So back to Dalrymple’s question of what the Surface solves, which I would answer with: it solves the same problem that car manufacturers solved (or tried to solve) with SUVs. Some people want both a car and a truck, but can’t afford both. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the Surface solves the problem well, but it solves the perceived problem of needing a hybrid device. It’s essentially the same thing original tablets tried to solve, just in a different form factor this time around.
I like this analogy because it carries the implications and problems of trying to combine a car and a truck. SUVs have some characteristics of a truck: they’re enormous, and not fuel efficient. The average buyer of them is going to use them like a car, and these drawbacks become vastly more apparent when one drives their SUV in the city. And, conversely, they’re not quite as good as a truck for moving a bunch of lumber or a large wardrobe, for example.
Much in the same way, if the iPad is a car and a laptop is a truck, the Surface tries to hit the middle point. Unsuccessfully, I might add.