What to expect from Microsoft’s October 26 event, and where to watch

microsoft event october 26 oct teaser
Get ready for an eventful week, with both Apple and Microsoft vying for your attention with their latest round of splashy product announcements. Microsoft has been particularly cagey about their event, dropping cryptic hints but not much else. We’ll be there reporting live, and you’ll be able to watch the event here. But what should you expect from Microsoft’s October surprise?

Introducing the Surface Studio

Microsoft has a runaway hit with the Surface, particularly the Surface Book, and by all accounts this week’s event will aim to capitalize on that success by unveiling the long-rumored Surface PC. We don’t know very much about the product itself, as Microsoft has kept its supply chain locked down, and we haven’t seen any manufacturer leaks – other than a couple shots of a keyboard and mouse – that might hint at what the PC might look like or what it might do.

Patents, however, are a different story. Microsoft has filed a number of conspicuous patents which appear to show designs for an all-in-one touchscreen PC, one of which boasts an interesting hinge design which would allow users to re-position the screen to essentially become a Wacom-style desktop tablet.

Surface Studio Patent Drawing

Further documentation on the patent point towards the inclusion of various modules, which might provide additional capability to the device when stacked below the base.

This design, or something like it, would certainly make sense given Microsoft’s recent emphasis on creative professionals and the promise to include its Windows Holographic experience in Windows 10 by next year – the Surface PC might have some interesting ties to the HoloLens, but more on that later.

Microsoft has suggested that the upcoming event will not be hardware-focused, so we’re probably not going to see any new Surface Books or Surface tablets. A full slate of new products would certainly contradict the messaging they’ve maintained to this point.

More evidence suggesting that we’ll see a Surface PC later this week comes from trademark and patent sleuth Brian Conroy, the attorney who first discovered Apple’s AirPods trademark. Conroy reportedly uncovered a number of Microsoft-affiliated patents filed which include the name “Surface Studio.”

As The Verge points out, this branding was hinted at by ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley who reported earlier this year that the Surface Cardinal – the Surface PC’s codename – was going to be positioned as a PC that could “turn your desk into a studio.” So, Surface Studio falls right in line with what we already know about the upcoming all-in-one PC. It’s a good name, and given that Wednesday’s event will take place in a venue typically reserved for runway shows, it’s fitting.

What does it do, besides feature a touch-screen? Well according to the above patent leaks, it’s likely to pull double duty as a desktop computer and a Wacom-style tablet. Featuring robust stylus support for creative professionals, and a hinge to fold down flat, or nearly flat, the Surface Studio could be a good all-around choice for anyone who uses a stylus more than a mouse and keyboard.

So, despite the lack of leaked snapshots, it looks like the Surface Studio could very well be making its debut on the catwalk this Wednesday.

Windows integration for the HoloLens

The HoloLens, that thing everyone wants but nobody can afford, could also make an appearance at Wednesday’s event. Microsoft reportedly has some interesting plans in store which involve the HoloLens, and the Surface Studio, along with a new version of a familiar app.

Microsoft-HoloLens-preorders-2

Microsoft has been mum when it comes to discussing any role that the HoloLens might play in Wednesday’s event, but there are a few signs that we can expect some kind of demonstration of existing HoloLens technology. The emphasis on creativity is a big indication, as Microsoft has positioned the HoloLens as a tool for creative professionals.

Now, there’s no hard evidence that suggests the HoloLens will be compatible, but given the direction we’ve seen Microsoft take with the HoloLens, with Windows 10, and with the potential Surface all-in-one PC, it would certainly make sense for the HoloLens to figure prominently into the event on Wednesday.

Earlier this year, Microsoft promised to roll out support for its Windows Holographic augmented reality interface to Windows 10 by next year, and tomorrow would be a good time to demonstrate just what that might mean for the end user.

Reintroducing an old friend for Windows 10

Remember your old friend MS Paint? Well, it’s due for a major overhaul which will reportedly feature the ability to create 3D objects, and could potentially support 3D holographic drawing with the HoloLens. The new Windows 10-ified version of Paint was featured in two internal videos leaked last week, which show artists working in Paint to create objects in a 3D environment.

It’s a far cry from those stick figures we all used to make, and it appears that Microsoft is trying to position Paint as more of a premium product than it has been in the past — similar to how they re-imagined Internet Explorer as Microsoft Edge.

