Microsoft has unveiled two own-brand 'Surface' tablets which will compete directly with Apple's hugely successful iPad range.

Microsoft said the tablets, which will be based on its Windows 8 operating system, will be offered as both ARM and Intel-powered devices with a 10.6in screen size. Both versions are set to ship later this year, although the ARM-powered one is expected first.

That device will be 'competitively-priced' with ARM-based tablets, Microsoft said. The Intel version is expected to cost more, although Microsoft has not posted specific details on pricing and availability on either.

The ARM-based tablet will be 9.3mm thick and weigh 676 grams, while the Intel tablet will be 13.5mm thick and weigh 903 grams. Both models will support Microsoft's Touch Cover keyboard - which, as the name suggests, combines a cover and a touch-sensitive keyboard - as well as trackpad hardware.

The tablets will be among the first to run the Windows 8 platform. The company said that Windows RT would power the ARM tablet, while Windows 8 Pro would be offered on the Intel-based tablets. Microsoft said that users running the ARM tablets would be offered 32GB and 64GB capacities, while the Intel tablet will ship with 64GB and 128GB of storage.

Both tablets will sport full USB connections and multi-in multi-out (MIMO) wireless antennae. Additionally, the Intel-powered tablet will support USB 3.0 connectivity and a Mini DisplayPort connection.