This is kiiinnnddd of a big deal. For the first time ever, there’s hardware out there that isn’t playing “catch up” with the iPad.

Here, Microsoft isn’t saying “we too have a tablet device that you can install apps on” like Android tablets have.

What Microsoft is presenting here is a brand new and innovative and attractive product. Where the iPhone killed the need to carry both a cell phone and an iPod, the Surface looks primed to eliminate the need to carry a Metro tablet for tablet-related work and an Ultrabook for full on traditional computing on the go.

Are we headed back to the good old days of Microsoft vs. Apple that kept innovation fresh and constant? I sure hope so.