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First look: Microsoft's second-gen Surface tablets & keyboard covers

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
Members of the media were given their first hands-on with Microsoft's new slimmer and lighter Surface tablets and accompanying accessories on Monday, and AppleInsider was on-hand for the event.

Surface


Microsoft's New York City event was led by Panos Panay, the company's corporate vice president and head of the Surface division. There he unveiled the Surface 2, the company's new ARM-based tablet designed to compete directly with Apple's iPad, as well as the Surface Pro 2, a more traditional Intel-powered tablet computer.

Panay took his share of swipes at Apple at the event, portraying Microsoft's Surface lineup as a platform intended for users who want to create content, rather than just consume it. When unveiling new colors for the company's updated keyboard covers, he also joked that Microsoft didn't need to put the letter "c" after the product's name ??a reference to Apple's just-released iPhone 5c.

Surface


The Surface Pro is positioned by Microsoft as a device intended for professional users that require a traditional PC experience. But the small form factor offers more versatility than a traditional notebook.

And with its premium-level pricing starting at $899, the Surface Pro is clearly intended to take on Apple in the high-end notebook segment?? a market where the Mac has been dominant for years.

Surface


At the conclusion of Monday's presentation, attendees were offered the opportunity to get their hands on the new Surface hardware and accessories. However, most of the second-generation units made available for the hands-on session were not actually functional: While they represented the final hardware design and the high-resolution displays were active, the touchscreens were non-responsive. Microsoft explained that these units were intended for photographs only.

There were, however, a handful of operational Surface 2 units that members of the press could get up close with. Representatives from the Surface team were also on-hand to explain the improvements made with the new second-generation hardware.

Surface


The company is particularly proud of its new Touch Cover 2 keyboard accessory, boasting that it has nearly 1,100 sensors built in to improve accuracy when typing. Both it and the more traditional keyboard with press-able keys have been updated with thinner designs.

Surface


Officials also highlighted the inclusion of Microsoft Office, the ability to back up a device to SkyDrive with 200 gigabytes of free storage, and the fact that the Windows 8 application store now has more than 100,000 options available.

In addition to the limited hands-on area, Microsoft also had a series of displays manned by real-life Surface users who were flown to the event to tell members of the press why they have chosen Surface. Among them were a gamer, filmmakers showing connectivity with high-end RED cameras, and Mike Krahulik, artist for the online comic Penny Arcade, who was sketching on a Surface.

Surface


Preorders for Microsoft's new second-generation of Surface tablets will begin on Tuesday, while the devices will become available on Oct. 22. More pictures from Monday's event are included below:

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post #2 of 47
It's a PC disguised as a tablet.
post #3 of 47

Not interested MSFT! GO AWAY ALREADY.

post #4 of 47

Isn't it cute? I mean, Microsoft _still_ trying to be popular...or even relevant.

 

Bless their little Zune-HD hearts.

post #5 of 47

Does anyone who isn't a raging MSFT-fanboy truly expect either of the new Zune tablets to sell any better than the last pair?

post #6 of 47
I have to admit the Touch Cover with audio controls is brilliant. This would be a great idea to make for the iPad considering its dominance in audio production among tablets.

Funny that MS has audio support in their new tablets yet Android still has latency issues.
post #7 of 47
Microsoft launches a new product but uses non-working demo units?
That seems bizarre....no?
post #8 of 47
Quote:
Panay took his share of swipes at Apple at the event, portraying Microsoft's Surface lineup as a platform intended for users who want to create content, rather than just consume it. When unveiling new colors for the company's updated keyboard covers, he also joked that Microsoft didn't need to put the letter "c" after the product's name ??a reference to Apple's just-released iPhone 5c.

 

How about saving the swipes for when your Zune tablet can actually outsell the iPad? Or, you know, a Lumia phone can get 5 million sales in its first weekend.

post #9 of 47
"The company is particularly proud of its new Touch Cover 2 keyboard accessory, boasting that it has nearly 1,100 sensors built in to improve accuracy when typing."

Really? Why would you need that many sensors? Seems uh, sloppy.
post #10 of 47
I read part of the presentation's transcript... He really said things like "The team is proud of what they did here. We think these products make people's lives better."

Their amount of shame declines faster than their amount of taste grows...
post #11 of 47
Bring on the iPad 5! Again, bring on the iPad 5!
post #12 of 47
Geez, how much RED Epic footage can you store on even a 128gb Scarlet? I'm thinking not enough to make much of a film ...

D
post #13 of 47

"However, most of the second-generation units made available for the hands-on session were not actually functional"  Sooooo, just like all their other stuff.  

