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.
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.
> 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
> if you want to use it like a crippled toy in the style of an iPad
> Microsoft were the first to seriously meld the desktop and tablet experience
> Waiting with bated breath to see if Apple wholesale copies the Microsoft approach,
> toy-apps-as-start-button works wonderfully.
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.
Asus has touchscreen laptops for less than half of the price, and convertible laptops have been around for at least a decade.
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.
MS is going to have to work really hard to convince people that the surface is worth $900, at least in my opinion.
Are they full HD resolution? Do they have an active digitizer? Core i5 ?
People thought the RT was slightly heavy to hold as a tablet. Will be interested to see their opinions of this.
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.
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.
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.
The cheapest iPad is still more expensive than most Android tablets.
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.
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).
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?
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.
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 $120 in order to get the actual product is annoying, why sell the crippled version without the keypad when that's the entire point of it? Just include the keypad at the lower price point instead.
I'm no Microsoft fan, but this is hyperbole. They release Windows Phone 7, widely regarded as a credible response, two and a half years after the iPhone came out. That's not exactly record time, but my guess is some serious hammers came down at Microsoft when iPhone launched.
Edit:Just like usual it looks like the notable number of anti-'M$' 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.
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'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.
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.
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
- etc. etc. etc.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
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)
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.
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.
Can the Asus Transformer run Eclipse? If not, can it or will it, anytime soon?
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.
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  vs. mba at 2.38lbs , 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.
edit: for some reason seeing those links next to one another made me laugh a bit; simplicity.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Also, I own a Surface RT and can use it on my lap.
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.
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.
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.
>The following is a post from Panos Panay, General Manager of Microsoft Surface.
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.
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 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...
So it's going to run Haswell?! Weren't those supposed to come out only a quarter after that?
Exactly as much space as it takes up on your laptop.
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.
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...
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?
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.
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:)
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.
Unless the device is amazing, it's just too much.
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.
10.81 x 6.81 x 0.53in
10.81 x 6.77 x 0.37in