Under the Surface: Behind the scenes with Microsoft's new tablet

A trip to Microsoft headquarters yields an inside look at a process that began several years ago — even before Apple launched the iPad — and led to the new touch-friendly Surface tablet.

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    Oct. 16, 2012: A machine etches part that will eventually make up the Surface, an intriguing new hardware product from Microsoft built for the company's Windows 8 OS.
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    Oct. 16, 2012: Colorful covers for the Surface tablet, with a flexible, integrated keyboard, are seen in the company's industrial design studio in Redmond, Wash.
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    Oct. 16, 2012: The Surface tablet udergoes reliability testing in a Redmond, Wash., lab.
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    Oct. 16, 2012: Prototypes of the Surface tablet are seen in the company's industrial design studio in Redmond, Wash.
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    Oct. 16, 2012: A teardown of the forthcoming Surface tablet reveals the parts that will make up the company's flagship new product.
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    The new Microsoft Surface, the company's answer to the iPad?
    Microsoft Corp.
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    Oct. 16, 2012: A Microsoft employee shows off a prototype of the forthcoming Surface tablet in the company's reliability lab in Redmond, Wash.
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    Oct. 16, 2012: Steve Sinofsky, president of Microsoft's Windows division, and Panos Panay, general manager of Microsofts Surface team, discuss the Surface tablet in the company's Redmond, Wash., headquarters.
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    An Intel-powered version of the Surface will measure 13.5mm in thickness; a version powered by chips from rival maker ARM will be just 9.3mm thin.
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    A fold-out keyboard clevelry integrated into the Surface's case -- combined with a "kickstand" in the back of the tablet -- turns this tablet into a full laptop.
    Microsoft Corp.
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    A "kickstand" built into the tablet props it at an ideal angle for typing or desktop work.
    Microsoft Corp.
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