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Surface with Windows 8 Pro – Pricing (technet.com)
108 points by tarekayna 1575 days ago | hide | past | web | 120 comments | favorite

Everyone seems really blown away by the pricing and I'm not sure why. This isn't an iPad, it houses a fully functional operating system that lets you run existing Windows 7 desktop applications.

In a use-case scenario I see it being more similar to a laptop than to the iPad. If I can run Visual Studio on it and it handles all my existing Windows 7 applications correctly, I'd consider purchasing it. I don't look at it like it's a tablet I'm going to be installing a Scrabble App on, though.

I don't get it, really. They designed a tablet whose primary use-case is in laptop mode? Why not just buy a better-spec'd laptop for the same price? And why does Surface have a mission-critical piece of hardware (the keyboard) missing from it? Sorry, but at a whopping $1050 after purchasing this critical component, I'd rather just buy a 11in Macbook air for cheaper.

Windows has supported gestures and handwriting recognition for years, and the Pro comes with a stylus. To say a keyboard is critical seems a gross overstatement.

As for use cases, how about: it's a tablet, without the regular complexities of 'tablet mode'. It runs the same stuff as your desktop, acts, smells, barks and looks just like your desktop, and if you want to use it like a crippled toy in the style of an iPad, you're free to use the metro apps.

Let us also not be too quick to forget that Microsoft were the first to seriously meld the desktop and tablet experience. They're the only company (out of two runners, really) with a serious story in this department. Waiting with bated breath to see if Apple wholesale copies the Microsoft approach, toy-apps-as-start-button works wonderfully.

You put a lot of effort to get it backwards.

  > it's a tablet, without the regular complexities
  > of 'tablet mode'
No, it is a table with added complexities of desktop mode.

  > It runs the same stuff as your desktop, acts, smells, barks and looks just like your desktop
Except your desktop expects you to interact with keyboard and pointer device not with you touch. And there it all fails apart.

  > if you want to use it like a crippled toy in the style of an iPad
The words you were looking for are "use it optimised for touch, as iPad".

  > Microsoft were the first to seriously meld the desktop and tablet experience
And were seriously unsuccessful at it.

  > Waiting with bated breath to see if Apple wholesale copies the Microsoft approach,
  > toy-apps-as-start-button works wonderfully.
What's the logic behind that? Microsoft "seriously meld the desktop and tablet experience" and it fails. Apple launches iPad with "crippled toy style" and it is wildly successful. No somehow Apple should copy Microsoft's approach which failed?

A desktop expects input devices, yes, but also there has been a wonderful need to accommodate disabled people for decades prior to the whole tablet thing, and so all modern desktops have great support for auxiliary input devices, and in the case of business software some of it is even legally mandated in order to sell to government. Microsoft has had a great built-in framework for touch/stylus driven input since Windows XP (2001).

The end result is that an on-screen keyboard or gesture input is just as capable of driving desktop software, and it's been that way for a very long time. If any aspect of the experience is suboptimal, it would be tiny widget sizes that are unaccommodating to thumb-sized input. But that's covered by inclusion of a stylus.

I think a better question might be "Why buy a tablet that is also a laptop when laptops that are also tablets have been around for years?"

Asus has touchscreen laptops for less than half of the price, and convertible laptops have been around for at least a decade.

Try using a Surface - it really is nothing like the old tablets of yesteryears.

Convertible laptops were 5lb monstrosities that were nearly impossible to hand hold, emitted tremendous amounts of heat, had incredibly poor battery life, and infamous reliability issues that came from a mechanically complex transformation mechanism. They also used resistive touch screens that were easy to damage, required frequent recalibration when heavily used, and were difficult to use with fingers (making the devices almost exclusively stylus-based devices).

So no, the modern incarnation of the tablet (in the way that iPad has defined it) is nothing like the tablet of old. In fact, if you look at the new convertible tablets coming out of OEMs, they've come pretty far too: capacitive screens, solid construction, hugely reduced weight, unbelievably lower heat output, and battery life that actually matters. We're also seeing novel new ways of building convertibles (e.g., separating keyboard from screen entirely) that make the devices far more realistic for handheld use.

The big secret to tablets that Apple realized, and other companies are slowly picking up on is the importance of the screen. Old convertible laptops used the absolute worst screens that had limited viewing angles, demonstrated ugly moire and discoloration on taps/presses, along with a slew of heat output and power consumption problems. Compare with the calibrated, accurate, brilliant IPS panels that now inhabit tablets (both Surface and iPad have IPS panels), they are worlds apart. When you're putting together a mobile device that is going to be oriented this way and that in someone's hands, a shitty LCD panel really doesn't cut it.