 

Who's up for camping out in line to be the first to get a ZuneRT?

post #14 of 47

I can't help but think, as I did from the release of the Surface [1] tablets, that MS is really thinking of them as laptops with removable keyboards.  Or maybe the keyboards are not really removable because you really kind of need them to run all the desktop applications they keep mentioning work on the Surface.  And then you'll need a mouse too, to effectively use it like a laptop.  And you'll need to scale up (or is it down) the resolution so you can actually see what you're trying to edit or create, especially in Excel.

 

Others have said it - MS should have focused on creating the Office suite apps for iPad and iPhone and they could have been making significant revenue from the Apple market, instead of letting the market get away from them as they have.

post #15 of 47

Yawn.  Now with 1080p and ClearType.  Hey MS - you wouldn't need ClearType if you had a high-res display.  Dip$#!ts.

post #16 of 47

I had to laugh at a quote from Anandtech's live blog on this event:

Quote:
10:36AM EDT - 'Surface Pro 2 has been the best selling device in its class'

 

Yeah, and that "class" is how big exactly?

post #17 of 47

The only thing I like about the Surface is the pressure-sensitive Wacom digitizer. Very nice if you want to do artwork. Other than that? Meh. I'll stick with iPads and Macs, thanks.

post #18 of 47

As someone who has worked with a lot with RED footage, its highly processor intensive to decode and view, even with a RED Rocket. I can only imagine how fast it will drain the batter, and how slow it would be to view.

Forgo Looking At The Past As A Judge; Instead Be a Student.
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Forgo Looking At The Past As A Judge; Instead Be a Student.
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post #19 of 47

Here is the most remarkable fact about the Surface RT (Windows on Arm) in combination with the new Windows Store at BestBuy:

 

A significant amount of the floorspace of America's last remaining generic brick and mortar electronics vendor, is now devoted to a product that does not sell.

 

The Surface RT is product does not have a naturally won position in the market place.  The product exists simply because Microsoft has the money, a long standing relationship with BestBuy, and the desperation to place the excess inventory in front of customers who do not want to buy it.

 

Microsoft and BestBuy are flogging a product (Windows on Arm) which is doomed.  Everyone in the industry knows it is. 

 

I can only feel sorry for the unsuspecting customers who purchase Windows on Arm.

 

Microsoft and BestBuy are stealing money from people in a last gasp attempt at flogging a dead platform.

post #20 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceek74 View Post
 

Hey MS - you wouldn't need ClearType if you had a high-res display.  Dip$#!ts.

 

With an OS that does not scale font weights properly (just height and width), even ClearType doesn't help much.

post #21 of 47
let me know when someone is running a hackintosh OS X on the pro. I might buy one then and install parallels on it and a windows 7 VM ;-)
post #22 of 47

I think its funny they mock  Apple adding a "C" moniker, considering every product they produce has one, i.e. : Surface RT, Zune HD, 

Windows: Ultimate,  Enterprise, Professional, Home,  Premium, Basic, Starter

Forgo Looking At The Past As A Judge; Instead Be a Student.
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Forgo Looking At The Past As A Judge; Instead Be a Student.
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post #23 of 47

Too Funny!  Another billion dollar write off coming!  These things are complete garbage.  The Microsoft Windows 8 GUI is absolutely unusable.  The cost is absurdly high. If they sold the RT for $199 they might sell some.  The Pro if priced at $299 might sell but you still have to use the horrendously bad UI...my head hurts looking at all that moving text and images, not to mention the fisher price colors.

post #24 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissionGrey View Post
 

I think its funny they mock  Apple adding a "C" moniker, considering every product they produce has one, i.e. : Surface RT, Zune HD, 

Windows: Ultimate,  Enterprise, Professional, Home,  Premium, Basic, Starter

 

It's even more amusing in light of the fact that the 5c in just one weekend has probably sold more than half as much as all Lumia sales combined for Q2 2013. That figure is around 7.4 million according to Nokia.

post #25 of 47
Well they are getting closer and closer to my ideal tablet form factor. Unfortunately the tech is not ready for what I want. I need this to be fanless with the same power and thin. I would love to have a slimmer version running photoshop and illustrator with the wacom digitizer screen and pen.
post #26 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Dennis View Post

Geez, how much RED Epic footage can you store on even a 128gb Scarlet? I'm thinking not enough to make much of a film ...

D

 

19 MP/frame at 100 frame/s and you store it raw !

 

in 1 Gb you store 13.5 frames in 12 bits  (And that thing do 12 and 16 bits).  So taking in account the 32 Gb the system and office should take (and I'm probably optimistic), at full resolution you can store 96*13.5/100 seconds or 21.5% of 1 min !!!

Even at max lossy compression of 18:1 it is really not much indeed

post #27 of 47
"Panay took his share of swipes at Apple at the event, portraying Microsoft's Surface lineup as a platform intended for users who want to create content, rather than just consume it. When unveiling new colors for the company's updated keyboard covers, he also joked that Microsoft didn't need to put the letter "c" after the product's name ??a reference to Apple's just-released iPhone 5c."

