And it looks increasingly likely that the Surface will also have to face a smaller, less-expensive iPad, tagged as the "iPad Mini," which Apple is expected to announce next week and start selling Nov. 2 at a price between $250 and $299.
Singh was confident in his estimates, saying that because the BOMs were based on previous teardowns of other tablets, "They should be within a 10%-15% range of the actual BOM."
But he admitted that the process isn't foolproof.
"Guesstimates come into the picture for components that don't really have an existing cost estimate, for example a ~150 PPI [pixel-per-inch] display on an iPad Mini or a magnesium casing for a Microsoft Surface," Singh said in his follow-up email. "Here, part of the guesstimate involves finding out the cost drivers for that particular component based on existing estimates."
Microsoft will begin selling the Surface RT on Oct. 26 at its online store, and at both its established and temporary "pop-up" retail outlets.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.