Details really matter (to some people)
Do you want a media consumption device with great screen, good internet experience in good price? Surface 2 is not for you. You should buy Kindle Fire HDX (7 or 8.9), Nexus (7 or 10) or any other (quite) cheap Android tablet.
Do you want a full PC in a tablet/hybrid form factor for some light desktop app work with legacy app support, nice browsing experience and physical keyboard in a good price, and you don’t care about built quality, screen res and other "details" – you definitely shouldn’t buy a Surface RT. Much better choice for you is Transformer Book T100 or next gen Bay Trail based products from Dell or HP.
On the other hand, there is a huge group of people (and iPad’s success proved that) that didn’t have to have most versatile and simultaneously cheapest product. iPad has its obvious flaws. Lack of ports / memory card slots, lack of flash support, not having really good physical keyboard solution, letterboxing when watching movies, lack of file system openness, harsh cooperation with external devices (printers, cameras…), lack of real customization (just grid of icons and separate apps), etc… But iPad is a great tablet without a doubt. It’s very user friendly, it’s very snappy, it’s built REALLY well with attention to details – from the great screen, premium materials, cameras, ergonomics, to accessories and durability. Built quality and details matters to a lot of people – even if they can find better speced, cheaper device, sometimes they want to pay 100-250$ extra for (hate to say that) premium quality device. Until recently, these people had only one choice – the iPad. Then the Surface arrived (with its obvious flaws and limitations), and now the Surface 2.
Once again, the devil is in the details, but what these details are in this case?
If what we heard from Panos Panay presentation is true, we can expect some really meaningful improvements and new features – a lot of them are just a "details". But, at least for me, it matters and it makes HUGE difference.
• More powerful (one of the current’s best) SoC. It’s not a detail, but it is probably the single improvement that will make Surface back on track. Tegra 4 should be powerful enough to power the Surface for the year to the next gen. UX now should be totally different – snappy, fluid and really fast.
• Two-angle kickstand. Just a detail, but it looks like it would largely solve the problem of "lapability". 100 points for Surface Team for listening to their customers.
• Better screen. One of my biggest issues with Surface RT. Now it’s Full HD. For me it’s more than enough. I don’t need more on 10 inches.
• Better audio with Dolby. Another example of how the Team listened to their customers.
• Better cameras made to perform excellent in poor light conditions. That skype video of Panos was really impressive.
• Less screen glare. VERY important for me.
• +20% of battery life, with stronger CPU and higher resolution screen. Good job.
• Magnesium unibody. I personally prefer metal to plastic. Feels better in my hands – just another subjective thing, but again – it matters to a lot of people.
• Keyboard covers – thin, light and elegant. Thinner, more versatile and better built than any other 3rd party keyboard made for iPad or Android tablet.
• Durability. After a year of using Surface RT it still looks like new.
• USB 3.0.
• Color accuracy. No issue for majority of people – important to some.
• 2x faster memory and CPU bus.
• Services (Office, Skype, SkyDrive). With one year of free international skype calls and 200GB of SkyDrive for 2 years – I’m able to pay more for device with these services.
I agree that many of these point are details/little improvements. Many people don’t care about color accuracy, casing material, sound quality, cameras, ports, design, etc… – on their tablets. For them, Transformer Book T100 beats the crap out of "crippled" Surface 2. And I can agree. This post is not about praising the Surface. There are definitely use cases where cheaper x86 can be much more useful than devices with Win RT.
On the other hand, there are people who want their devices to be maybe less versatile, but "premium". Surface is premium. iPad is premium. And it’s not about showing off. People are different. The devices are like pieces of art. People like beauty and it’s natural (and subjective). There are not expensive family cars on the market – very versatile, capable and comfortable. And there are sport cars – limited, expensive, but looking terrific and being excellent in some areas. These cars are essential part of the market, as premium tablets are.
So choose device that suits you best without starting stupid flame wars on such subjective topic like "what is the perfect tablet [for who?]?".