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Microsoft unveils new Surface Pro ahead of Apple Mac & iPad Pro refreshes

At a Tuesday press event in Shanghai, Microsoft revealed the long-awaited fifth-generation Surface Pro, hoping to steal some thunder away from Apple ahead of Mac and iPad Pro refreshes that could come as soon as next month.

The new Surface uses a 12.3-inch PixelSense touch display rated at 267 pixels per inch, offering 50 percent more pixels than Apple's current 12-inch Retina MacBook, Microsoft claimed. Owners can even switch between sRGB and an "enhanced" color mode powered by technology called the PixelSense Accelerator.

The tablet comes in configurations with Intel Core m3, i5, or i7 processors, its i5 allegedly the first ever with fanless architecture. Performance-wise, the product is said to be up to 1.7 times faster than Apple's existing iPad Pros.

The company is also promising battery life up to 13.5 hours, 50 percent more than the Surface Pro 4, and 35 percent more than an iPad Pro. Apple has long stuck to a 10-hour target for Wi-Fi equipped iPads — cellular Pros last up to 9 hours. Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pros also last up to 10 hours.

For touch controls Microsoft is offering compatibility with the Surface Dial, as well as an upgraded Surface Pen. The latter accessory has four times the pressure sensitivity of the original Pen, only 21 milliseconds of latency, and new tilt functions mirroring those on the Apple Pencil.

Microsoft is also updating a few other accessories, including its Signature Type Covers and the Surface Dock, which Microsoft said should support two 4K monitors and four USB peripherals.

The new Surface Pro should ship on June 15, with prices ranging from $799 for a 128-gigabyte Core m3 model with 4 gigabytes of RAM to $2,699 for a model with 1 terabyte of storage, a Core i7 processor, and 16 gigabytes of RAM. Models shipping later this year will support LTE Advanced.

Apple is expected to update its MacBook lineup at next month's Worldwide Developers Conference, possibly including the long-neglected MacBook Air. The company should also show off new 10.5- and 12.9-inch iPad Pros, possibly negating Microsoft's speed advantage thanks to faster A-series processors.