Microsoft’s Surface PC event took place in New York last night, and the company has made some exciting announcements. This includes a new Surface Book laptop, a Surface Studio PC aimed at creative professionals, a Surface Dial for interacting with these devices, and a Windows 10 Creators update. While there was no big update on the mobile side of things from Microsoft, this event was geared towards the professionals. We take a look at everything that Microsoft announced in this event from the new Surface hardware to software.
Windows 10 Creators Update
Microsoft says they want to transform computing as we know it, and enable “3D creativity, mixed reality, and eSports and game broadcasting for everyone.” With Windows 10 Creators update, Microsoft plans to bring new tools which will make it easy for people to create and share photos, drawings and other images in 3D.
Creators Update will come as a free update by early 2017, and it will be made available to all 400 million devices running Windows 10. However, those on Windows Insiders program will get the Creators Update this week itself. Microsoft is promising “3D and mixed reality to everyone,” with these tools.
Users will able to “start capturing in 3D, printing in 3D, creating in 3D, sharing in 3D, and experiencing mixed reality,” says the Microsoft blog. For instance, Microsoft plans to add 3D support for taking photos on smartphones running on Windows 10 mobile soon. Microsoft will extend this to iOS and Android in the future as well.
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Microsoft also announced Paint 3D, which will let a user “create and build 3D objects.” There’s also Remix 3D, which will be an “online community to connect creators and creations around the world and bring 3D content to the masses.” Microsoft announced Trimble’s 3D modelling program SketchUp will be part of Remix3D.com. Also Microsoft Office suite will get native support for 3D content in 2017.
Microsoft also announced a new generation all-in-one desktop called Surface Studio, which is aimed at professionals like architects, artists, designers. This $2999 (goes up all the way to $4199) will initially be available in limited quantities in this holiday season.
Surface Studio features a 4.5k ultra HD 28-inch screen with PixelSense display. Microsoft says the display packs 13.5 million pixels. Studio PC is made from forged aluminum unibody enclosure with 12.5mm thin touch screen. This one has the world’s thinnest LCD monitor inside a PC, and the display offers 3:2 aspect ratio with a pixel density of 192 ppi. Microsoft has also built true scale into this, which means 1-inch on the screen equals 1-inch in real life.
But the cool feature about the Microsoft Surface Studio PC is the “zero gravity hinge with custom tuned springs and 20-degree drafting angle.” If you look at Microsoft’s video showcasing this device, you’ll see how it can just bend down as a user touches on the display, and then be used as a giant tablet of sorts.
Surface Studio is also compatible with Surface Pen and thus supporting real-time scribbling on the display. According to Microsoft, this PC is “a new class of device that transforms from a desktop PC into a powerful digital canvas.” Microsoft says the Studio PC delivers 63 per cent more pixels than a state-of-the-art 4K TV.
Surface Studio will come with Intel Core i5/i7 sixth generation processor with 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB RAM variations. It will come with Rapid Hybrid Drive options in 1TB or 2TB. There’s also a Windows Hello face sign-in camera and 5 MP front camera with 1080p HD video, dual microphones, Stereo 2.1 speakers with Dolby Audio Premium and a 3.5 mm headphone jack as well.
On the graphics side, the specifications look like this: i5 Intel 8GB: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M 2GB GDDR5 memory, i7 Intel 16GB: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M 2GB GDDR5 memory and i7 Intel 32GB: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M 4GB GDDR5 memory.
Surface Studio PC will also have support for Surface Dial, which is a new input device designed for the creative process. The Surface Dial “integrates with Windows 10 to work with any Surface device for a faster and more intuitive way to scroll, zoom, and navigate,” says Microsoft.
The new Surface Book comes with a sleeker design than the previous generation, and packs in more battery life and processing power. Surface Book also has support for the Surface Dial, along with the Surface Pen as well. Surface Book starts at $2,399, going up all the way to $3,299 for the highest configuration.
The dimensions are 12.30-inch x 9.14-inch x 0.51–0.90-inch and it weighs around 1.6kg which includes the keyboard. The Surface Book has a light magnesium chassis and the same “Dynamic Fulcrum Hinge” on the earlier version. A user can detach the display and flip it 180-degree and use the keyboard on the device as well.
In terms of specifications, the new Surface Book runs Windows 10 Pro and comes with 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB SSD options. It has a 13.5-inch PixelSense Display with 3000 x 2000 (267 ppi) resolution and 10 point multi-touch. Microsoft is promising up to 16 hours of video playback on this device, and it will be powered by the 6th generation Intel Core i7 processor coupled with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M 2GB GDDR5 for graphics.
It will have TPM chip for enterprise security and the RAM configuration will 8GB or 16GB RAM. The Surface Book will have two full-size USB 3.0 ports, a full-size SD card reader, Surface Connect port, Headset jack and a Mini Display port.
This one also comes with 5MP front camera, and 8MP rear camera with 1080p HD video support on both. It will also supports Windows Hello face sign-in. The Surface Book has stereo microphones and stereo speakers with Dolby audio Audio Premium. The Surface Pen is also included in the device, and it is up for pre-order starting today in the US.
We know Microsoft has big plans for VR, especially with its Hololens project. Microsoft has also announced HP, Dell, Lenovo, ASUS, and Acer will ship VR headsets capable of mixed reality with the Windows 10 Creators Update.
Microsoft says these headsets won’t need “a separate room and complicated setup,” and will be truly wire-free. These headsets will start at $299 and will be compatible with more affordable PCs, laptops.
4K Gaming and in Game Broadcasting
Creators update will let users “create and enjoy live game streams and customized eSports tournaments on Xbox Live,” says Microsoft. According to the company, gaming increased 500 per cent in the last year on Windows 10. The Creators Update will also bring user-generated tournaments via Arena on Xbox Live. Also users will be able to play games “Forza Horizon 3,” “Gears of War 4,” and more in 4K with a Windows 10 PC.
MyPeople will be part of the Creators Update, where a user’s closest friends, co-workers and family will be instantly accessible. Users can pin favourite contacts to the Windows task bar and then just drag and drop a document to these contacts. They can also “receive unique notifications, Shoulder Taps, and easily view and open emails, IMs, shared documents and more, all in one place.” It will be integrated across universal Windows apps.