Surface Studio, Surface Dial
Microsoft Surface Studio
The big news of today’s Microsoft event was the introduction of the company’s new Surface Studio AIO. In similar fashion to Microsoft’s introduction of the Surface Book at last year’s October event, the Surface Studio was first demonstrated as an extremely high-quality and attractive standard upright AIO that competes with Apple’s iMac. The 28-inch display is unparalleled in terms of resolution and color quality, and incorporates True Scaling that can perfectly match a piece of paper with what’s on the screen.
Then, presenter Panos Panay showed a video demonstrating rest of the story — the Surface Studio display swivels from an upright orientation to a horizontal angle that appears to be optimized as a drawing surface. Of course, the Surface Studio supports the Surface Pen, making it a large, precise, and comfortable digital easel for creatives of all kinds. The Surface Studio also supports the new Surface Dial for a unique way to control applications.
The Surface Studio will have up to an Intel Core i7 processor, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M or 980M GPU, and up to 32GB of RAM. Storage options will be 1TB or 2TB SSD. The computing components themselves are contained in a base unit that serves to anchor the “zero gravity” swiveling screen and offers up a single cable for a clean presentation. The Surface Studio starts at $3,000 and goes up to $4,200 at the high end, making it a relatively high-end device likely meant to stir Microsoft’s Windows 10 OEM partners into making their own new AIO devices for creative professionals. You can pre-order it now, for an expected delivery of 12/15.
Microsoft Surface Dial
The Surface Dial is a new “radial haptic” controller with two modes of operation. Place it on a surface and it can be used as a new type of controller for Windows 10 Anniversary Update machines like Microsoft’s Surface line. Place it on the Surface Studio’s screen, however, and it becomes an application-specific input device that can be programmed to offer a likely infinite array of functionality.
The Surface Dial will provide functionality based on what’s been baked into applications by developers, and Microsoft paraded out a number of partners who will be working on integrating the Surface Dial into their application workflows. Potential uses for the accessory include evoking a ruler that can be easily manipulated around the screen to kicking off a specific set of context-aware submenus. You can pre-order the Surface Dial today for $100, and shipping should start on November 10.
New Surface keyboard and mouse
Last but not least, Microsoft announced three new Surface accessories at today’s event. There are two new Surface keyboards to choose from, and a new Surface mouse that’s optimized to at least look good when working side-by-side with a Surface device.
The Surface Keyboard is a thin and sleek unit that’s similar to many borderless island keyboards today. It takes a similar design set of design queues from Surface generally, and should go nicely with the Surface Studio. Although the keyboard is dubbed Surface, it works via Bluetooth connection with any Windows 10, MacOS, and Android device. The Surface Keyboard is available today for pre-order for $100.
The Surface Ergonomic Keyboard is the more interesting of the two keyboards announced today. It’s also a Bluetooth device, and it specifically lists Windows 10 as the compatible operating system. The Surface Ergonmic Keyboard is designed exactly as the name implies, with palm rest and keyboard geometry aimed at helping to reduce hand and wrist strain. A proprietary Microsoft material called Alcantara lines the palm rest, enhancing the overall feel of the keyboard. You can pre-order the Surface Ergonomic Keyboard for $130.
Finally, Microsoft introduced a new Surface Mouse that, once again, looks great sitting next to a Surface device but that will work with Windows 10, MacOS, and Android. The mouse is a sleek variation on the traditional input device, offering the usual wheel and two-button design. The Surface Mouse will run $50 and can be pre-ordered from the Microsoft Store.
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