Tablet war waged for 12 November by Apple and Microsoft in Australia

Apple announced overnight its iPad Pro will go on sale in time to take on the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book from Microsoft.

Competition between Apple and Microsoft is intensifying as the two companies ready the release of flagship tablets ahead of the busy Christmas period.

Apple has confirmed pre-sales of its iPad Pro will open on 12 November in Australia, with the tablet scheduled to be in stores “starting later this week”.

The timing is perilous for Microsoft, which has earmarked the date to open its first retail store in Australia and launch its 2016 range of Surface devices.

The Microsoft Store will be the only shopfront in Australia selling the Surface Book and it will also sell the Surface Pro 4. The two tablet-convertibles have large 13.5-inch and 12.3-inch displays respectively, placing them in contention with Apple's 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

The Surface Pro 4 and iPad Pro are expected to drive sales of 1.8 million tablets in the second half of the year, according to findings from research firm Telsyte.

Microsoft has grown to become the third largest vendor in the Australian tablet market, after Apple and Samsung. The company will sustain growth, said Foad Fadaghi, the managing director of Telsyte.

"Windows-based tablets and 2-in-1s will benefit from an upgrade cycle that started with the arrival of Windows 10 and is expected to continue into 2017."

Apple holds the lion’s share of the market with 48 per cent penetration as of the first half in 2015. Microsoft has grown its share by four per cent to 14 per cent. Growth was at the expense of Android’s market share, which dropped to 38 per cent.

Sales of tablet convertibles are poised to triple by 2017, from 500,000 to 1.5 million.

Pricing for the Surface Pro 4 starts at $1,349 in Australia. Apple iPad Pro pricing starts at $1,249.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4
Microsoft Surface Pro 4
Apple iPad Pro
Apple iPad Pro


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