And the problem with Asus and their "half price" touchscreen laptops is all in the screen.

I guess I should state that I plan on buying a Surface when it comes out (not RT). I'm pointing out more from the business standpoint that people are going to be comparing these devices to other devices that look the same, not other devices that are equally as powerful or as well-made.

MS is going to have to work really hard to convince people that the surface is worth $900, at least in my opinion.

>Asus has touchscreen laptops for less than half of the price

Are they full HD resolution? Do they have an active digitizer? Core i5 ?

I see it as an answer to this question: when I leave home, should I bring my MacBook Air, my iPad, or both? None, take the Surface.

So you have something that's not good at any of the use cases involved?

I'm curious as to how this isn't as good (on paper) as something like a Macbook Air or a PC Ultrabook ?

- A crappier keyboard. - A rigid display whose viewing angles can't be adjusted. - The keyboard doesn't work very well when you use it on your lap. You have to place it on a table. - It's more fragile, especially in tablet mode.

And portrait mode that has a bad aspect ratio. It's a fundamental mistake for a tablet.

People thought the RT was slightly heavy to hold as a tablet. Will be interested to see their opinions of this.

Ditto. As it is, I'm seeing it as something that's price-competitive with my Macbook Air, but which can handily double as a tablet for when I want to kick my feet up to just browse the web or read a book.

Given that it actually sounds inexpensive to me, after you factor in that it saves having to spend an extra several hundred dollars if you also want a tablet.

Everyone's blown away because they priced themselves out of their target market. Whether they agree or not, this is going to be compared to the other tablets (i.e., the iPad) out there, and for the base models, the cost is almost double. For a company attempting to play catch-up, their giving themselves such a tremendous handicap is pretty unexpected.

I don't think their target market for the Pro is the hobbyist, or Mom and Pa, it's the enterprise business market, where the iPad has seen little penetration.

This market doesn't care if the kickstand works on your knee. Or about a few hundred dollars here or there. Exchange integration, legacy internal applications, these things matter.

Note taking in meetings.

I work in the enterprise business market, for a 100 year old blue chip firm - and the iPads have come in like a tsunami thanks to our BYOD policy. They have Exchange integration. Legacy internal applications? These have all been web-enabled over the past 10 years.

And the adoption has been top-down: it's the C-level execs that are driving this change. This has been going on for two years now. Microsoft seriously missed the boat and more and more is considered to be an old-school technology company like IBM.

Active Directory integration is huge for the enterprises I deal with.

Enterprise users are still stuck on IE 6, 7, and 8. How are they going to use tablets with IE 10?

The 64GB iPad is $699 vs. $899 for the Surface Pro. That's not double. I'd say that's entirely in the same market. In my opinion the Surface Pro is better value since it is a full PC.

The cheapest version of a device gets people in the door. Many people will, rightly or wrongly, compare the $499 iPad 4 with the $899 Surface Pro. That one has 16 GB of space and the other has 64 GB (well more like 48 GB since Windows and Office take a lot of space) comes into play after people are thinking the iPad is way cheaper than the Surface Pro.

The Surface Pro isn't the cheapest Surface device (it even has "Pro" right there in the name).

The cheapest iPad is still more expensive than most Android tablets.

Why not compare the $499 iPad to the Surface RT?

For the last decade or so, a x86-based device running Windows with a half decent digitizer cost roughly $3000. I doubt you'll see people picking this over an iPad though.

Oh right, scabble is the only thing tablets or iPads are good for. The rest of your thoughts were spot on, but you sort of went the troll route at the end.

The problem is that the pricing puts it into a weird space in the market. If you want to use it as a laptop, you have to add one of the covers (the $120 Touch Cover or $130 Type Cover) so you have a keyboard, and that puts the price of the package over $1,000. You can get a "real" laptop (even a Macbook Air!) for less than that.

An argument could be made that Surface Pro isn't just a laptop, but a laptop plus a tablet, in which case the appropriate price comparison would be the cost of a Macbook and an iPad. But the extra horsepower the Surface would require to run like a laptop would mean lower battery life and greater weight. So you get a tablet, but one that's less appealing than a tablet designed to only be a tablet.

Not just a keyboard. If you want to use it like a real laptop, you will need a mouse or other pointing device, as well. Touch on a vertically-oriented screen is not going to cut it for laptop-ish kinds of uses, as has been proven in years and years of UX studies.

