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Microsoft had hinted that it didn't want to compete with the iPad based on price and now it's clear that it won't. The company's Surface tablet is available now for pre-order, and the least expensive configuration is selling for $499— the same price as Apple's device.

The $499 version of Surface has 32 GB of storage, runs Windows 8 RT— the mobile version of the desktop OS— and does not include the much-anticipated Touch Cover. An identical $599 version and a 64 GB $699 version do include the Touch Cover, but strangely only in black.

As of now, all models of Surface are wifi-only and a promised "professional" model that will run the full version of Windows 8 has not yet been announced. Additionaly Touch Covers, a requirement if you want anything other than black, cost $119— a high price to pay for style. The force-feedback Type Cover goes for $129 and is exclusively available in black.

Microsoft says pre-orders made now will ship by the 26th. What do you guys think? Is Surface worth the dough? Are Touch Covers too expensive? Which model would you get?

[via The Verge]