You can't compare the above tablet to an apple iPad. The Surface with Win8 Pro is running a full fledged Win8 operating system! Not a scaled down OS like iOS. Now if Apple had a tablet that was running OSX, THEN maybe you could compare the two but until then APPLE has some catching up to do. Catching up? There have been full on windows tablets on the market for nearly a decade with only marginal adoption. The idea that a tablet with a full operating system is superior has not been supported by consumers. Why? I suspect it's because consumers don't want a tablet that is a full blown PC... the majority just want a tablet. I had high hopes (which may still be realized) that MS would finally understand this very basic principal and build the best tablet OS possible and not continue to harbor the illusion that a 10" tablet is suitable, even desirable, for work. Until they do, they will languish.
with regards to early tablet pc's (i believe you speak of the ones developed to work with windows xp tablet edition), they were cumbersome, expensive, had poor battery life and full of UI issues that made them very impractical. at that time, microsoft had the right idea going but never continued developing it as the market was not ready (think GM with the first electric car, the ev-1 and what happened).
since then, apple has taken the idea of the tablet and flipped it on its head (again, think gm's ev-1 vs. the toyota prius). without trying to sound like a fanboy of either camp, i think microsoft is doing something brazen in this latest venture. they dare to be creative again and not show themselves as the old man on the hill not looking for change.
apple has danced around them, gobbling market share and developing devices for the masses. they have taken the ideals that windows was developed on, an everyday platform for everyone and created an ecosystem out of it. definitely no small task and to be respected.
i do challenge you the following, when the surface pro comes out. try it, work with it, drawn CLEAR reasons why the ipad and ios are better. my first impression is that the idea of a surface pro negates the need for both a laptop and a tablet. this is a more economical solution (macbook and an ipad would set you back at least $1500 vs. $900 for surface pro), not to mention better for the environment, as it merges two concepts (by the way, where are your ipod and blackberry since you purchased your android or iphone? hmmm...) thus creating less e-waste.
all in all, i welcome any response and look forward to a good, engaging conversation, should you welcome it.