Clarifying edit: Touch is great if you are holding the device in your hands, of course, like an iPad. But once you are using a keyboard and Surface's kickstand and trying to run Windows apps, which is the use case we're discussing here, you'll need a mouse or a trackpad, just like you do to run Windows on any other device. Windows apps are not touch friendly and that didn't magically change just because Ballmer is trying to enter the market that he publicly mocked in 2007 (iPhone) and 2010 (iPad).

Both the touch and type covers have a trackpad built in - it's surprising that they didn't include these items in the package, considering how core they are to the Surface experience

>because Ballmer is trying to enter the market that he publicly mocked in 2007 (iPhone) and 2010 (iPad).

I'm tired of these kinds of statements. The golden rule is that companies' employee publicly have to put down their competitors' new strategies. Imagine if Balmer said the iPad is great it's going to kill us, or if Jobs said 7" tablets are good but we'll make only in two years, so wait for us to make it. Or even Andy Rubin saying that Android UI is laggy compared to iOS, fix coming in 18 months. All of them(except maybe Jobs) would be summarily fired or atleast will be forced to recant their statements immediately on threat of being fired. It's almost part of their job to publicly mock their competitors, or their shareholders will dump the stock.

The more puzzling thing to me is, why do so many people actually think that these people say what they really believe and really believe what they say?

> The more puzzling thing to me is, why do so many people actually think that these people say what they really believe and really believe what they say?

Because most people here are developers? In most manager courses one of the lessons is; focus not on what people say but why they say it. Those things are often not the same thing. Ballmer (etc) are in the eye of the press, which means that not only do his words influence the stock price, they also influence the 1000s of people working for the company and their partners. All need to have their eye on the ball (MS MS MS) meaning the rest of the world is just shit. No matter if it is/he thinks it is or not; that's not relevant at all.

I'm not sure if I agree that that's what happened in this case. I think Ballmer actually believed what he said which is why they were so slow to react and is a part of the problem.

Google's reaction is a good example. After the iPhone launched in 2007 They immediately threw out the original blackberry like android device they were planning to release first and focused on their more iPhone like variant. Microsoft just mocked Apple and did nothing.

As far as the surface goes I think it's an interesting idea and could be great, but they're doing annoying marketing things again that are hurting it. Making people pay an extra $120 in order to get the actual product is annoying, why sell the crippled version without the keypad when that's the entire point of it? Just include the keypad at the lower price point instead.

> Microsoft just mocked Apple and did nothing.

I'm no Microsoft fan, but this is hyperbole. They release Windows Phone 7, widely regarded as a credible response, two and a half years after the iPhone came out. That's not exactly record time, but my guess is some serious hammers came down at Microsoft when iPhone launched.

I saw the two and a half year delay as the result of doing nothing until they realized they'd made a mistake.

>The problem is that the pricing puts it into a weird space in the market.

Edit:Just like usual it looks like the notable number of anti-'M$' haters on HN are flagging this article down the front page just like they do to any article that is not hating on MS(resulting in some legit sites getting fully permabanned). Stay classy HN.

Original Comment:

That's the thing, it defines a new place in the market because it has new characteristics, just like the iPad did when it started and many were calling it just a bigger iPod Touch or a smaller crippled laptop and were saying it would fail.

I think it's especially good for developers when you can run the full Visual Studio and Eclipse etc. but still portable, not to mention the Enterprise where it fully integrates with AD and group policy and can support the full Office Suite including Outlook.The digitizer and the pen is a nice bonus. In some companies, tablets have a stigma that they're entertainment devices meant for Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja, and thus management doesn't like buying them(except for senior management). With the Surface Pro, it might be seen as a productivity device that you can use while traveling and also they can lock them down as much as you want to with group policy, do updates and deployments just like the regular desktop PCs and laptops.

It'd be okay for couch surfing, I have a HP Touch pad which roughly the same size and weight and it isn't too bad, but you could probably buy a 7" tablet on the cheap if couch surfing is your thing. So, for some people this is a good choice and I think the pricing is on the premium to make it feel like a premium device.

I think one of the big points is the portability factor, thus it may not replace a 13.3" Ultrabook or a 7" tablet for all, but for some, it can and for some others, they will just buy it in addition to them.

My only concern is the battery life, they could swap out that i5 for a Clover Trail Atom but I think they want to keep the power. Maybe there will be a cheaper lighter version later with a new Atom.

>An argument could be made that Surface Pro isn't just a laptop, but a laptop plus a tablet in which case the appropriate price comparison would be the cost of a Macbook and an iPad.

I don't think pricing ever works like that. But anyway, if you want to think it that way, they're giving a discount for the lower battery life and greater weight.

One other issue about pricing is that they can't use their tens of billions of dollars to subsidize it, it'd just kill the OEMs. With this price, the OEMs have some breathing room to make competing devices.

