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

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 46
    It's a PC disguised as a tablet.
  • Reply 1 of 46

    Not interested MSFT! GO AWAY ALREADY.

  • Reply 3 of 46
    pdq2pdq2 Posts: 270member

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

     

    Bless their little Zune-HD hearts.

  • Reply 4 of 46

    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?

  • Reply 5 of 46
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 46
    Microsoft launches a new product but uses non-working demo units?
    That seems bizarre....no?
  • Reply 7 of 46
    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.

  • Reply 8 of 46
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,657member
    "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.
  • Reply 9 of 46
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,070member
    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...
  • Reply 10 of 46
    Bring on the iPad 5! Again, bring on the iPad 5!
  • Reply 11 of 46
    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
  • Reply 12 of 46

    "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?

  • Reply 13 of 46

    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.

  • Reply 14 of 46

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

  • Reply 15 of 46

    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?

  • Reply 16 of 46

    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.

  • Reply 17 of 46

    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.

  • Reply 18 of 46

    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.

  • Reply 19 of 46
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,070member
    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.

  • Reply 20 of 46
    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 ;-)
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