Microsoft’s Surface tablet will cost between £399 and £559 ($499 to $699 in the US) when it goes on sale on October 26th, the firm said today.
The price is the same as the cheapest third generation iPad, and will put the two firms into a head to head battle.
The Surface will go on sale the same day Microsoft releases Windows 8, the new version of its desktop computer software – and three days after Apple is expected to introduce a cheaper, mini version of its iPad.
It will also launch just a day after Amazon launches it popular range of Fire tablets in the UK for the first time.
Experts say the price could lead to major problems for Microsoft.
The firm waited until today to reveal it, despite having unveiled the tablet last month.
‘It is priced the same as the iPad 3, even though the Surface has a higher spec with 32gb rather than the iPad’s 16gb,’ said Stuart Miles of gadget website Pocket Lint.
‘However, the consumer is unlikely to understand that – they will simple see that it’s a straight choice between an iPad and Surface, and I think the majority of people will choose an iPad – they just won’t be aware of a spec fight.’
‘If you’ve used Windows Phone the Surface is easier to use, but not many people have – and people love or hate it.’
The software giant also showed the first TV ad for its tablet, heralding the start of what some believe could be a $400m ad push for Surface and Windows 8.
The dancing based ad was shown in a prime TV slot during the US version of Dancing With The Stars.
The advert begins with a single user snapping on the keyboard to a Surface tablet.
It then sees dozens of dancers creating a complex dance routine using the gadgets, with everyone from families to dancing schoolgirls using them.
The latest adverts are expected to be the first of many as the firm makes final preparations for the launches of Windows 8 and the Surface tablet.
Some US experts believe the firm could have an advertising budget of up to $400m for the launch.
Yesterday the firm announced details of the music service the tablet will have, Xbox Music.
It boasts 30 million songs, with a free ad version and a paid £8.99 ($9.99) version being available when Windows 8 launches.
The paid subscription is also required if you want to use Xbox Music on the Xbox 360 game console or on smartphones that use Windows Phone.
On the game console, an Xbox Live Gold membership is also required.
Current users of the Xbox – about 66 million worldwide – will gradually be introduced to the service with a 30-day free trial starting today.