I think quite some folks will have a desktop for PC gaming, Laptop for couch work, Surface for working while not at home, and a 7" tablet for couch/web surfing(or a ~5" phone).

I don't get the point of a device that's not a good tablet because it doubles as a mediocre laptop.

I'm surprised, but I'm not surprised.

I'm not surprised because I knew it would have a premium over the Surface RT. At $699 for the 64GB RT, $899 sounds like just the right price for the 64GB Surface Pro.

I'm surprised, because there's no two ways about it- $899 and not even with a keyboard is pricey.

I think you're spot on though, this isn't an iPad. Looking at the photo at the top of the page, I have one word ringing about in my head, and it isn't "tablet"- it is "slate". This is not your grandma's new movie device, and it isn't meant to be.

I don't get the general perspective that the concept of what the Surface Pro is trying to be is a pointless/undesirable thing.

Now, I totally understand the Surface Pro and Windows 8 might not be a _good_ solution to a problem... but there is a problem. And that problem is that I have too many devices. I have a tablet. I have a laptop. And I have a desktop. They all serve their function well, but I do imagine that in the future all of these devices will be combined into one. I believe that's inevitable. The Surface Pro is trying to be this solution (again, whether it's a successful solution is TBD). A device with no keyboard when I want a tablet. Attach a keyboard when you need it for whatever reason when you're on the go. Throw it in a dock when you're at your desktop to get your main work done, with multiple monitors, a comfy desk and chair, etc.

To scoff at this idea as not being a valid problem to tackle, and suggest the Surface Pro has no reason to even exist, seems short-sighted to me.

I disagree with your premise that 'all devices will be combined into one'. People want devices that do what they're built to do in the best way possible, not one device that tries to please everyone. That's why this idea of building a hybrid laptop-tablet drives me absolutely crazy: it is neither a good laptop nor a good tablet. The reviews of Surface confirm this.

Think about it: where have you seen a good example of any of these hybrids? - Consumer Copier/Printer/Scanner/Fax machines - Integrated Graphics Cards - Integrated Sound Cards - Monitor/Speaker combos - Pants that zip off into shorts - Glittens - etc. etc. etc.

> where have you seen a good example of any of these hybrids?

Did you try checking your pocket? You likely have a single device in your pocket right now that serves as a GPS, an MP3 player, a camera, a calendar, a clock, a calculator, a tiny computer for web browsing and email, oh, and also as a phone.

You're cherry picking bad examples. Good examples I can think of include cameras and phones. The iMac. Hell, the computer as we know it combines things like typewriters, mail, televisions, record players, phones, etc. etc. etc.

With an active digitizer and the ability to run full apps, this looks like the perfect photography/graphic work portable workstation, that you can then dock at your desk at home. Extremely interested in it for that alone.

But I might wait a round or two, or look for similar 3rd party convertible things... At $1000, currently, it would need to be something that could do everything I wanted when traveling, and I'm skeptical that the in-lap keyboard experience on one of these will be good enough to make it a true laptop replacement for me. Typing in an airport, for instance (or just a recliner, or bed, or wherever)... I want it to be able to sit in my lap.

A cheaper Surface Pro in the future will appeal just for the portable photography workstation aspect. A laptop-based 3rd-party alternative with as good a digitizer, at about the same price, would appeal as my next laptop. Not sure this version 1 hits what I want, though.

Active digitizers aren't cheap, and are really great with one note (I have the Samsung tablet). My problem with this tablet is also that I can't use it as a laptop (literally, I like working on sofas at starbucks). On the other hand, the resolution looks quite promising, its almost retina!

The good old tablet PCs have good digitizers on them, and they are still being made. I'm not sure what I will replace my EliteBook with...I like the digitizer but would prefer something thinner and bigger (like a Samsung Series 9 or a Carbon X1).

Disclosure: Microsoft employee.

I'm also a photographer in my spare time, and I'm looking forward to this device, in part because a friend of mine is an artist and she wanted me to evaluate it when it comes out to see if it's worth the money to her. The digitizer is definitely the biggest thing I want to test on the device. I'm hoping that the pen has pressure sensitivity, at least; and I'm hoping that it turns the screen off far enough from the screen that I can safely lift the pen a little bit before the touch screen turns back on again. Color accuracy will also be interesting; but, since it's an x86 device, I imagine we can install color correction software that will somewhat fix any issues there might be with that. (I have a very specific screen at home I use for color-accuracy. I'm very picky.)

