Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. appear poised to duke it out over the touch-screen tablet market this holiday -- with the winners most likely to be consumers who will have more gadget choices than ever, as well as music rights holders whose songs will be an integral part of the new device lineup.
In one corner is the Surface, Microsoft's tablet set to hit shelves Oct. 26. The company released pricing details on Tuesday -- $499 for a 32-gig version and $699 for a 64-gig device. The pricing exactly mirrors those of Apple's Wi-Fi-only iPad 3 devices. For now, Surface tablets do not have the ability to connect to cellular data networks. You can read the technical specifications of the Surface here.
Apple's invite to their mysterious press event on Oct. 23
In the other corner stand Apple and its mystery contender. The company on Tuesday (Oct. 16) sent out invitations to a press event set for Oct. 23 in San Jose, triggering an online frenzy of speculation that the company might be unveiling the long-rumored iPad Mini, a smaller sibling to its iPad tablets.
Images leaked on the Web purporting to be prototypes of the iPad Mini show the device to be roughly the size of Amazon.com's Kindle Fire HD, small enough to slip into a jacket pocket.
Come holiday, consumers will be faced with a bounty of choices that also will include Google's 7-inch $199 Nexus 7, Samsung's $299 Galaxy 5.5-inch Note II "phablet." All either come with a music service or have readily available music apps that, when used, will likely result in bigger royalty checks in the stockings of many in the music industry come Christmas.