Steven Sinofsky said at the launch event. “It’s not just a tablet, but it’s the best tablet I’ve ever used It’s not just a laptop, but it’s the best laptop I’ve ever used.”

If Microsoft succeeds, in reality, it will create..

See the whole story here: Microsoft Surface: Not really a tablet or a laptop