I own a Surface RT, too, with a type cover and have experience using it for ... well, I got it the day it came out. First things first, I've worked with the device on my lap. I have pretty long legs, so the stand sits just fine in my lap; and, while I do prefer to have a hard surface underneath it, like a logitech or targus laptop stand, it's plenty usable in this situation. I use the machine on my lap at a friend's house on their futon all the time.

As for the "it's almost retina!" statement, the Surface Pro is going to be, for normal intents and purposes, retina at 17" away from your face(#). That's less than a normal laptop to face distance. For the Surface RT, I've personally find myself frequently having to raise the resolution of some webpages as they day goes on, because the text is too small to read. Using the same calculations as above, the Surface RT is "retina" at 23 inches.

(#) http://isthisretina.com/

I'm eager to try a surface in my lap to see how it feels, which I wasn't able to do at the Microsoft store. I do a lot of lap work; coding, writing papers), so this very important to me.

I've been spoiled by the iPad 3 in terms of resolution, especially when reading in bed where the tablet is about 10" away from my face. The pro is decent, but I think I could still see the pixels in bed; that would affect what device I choose to use there.

I agree that the digitizer is the best thing about the device, that alone could sell it for key niche uses (taking notes, sketching).

Hm ... I haven't done too too much reading in my bed. I do notice that setting up ClearType the way you like it seems to make reading text better. That said, when I was reading Lovecraft in one of the epub readers, I forget which one, the text was nice to read in 2-column horizontally and 1-column format vertically. I honestly haven't had much time in front of > 300ppi displays at close range and with text ( I tend to like things a bit farther away from me than close, so the screen would still probably be 15 or so inches away), so perhaps my experience hasn't been adequately adjusted yet.

Oh, and of course, as a touch-typist and a fast typist, I recommend the type cover for using on your lap. Both keyboards are stiff, but I imagine the feedback of pressing a key will make it easier to work with on your lap.

Should be interesting. One of the things I've wished for was a tablet that could do both capacitive touch style interactions and more precise Wacom pen/tablet style interactions. Looks like I'll have a chance to play with an implementation of that.

I agree with kimura that its a pretty high price point. Although reserve judgement on whether or not it crosses into the 'too expensive' territory. Its essentially the same machine as a Macbook Air which is $1,199 for a 128G model (vs the Surface Pro 128GB @ $999)

Well, no, it's arguably a "better" machine than the MBA in the sense that it can convert to a tablet, has a pressure sensitive digitizer, higher resolution, better sound system.

Sorry, I was being imprecise. From a Compute/Memory/Storage point of view its nominally the same as a Macbook Air. Gives context on what sort of programmatic performance you get.

Agreed it has a different peripheral set which makes it 'better' for some applications and perhaps 'not as good' for others. But I haven't tried it out so its hard to know.

I do have a Kagi capacitive stylus for my iPad and its not nearly as nice as the stylus I had on my old IREX e-reader or the Bamboo Wacom tablet on my Mac.

The price is not $999; with a keyboard (to be a fair competitor to the MacBook Air), it costs $1050. At $999, it's just a crappy iPad alternative with a large hardrive.

Or, alternatively, it's a decent alternative to the Modbook Pro (http://www.modbook.com/modbookpro) at a $2500 discount. I'm sure there are people to whom the Surface Pro is more attractive than a normal laptop. I haven't decided whether I'm one of them, but I don't think that a direct comparison to the Macbook Air is appropriate. If we're going to be "fair" by adding a keyboard to the Surface, shouldn't we also add an aftermarket touch screen to the Air?

Classic Microsoft rear-guard move to protect margins for Intel and their hardware chain (and consequently trying to prop up their desktop OS appeal as well) by trying to "tablet-ify" their existing offerings. Expect a bunch of Surface clones (MS approved) to hit the market soon afterwards.

This strategy won't work. Many folks who would buy a Win8 Pro surface are likely going to just buy an ultrabook or netbook + iPad/Nexus/Fire instead.

Microsoft shouldn't even be competing against Apple. They should be deathly afraid of Android. Apple doesn't want to turn iOS into a desktop-like experience, however a Asus Transformer did Surface before Microsoft did.

>however a Asus Transformer did Surface before Microsoft did

Can the Asus Transformer run Eclipse? If not, can it or will it, anytime soon?

I'm think that Microsoft erred severely in making a Surface RT in addition to a Surface Pro.

Surface RT is too little. Why pay as much as an iPad and more than a Nexus 10 for a device with a last-generation screen and last-generation processor?

