This week brought new tablets from Apple and the long-awaited Windows 8 operating system from Microsoft, which was designed with new PC form factors, such as tablets, in mind. But what do these announcements mean in a broader context?

These announcements are just a small piece of a broader ecosystem battle being waged between Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft, blogs Charles Golvin. “Apple’s product announcements evince the company’s continued ability to exert a superior gravitational pull on its customers and partners than its competitors. . . . Can the broad Windows and Xbox ecosystem prove to its constituents that their financial, informational, experiential, and social investments will pay higher dividends than those placed in Amazon’s, Apple’s, or Google’s? Given Microsoft’s laggard position in a world rapidly shifting to mobile-first, it’s increasingly hard to answer that question in the affirmative.”

The new iPads — including the iPad Mini — guarantee Apple its strongest product lineup ever: just in time for the holidays, writes Sarah Rotman Epps. “Its new products aren’t “game changers,” as such, because Apple is already leading every game it plays. But these products will maintain Apple’s momentum.”

Don’t underestimate the impact of the new form factor, however. Ted Schadler blogs that Apple’s dominance in the tablet market was not guaranteed with a single form factor. “According to our Forrsights Workforce data, Apple’s share of tablets in the workforce shrank from 67% in 2011 to 53% in Q2 2012. Samsung in particular, took the lion’s share of that shift with 13% of the installed base. And of course Samsung has made hay with its Galaxy Tab 7, its 7-inch form factor.”