How about the letter 'f' for size?1smoking.gif

And . . .

Coming desperately, so sad, after The Apple Event, with show models for pic taking only is telling. Desperately sad I should venture, pleading, "wait, don't get an Apple quite yet!" 1oyvey.gif
Edited by mhikl - 9/23/13 at 2:02pm

When I find time to rewrite the laws of Physics, there'll Finally be some changes made round here!

I am not crazy! Three out of five court appointed psychiatrists said so.

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When I find time to rewrite the laws of Physics, there'll Finally be some changes made round here!

I am not crazy! Three out of five court appointed psychiatrists said so.

Reply
post #28 of 47

Another version of a product consumers don't care about. 

 

Bravo. 

post #29 of 47

It really doesn't matter how good this thing is. The hardware isn't the full story.

post #30 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Another version of a product consumers don't care about. 

Bravo. 

Hey that's not fair. There was a guy who knew a guy who knew a guy who's third cousin twice removed waited all day to get the first Zune RT at his local Microsoft store!

Oh wait, my bad. He was only there for the concert tickets.
post #31 of 47
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post
It really doesn't matter how good this thing is. The hardware isn't the full story.

 

A quantum tablet with a holographic UI from Microsoft would still be trash.

 

And yet the Android crowd will perpetually behave as though the iPhone is a supermodel missing a leg. “She gets by in ads for shirts, shampoo, makeup and nail polish, but she’ll never walk on the runway with the big girls.”

post #32 of 47
wait til xmas...half off
post #33 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by tommy0guns View Post

wait til xmas...half off

 

And yet they'll still be a ripoff. $99 and we'll talk.

post #34 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeJones View Post

And yet they'll still be a ripoff. $99 and we'll talk.
Why? If they do end up failing, what possible reason would anyone have to buy an unsupported tablet that will never see a refresh or any real software development? This was exactly the reason I steered clear of the HP tablet when they dropped the price to ridiculously low just to get them out the door. I just don't see the draw... 1hmm.gif
NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
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NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
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post #35 of 47
Originally Posted by MikeJones View Post

And yet they'll still be a ripoff. $99 and we'll talk.

 

Good deal. I’d let them pay me $99 to take one off their hands, just as long as they don’t legally get to count it in the number sold.

post #36 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoahJ View Post


Why? If they do end up failing, what possible reason would anyone have to buy an unsupported tablet that will never see a refresh or any real software development? This was exactly the reason I steered clear of the HP tablet when they dropped the price to ridiculously low just to get them out the door. I just don't see the draw... 1hmm.gif

 

Didn't say I'd actually buy one. Just that I'd at least consider it at $99 in case I happen to just have $99 I absolutely must spend.

post #37 of 47
As a tech user, not a brand user (read:not religiously devoted to any one company), I picked up the Surface RT for $349, bought the true type cover and upgraded to Windows 8.1RT CP. AS a tablet, there are things that the surface is just more convenient to do than my iPad(s). Now before you jump on me, I didn't say it was BETTER than the iPad as an overall product (but I expect it since this is appleinsider, but hey they WENT to the Surface 2 press event, so :P ).

From a purely work / college device where email, office and social integration are important, the Surface RT is easier to use (once you get used to Windows 8) and more practical (and Office is included in the price). Battery life is good, and with the SD card slot, a 32GB Surface space is not an issue. However, not ALL USB devices will work, for instance I tried to add a Microsoft Studiocam which is not compatible with Windows RT. But flash drives work fine.

Where the Surface RT falls short is in the Display and Ecosystem area. My iPad (4th gen) and iPad mini have a faster response in the display, where there is noticeable lag on the Surface RT in graphic intensive Modern UI apps. As for the app selection, the iPads are hard to beat, although I do prefer the sandboxed eco that Apple and Microsoft are using, really not a fan of the Google store. There are apps for my Yamaha keyboards, and Celestron telescopes that just are not available on the RT. Of course this is more of a developer issue, but just like the WebOS was pretty interesting, without 3rd party development, it is a hard sell.

But as I am a geek anyway, there is room in my life for both devices. Now off to see if the 5S is worth giving up my Lumia 1020. 1smile.gif
post #38 of 47
Mr. Panay should have either tucked his wrinkled shirt in or lost that middle-aged spread.
post #39 of 47
Does anyone else think this reads like a journalist's trip to North Korea?!? I see Microsoft is taking hosting advice from Kim Jong-un...

"However, most of the second-generation units made available for the hands-on session were not actually functional%u2026Microsoft explained that these units were intended for photographs only%u2026.Microsoft also had a series of displays manned by real-life Surface users who were flown to the event to tell members of the press why they have chosen Surface."

I hope the minders were at least helpful 1smile.gif
post #40 of 47
Wow - that photo of the docking station - designed by a 3 year old with Legos... How elegant!
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