Surface Pro is too much. There is a segment of people who would want to run full-fleged desktop apps on a touch-screen tablet, but I'm convinced that the number of those people is vanishingly small. The apparent usefulness of being able to run classic desktop apps decreases when you realize that the apps that won't work with Windows RT are by definition the ones that haven't been updated to be usable on a touch screen. Moreover, with the touch cover requiring a flat surface to use the keyboard, the whole "laptop replacement" angle goes out the window in a lot of situations where a 10.6" laptop would be very desirable (e.g. train commutes).

It was a mistake from the beginning to have two lines. They should have focused on making one compelling product, instead of two severely compromised ones. Why are goodies like the 1080p screen bundled inextricably with the battery-destroying Ivy Bridge processor? Office is the key differentiator here, the "Windows ecosystem" is secondary. Surface should have been one device with a Clover Trail processor, 1080p screen, Office, and 8+ hours battery life. If Google can deliver the Nexus 10 at $400, Microsoft should have been able to deliver such a device at $600.

Unfortunately, all of the OEM's are copying Microsoft's RT/Pro dichotomy. The Windows RT devices have low-resolution screens and last-generation processors, while the Windows Pro devices have battery-sucking Ivy Bridge processors. It's a distinction that maybe made sense to some marketing geek, but one that's totally non-sensical as a practical matter.

So it's basically as expensive as a MacBook Air, but not as polished or light-weight, and it comes with Windows 8? I'm still stuck on why I need something in between a tablet and a small laptop, especially when it costs as much as a nicer ultrabook.

expensiveness: yes, including the touch cover it'd be priced exactly in-line with the 11.8" mba with the same storage options

polish: based on the design and build quality of the rt version i'd say it’s a pretty safe bet that the hardware will be plenty polished (that’s in my opinion of course; as a statement either way would be purely subjective..)

light-weight: 2.0lbs [1] vs. mba at 2.38lbs [2], so no..

windows 8: i'm assuming you consider that a negative (or at least are implying that it’s somehow inferior to osx), but i can’t think of any other system that’s as flexible in supporting various input methods and usage scenarios that would be made available on such a device

why: well i guess it depends on how you look at it. the way i see it is, unlike most tablets this is one that is also fully functional as a laptop/desktop (input methods, ports, connectivity, a fully-featured os that supports real multitasking and runs millions of applications) when you need it.. and, unlike most laptops/desktops, it’s also one that makes for an excellent tablet (touch input, pen/digitizer, increased portability, a fast/stable os with a nice touch-friendly interface)..

benchmarking against the mba i find it pretty hard to not see value there. and you may not need this (apparently most people do not need mba’s either by the way), but for some it makes for a pretty great value proposition as it really could replace both a tablet and a traditional pc.

[1] http://www.microsoft.com/Surface/en-US/surface-with-windows-...

[2] http://www.apple.com/macbookair/specs.html

edit: for some reason seeing those links next to one another made me laugh a bit; simplicity.

If that price included a full version of Office I would definitely get it myself.

As priced, it's a no-brainer for the executive set who like to be seen with their iPads but get real work done on 5 pound, AD-joined, IT provisioned Dells. They already have volume licensed Office, and IT teams are going to make this a standard option for road-warriors and execs.

I think the Hacker News set doesn't understand what it's like to work at a non-tech Fortune 500 company. Microsoft's goal isn't to replace the iPad on teenagers' Christmas lists, it's to protect the highly lucrative corporate market from further iPad (and eventually Mac) penetration. On that measure, the Surface Pro is going to crush it.

To put it another way, you aren't going to see a lot of these at SXSW or at Ritual Coffee, but watch out National Association of Pharmaceutical Representatives!

It's competing with laptops, not tablets. If the price didn't kill it vs. tablets, the thickness and fans would. Terrible choice against the iPad, but potentially the right one vs. a MacBook Air.

Before even clicking the link, I thought to myself, 'What would I pay for a Windows 8 tablet?' Not more than $500 I thought. When I saw they priced it at $900 I laughed. Microsoft is a non-stop train wreck of misery at the moment. It's like Window ME and Windows Vista combined. I hope they come out of this beating with a renewed sense of reality. Maybe shed a few layers of management..

You can buy a Windows 8 tablet for $500: http://www.microsoft.com/Surface/en-US/surface-with-windows-...

This is closer to a Macbook Air competitor (with keyboard) in my opinion, that also has the ability to be a tablet and runs x86 applications. Given that, the price makes more sense.

Compared to a similar ultrabook its not that expensive, the problem is that for the average joe on a store its a $999 tablet surrounded by $200-500 tablets.

Maybe MSFT should have released a surface hybrid laptop-tablet instead. The kickstand+cover combo is great compared to other tablets but is not the same than a proper laptop keyboard.

