When I heard Microsoft was holding a Surface event today, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Would a new device be announced? Feature improvements to the existing line of Surface products?
Who knew? There wasn’t a lot of info I could find online to give me any indication.
I don’t have any Surface devices. But I’ve been tempted, especially after reading my friend Brad Colbow’s review of the Surface Pro 4 earlier this year.
So at 10am this morning, I opened up a browser tab to watch the livestream.
And within the first two minutes, I was captivated.
Microsoft kicked off the event with a video focused on accessibility for users and developers.
For anyone who’s been reading my blog posts for a while, you know that learning about and helping others to learn about accessibility is a top priority for me.
Two hours later, when the Microsoft event finished, you would have seen a stunned look on my face.
Followed by me trying to figure out if my annual budget for hardware had a spare $2,999.
What Microsoft Announced
After the video was shown, I have to admit. I thought the event started out slowly. Presentations seemed a bit more scripted than I liked.
But Microsoft presenters captured my attention when they announced the creative features in the next Windows 10 upgrade.
And they kept my attention as device updates were announced. Along with one amazing new PC. Here’s what I learned.
Windows 10 Creators Update
Expected in spring 2017, the Windows 10 Creators Update is a free upgrade for all Windows 10 users.
The update will include many new features and enhancements, including 3D capabilities in some of Microsoft’s most popular applications (the PowerPoint demo was impressive!).
The Microsoft Paint application that has been around forever will be updated to Paint 3D.
— Gizmodo (@Gizmodo) October 26, 2016
Paint 3D features include:
- Ability to create and manipulate 3D objects
- Scan a 3D object with a phone
- Mix 2D and 3D objects
- Print 3D objects and share to Facebook
The new My People feature, which will display next to the System Tray, allows you to quickly email, chat, or share with your closest friends. Without having to open up each application to send a message or attach a file.
— Trusted Reviews 📱💻 🎮 (@trustedreviews) October 26, 2016
Surface Book i7
Where the Microsoft Surface event got really interesting for me was when Panos Panay, Microsoft’s Corporate VP of Devices, took the stage to announce the new Surface Book i7.
According to Panos, Surface Book has the highest satisfaction among all Windows or Mac products. #MicrosoftEvent
— Deborah Edwards-Oñoro (@redcrew) October 26, 2016
And he did it in a way that built up the excitement for the product, showing a slick video of the updated laptop/tablet.
Available for pre-order from Microsoft for $2,399, the new Surface Book is the most powerful Surface Book ever. With two times as much graphics, performance is doubled. (And their graphics are three times more than the highest end MacBook Pro 13).
In addition, the new Surface Book has:
- Intel Core i7
- Larger battery with 16 hours of battery life
- Redesigned thermals
- Second fan
The new Surface Book i7 launches in November 2016.
This was the announcement everyone seemed to be waiting for. And boy did it exceed expectations!
The new Surface Studio, an all-in-one computer, offers a stunningly thin 28-inch touchscreen display that turns your desk into a studio.
The Surface Studio features a 1TB or 2TB drive, 8GB to 32GB of memory, Windows 10 Pro, with a Surface Pen, Surface Keyboard, and Surface Mouse.
One of the most interesting features are the arms that hold the display in place; they’re designed with an articulating hinge for easy adjustment.
Want to use the touchscreen upright? Sure thing.
Prefer to draw on the touchscreen like a drafting table? Move the touchscreen to an angle you prefer (it looked like it can moved to about a 20 degree angle).
— Mary Jo Foley (@maryjofoley) October 26, 2016
While the Surface Studio works with pen or touch, what took my breath away was the new Surface Dial, a different kind of input device.
The Surface Dial can work onscreen or offscreen, allowing you to use both hands in your designs. It’s a round-shaped object that reminds me of a hockey puck.
When the Surface Dial is placed on the screen, it opens up a menu with different options (dependent on what application you’re using).
The demo in the Surface Studio video showed a radial color palette menu that allowed the designer to draw a rainbow of colors across the screen.
Today’s Microsoft Surface event has me excited about Microsoft products! I can’t wait to get my hands on a Surface Studio to try it out, how about you?