Yesterday evening, Microsoft revealed the Surface (no, not that one), which comes in two flavors, one with Windows RT (it only has the touch-friendly Metro UI), and the Surface Pro, with full-on Windows 8. It’s a tablet, but it’s designed to be used like a laptop, too, with the Touch Cover and Type Cover keyboards.

It is — potentially — a serious upgrade to both tablets and laptops.

The Surface is beautiful, and appears to be built with the kind of obsessive design specs that you would ordinarily expect only from Apple. It may also render the still-new ultrabook category all but obsolete. I love the idea of a Surface Pro with the Type Cover, a tablet that is also a perfectly functional laptop. (Like most iPad owners, I still need a laptop — with a real OS — to do many things.)

Of course, it’s all theoretical, at this point. Microsoft hasn’t stated a price other than to say the Surface will be “competitively priced,” and we don’t know what kind of battery life to expect, either. It’s coming with the release of Windows 8, which means sometime in the next few months. As the Verge’s Josh Topolsky points out, this is definitely a new direction for Microsoft, a helpful hint as to what Microsoft intends for Windows 8, and full of potential, but a lot of ifs remain.

Still, I’m excited. Are you?

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