There's the Type Cover, which is a proper keyboard as far as I understand it.

Does anyone know how much RAM this thing has, since marketing speak has now taken "memory" to mean "storage space".

What's funny is calling this a laptop since your lap is about the only place you can't use it (apart from as a tablet I suppose). It's really a portable desktop.

They mentioned it very clearly - The device have 4 GB of RAM


4GM RAM (#)

Also, I own a Surface RT and can use it on my lap.

(#) http://www.microsoft.com/Surface/en-US/surface-with-windows-...

I could see this being an excellent on-the-go digital sculpting/modeling machine. If the digitizer is comparable to a Wacom, this would be great for zbrush.

Specifications-wise (http://www.microsoft.com/Surface/en-US/surface-with-windows-...) it's actually very similar to base models of the MacBook Air (perhaps actually smaller than the Air without the keyboard cover). At about $100 cheaper.

I think they priced themselves out of the market.

What market, though? This isn't an iPad, it's a full machine. Agree that they're not doing a great job of communicating that, though. Calling them both Surface may have been a bad move.

But people are going to compare it to an iPad or other Windows notebooks (in the ~600 range) rather than an ultrabook, I think.

Calling them both Surface may have been a bad move.

True, but par for the course for the same company that uses "Windows" to describe the OS in everything from a data center to a cell phone.

What market indeed. There has been no market for the hybrid laptop/tablet.

If the pen input is comparable to that of a Wacom tablet, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. Its closest competition sells for $2,200 in Sweden.

Man this thing is cool, I want it just for the digitizer and the resolution.

You can have 50% of an Ultrabook for 100% of the price. Total savings of up to negative 50%! How could anyone resist?

Only Apple can list 'Status Symbol' as one of the perks of their products, and I have a feeling that's one of the main features the average consumer wants in a tablet. Aside from the toy/gimmick factor and browsing the internet easily from bed (or the toilet), I'm just not seeing the mass appeal of these.

It has an i5, pretty good screen, USB 3 and the light form factor. Which half is missing from the equation?

Definitely too expensive. I could have sworn that they claimed to keep the price under $800. Looks like I'll be waiting for either the inevitable price drop or fire sale for what would amount to a 2nd laptop for me. Knowing this, I don't understand why the ultrabooks are priced so exorbitantly despite them being "luxury" devices if they plan for people to actually buy them.

The marketplace isn't going to understand that this is more of a computer than an iPad. They need to hammer on "this runs Office".

The only problem is that the RT also runs Office. I think the Pro looks good and I can't wait to get hands on one, but I suspect that if MS doesn't figure out how to market things it will die a swift death.

On the other hand, MS is famous for continuing to do things they suck at until they get it right. One of the benefits of having deep pockets.

In no wise is this "more of a computer" than an iPad (N7/Fire/&c.) It is a "Windows computer" in exactly the same way that an iPad is an "iOS computer". Thinking that "is a computer" is the same as "runs Windows" is why Microsoft is fighting the desperate, Surface-lead rear-guard action against encroachments on their turf.

In January, Surface with Windows 8 Pro will be available in two versions and pricing will start at $899.


That was about my thought process, accompanied by a whistle.

Hey, cool! I had one of these back in 2003 when it was called a Tablet PC. Maybe they'll get it right this time.


"The Official Microsoft Blog "

It was written by Microsoft.

>The following is a post from Panos Panay, General Manager of Microsoft Surface.

As someone who likes to use Ableton Live and Adobe CS. This is exciting. I want to carry around a computer in the form of a tablet. I want to have pen input and USB.

I am using Surface RT right now. Its not perfect. But all the things, I dislike are hopefully fixed with the pro.

I do wish Apple made something similar.

Has anyone done disk benchmarks on the built-in NAND of either the RT or Pro? I've really gotten used to the performance difference between modern SATA SSDs and spinning disks, I'd hate to buy a surface and get performance of the bad old days.

Are these still "64gb" as in it's really 45gb with the OS files and such installed?

Yes, if you look at the specs page there's a disclaimer noting the OS takes up a significant amount of the space:

  Storage 	64GB*, 128GB
  *System software uses significant storage space. Available storage is subject to change based on system software updates and apps usage.
  1 GB = 1 billion bytes. See Surface.com/storage for more details.

iOS is made out of Unicorn feathers and does not take any of the iPad's advertised space.

I'm uncertain whom you're replying to as I never mentioned iOS nor implied anything about it.

iOS does take less space than Windows at last check, but that's to be expected.

I personally think it's pretty disingenuous that more vendors don't advertise the usable space instead of total space.

