I believe Microsoft was inspired to develop its Surface tablet when it began to notice the large number of people buying external keyboards for the iPad. In fact, external keyboards are the second best-selling iPad accessory behind protective cases. Also, Asus’ Transformer has shown that there is interest in a tablet/keyboard combo device for Android, another product that underlines consumer demand.
Bajarin might be right, but his examples illustrate a very important point regardless. Microsoft probabaly built the Surface based on what it thinks some fraction of consumers want. Apple built a tablet that consumers didn’t yet know they wanted.
This is one of the great keys to Apple’s success. Make things that consumers don’t even know they want, then announce and let them buy said device or service or software as soon as possible, preferably the same day. iPod, iTunes Music, laptops without optical drives, touchscreen pocket computer/phone, tablet device without stylus or keyboard …
Microsoft does not do this, nor does Android, nor do the traditional PC makers.