Is Microsoft’s Surface tablet "compromised?"

Apple chief Tim Cook may not have personally given Microsoft’s Surface tablet a test run, but the CEO had absolutely no problem with highlighting reviews that describe the device as “compromised” and “confusing.”

“I think one of the toughest things you do with each product is to make hard tradeoffs, and decide what a product should be. And we’ve really done that with the iPad. And so the user experience is absolutely incredible,” Cook explained during a call with analysts transcribed by AppleInsider.

“I suppose you could design a car that flies and floats, but I don’t think it would do all those things very well. I think people, when they look at the iPad versus competitive offerings, are going to conclude they really want an iPad. And I think people have done that to date. And I think they will continue to do that.”

Columnist Jim Dalrymple expressed similar sentiments in article penned this past June.

“From what I’ve seen, it seems to me that Microsoft is trying to do a similar type of dance with the Surface that it did with previous tablets,” he said.

”[Basically], the company is trying to convince consumers that this device can be a computer and a tablet at the same time. [However], based on the sales of the iPad, I’m not sure that’s what consumers really want.”

Indeed, Mathew Honan of Wired termed the Surface as “a tablet of both compromises and confusion,” while Josh Topolsky of the The Verge wrote “Instead of being a no-compromise device, it often feels like a more-compromise one.”

Clearly designed to challenge Apple’s wildly popular iPad, Surface boasts a 16:9 aspect ratio, edges angled at 22 degrees, an integrated kickstand, along with HD front- and rear-facing video cameras.

The Surface is designed to be paired with a 3mm detachable keyboard cover (aka “Touch Cover”) which senses keystrokes as gestures – enabling users to touch type significantly faster than with a traditional on-screen keyboard. The Touch Cover can also be swapped out for a 5 mm-thin Type Cover that adds moving keys for those interested a more traditional typing feel.

Microsoft is currently touting two primary classes of Surface tablets: one equipped with an ARM processor (Nvidia Tegra) running Windows RT, and the other with a third-generation Intel Core chip running Windows 8 Pro.