I'm not thrilled about how much usable space I actually have left on my Nexus 7 16GB as an example...

> Surface with Windows 8 Pro will come with Intel’s next generation Core i5 processor

So it's going to run Haswell?! Weren't those supposed to come out only a quarter after that?

How much space will it take for OS+Office+other default applications? If the situation is same as Surface RT then 64 GB Surface Pro is definitely not a good choice.

How much space will it take for OS+Office+other default applications

Exactly as much space as it takes up on your laptop.

Wonder how long it might take for them to release an updated model, considering the Intel Haswell microarchitecture should be available around Q2 2013.

After trying Windows 8, I'm not convinced "hybrids" are the future anymore. Everything about such a hybrid will be a compromise one way or the other.

You won't get the best desktop experience as Windows 8 is annoying you with Metro, and you always have to bypass it, a 10" screen is pretty useless for any real work on a PC (too small). You'll also get about half or less the battery life of an ARM tablet (and probably several times less for idle time - an ARM tablet can last for days on a charge with light use). You also get too little storage for a desktop PC and for the price.

It will get hot, and will get noise from the fans. It's 30% heavier than a 10" tablet, and people are already saying how the new iPad Mini will be the "real" iPad in the future because of its weight (half the weight of regular iPad) and size. And it's also too expensive for a tablet, if that's what you really want.

Manufacturers are already saying they expect touchscreen hybrids to only be a small part of the ultrabook sales next year, and I think they got it right. Hybrids will only be a niche market, and not the "future" of tablet and PC's that Microsoft hopes it will be.

My old Sony 505g had a 10.4" screen and was plenty useful.

Does anyone know how much free space is left on the 64GB model? WinRT takes up ~14GB on the 32GB non-pro Surface iirc.

maybe it'll be good as a backup laptop.

i just bought an X1 Carbon that needs to be sent back for repair.. i have done away with my desktop years ago so now i need a backup whilst my X1 is in repair.. the Surface Pro seems to fit this pretty well...

Half-nailed it.

Too expensive

Based on what?

The most comparable machine I see is the mac book air. I paid $1300.00 for it and it doesn't' even include a touch screen.

Maybe Apple overpriced their macbook air's?

Since when did touch screens become a requirement or even a semi-useful thing for laptops?

> Since when did touch screens become a requirement or even a semi-useful thing for laptops?

I don't think anyone said it did. All I said was this surface is very comparable to an air but also includes a touch screen and is cheaper.

Well, no. The macbook air has a keyboard, it has been available for a long time, and it's not running Windows 8; so it's a bit of a stretch to call them comparable just like that.

Sure, I don't want to get into a big argument here.

Even with the keyboard, it's still cheaper than what I paid for my macbook air and I get a touch screen.

To me that's better value, if you dont' agree, I'm fine with that:)

Not for a laptop. It's right in line with the MacBook Air.

Better in most ways. The $999 Surface Pro has the same specs as the $1,200 MBA, only high resolution, lighter, and with a touch screen.

I'd hold off on "better" until they ship; no word on exactly which i5, and no idea on battery life (bigger battery than the 11" MBA, but software + screen are unknowns).

And it's really a $1100 Surface Pro, because if you're using it like a laptop, you'll want a keyboard. Still competitive, but don't be fooled.

Minus the keyboard :). Add that and the price is in line with the MBA. Surface Pro is still the better deal in my opinion, because of the newer CPU and better screen.

You mean, as opposed to a MacBook air at 999 to 1199? This is a full-fledged laptop running the full version of Windows.

No one is going to pay Mac hardware prices for a piece of Windows hardware, at least not out of the gate.

Unless the device is amazing, it's just too much.

Well, it's a full-fledged laptop that has no keyboard. A keyboard will cost you more- a type cover is about $149, right?

Wow seriously? I bought a mechanical keyboard with gold plated switches for each single key for that price!

The markup on the typecover is hard to justify when looking at the competition. The keyboard on the asus transformer cost about the same except that it also has a big battery inside, extending the battery life of the tablet when used in laptop mode.

And it can be used as a laptop, in your bed, in your lap.. not like the Surface RT which doesn't rely on the type cover but a stand that is only stable when put on a desk or table.

Do we know how thickness will compare to the RT? From the photos, this looks kind of thick.

Microsoft says:

   Surface Pro:
   10.81 x 6.81 x 0.53in

   Surface RT:
   10.81 x 6.77 x 0.37in
http://www.microsoft.com/Surface/en-US/surface-with-windows-... and


Perfect. So it is, in fact, 43% thicker. Still pretty thin, but nice to know my eyes were not deceiving me.

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