Plans for Windows 10

While it’s not as exciting as a full-on new product launch, Windows 10 is likely to be the centerpiece of the event. So, what’s new and noteworthy in the world of Windows?

windows-10-home-laptop-2-3

Over the past year we’ve seen a number of incremental updates and changes roll out to Windows Insiders, but Microsoft has big plans for 2017, including two major revisions to Windows 10 which should include some of the smaller features introduced to Windows Insiders earlier this year.

We could be in for a sneak peek at the company’s plans for the coming year. Bigger changes to Windows 10 could include support for the company’s new “Home Hub” feature, which will reportedly serve as a, well, home hub for internet-connected smart home devices, and the aforementioned promise to introduce Windows Holographic to Windows 10.

That said, participants in Microsoft’s Insider program have been treated to a number of ease-of-use features for Windows 10 which will likely make their way out to Windows-users later this year or early next year. Taken together, they make for some very welcome updates to the operating system. They include changes like revamped touchpad control options, and across-the-board improvements to default apps like Paint and Edge. Plus, Windows is finally enabling Num Lock by default when you restart your PC!

Computing

Microsoft finishes turning File Explorer dark in latest Windows update

Windows Insiders in the Fast ring can experience Microsoft's completed work on turning File Explorer dark in Build 17733. There isn't much else in terms of new features and the update comes with a number of known issues.
Computing

Having issues with Microsoft Edge? Here's how to fix the most common problems

If you're feeling frustrated with Microsoft Edge, or have run into a serious problem with Windows 10's built-in browser, take a look at these common issues and the solutions that can help you get back on track.
Deals

Check out the best Xbox One deals and bundles for August 2018

Microsoft's consoles are just as capable of streaming movies as they are of playing the latest games. Check out our top Xbox One deals and bundles, which include games like Middle-earth: Shadow of War and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.
Gaming

The best Xbox One games (August 2018)

More than four years into its lifespan, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From 'Cuphead' to 'Halo 5,' the best Xbox One games offer something for everyone.
Computing

Apple preps production of updated MacBook Air for a 2018 launch

To reach its rumored launch timeline of later this year for its low-cost notebook, Apple is expected to begin production of its updated MacBook Air soon. The sub-$1,000 laptop could launch as early as September or October.
Smart Home

White-hat Chinese hackers turn Alexa into a spy, briefly

A team of Chinese researchers revealed this week that they were able to use a cracked Amazon Echo to exploit a series of Alexa interface flaws to take control over an unteuched Echo running on the same network.
Computing

Researchers hack John McAfee’s ‘unhackable’ Bitfi cryptocurrency wallet

Researchers have successfully hacked John McAfee's Bitfi cryptocurrency wallet. Researchers show that the device can be hacked, as they have gained access to the device's private keys and passphrase despite McAfee's security promotion.
Music

Spotify vs. Pandora: Which music streaming service is better for you?

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Computing

What's the best laptop? We've reviewed a lot of them -- and this is our answer

The best laptop should be one that checks all the boxes: Great battery life, beautiful design, and top-notch performance. The laptops we've chosen for our best laptops you can buy do all that — and throw in some extra features while…
Computing

Pricing and lack of content are still barriers against the adoption of VR

A recent survey questioned 595 VR and AR professionals about business growth in the consumer and enterprise markets. Only 24 percent report strong sales in the enterprise while 18 percent show strong sales in the consumer market.
Computing

Tired of choosing between Windows and Mac? Check out these Chromebooks instead

We've compiled a list of the best Chromebooks -- laptops that combine great battery life, comfortable keyboards, and the performance it takes to run Google's lightweight Chrome OS. From Samsung to Acer, these are the Chromebooks that really…
Emerging Tech

The world’s first practical quantum computer has cash and a timeline

The dream of building a practical quantum computer could be closer than ever, thanks to a $15 million grant from the National Science Foundation to seven universities around the United States.
Computing

Nvidia teases new GeForce RTX 2080 launch at Gamescom next week

Gamers will have something exciting to look forward to next week when Gamescom starts. Nvidia posted a teaser video to YouTube containing hints that it could use the venue to announce the new GeForce RTX 2080 graphics chip.
Computing

Nvidia introduces its eighth-generation ‘Turing’ design, but not in gaming cards

Nvidia revealed its new graphics chip design called “Turing” during SIGGRAPH 2018. Rumored to be the foundation of Nvidia’s next family of GeForce cards, the company instead showcased Turing in Quadro RTX-branded cards for pros.