Microsoft Surface Event Live Blog

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Microsoft is holding a Surface event today, and that means it’s probably time for some new tablet hardware from the Windows-maker. The Surface tablets are a somewhat unusual family of devices, in that they’re made special just for Windows 8, Microsoft’s controversial hybrid OS designed for both touch and traditional desktop computing. The Surface 2¬†range, unveiled last year, basically upgraded the specs on the old version while keeping everything else pretty much the same – we’ll find out at 11 AM ET what the next generation of Surface brings to the table.

John Biggs May 20, 20149:05 am

Thanks for watching with us. Good times.

John Biggs May 20, 20149:04 am

John Biggs May 20, 20149:04 am

You’ve come a long way, MS.

John Biggs May 20, 20149:03 am

core i3, core i5, core i7

John Biggs May 20, 20149:03 am

$799

goes on sale tomorrow.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20149:00 am

Oh actually he’s showing something more; using on-board camera to capture image live, and instead of taking a photo when he double-clicks his pen it brings the image right into OneNote for annotation, capture and sharing.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:58 am

I love love love handwriting notes so that’s actually a really lovely final feature demo.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:57 am

Removed parallax, removed latency, new pen tip. Write in detail, make art, 256 levels of pressure.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:57 am

Pen turns on the device immediately. Click it and the screen lights up.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:56 am

“We believe what can be digital will be digital” – Panay explaining their thought process in translating analog experiences like pen and paper to devices and gadgets.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:54 am

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:54 am

“There’s rumors of other side-by-side computing” says Panay, which is a reference to rumors Apple is planning this feature for iOS 8.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:52 am

Side by side computing. Two windows next to each other.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:50 am

Writing tiny little detailed things on the script.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:50 am

Now explaining “notes” in scriptwriting. This is like a dictionary event where we discuss the various meanings of words and well-established concepts.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:50 am

Now looking at Final Draft, screenwriting software. He’s showing how you can add notes to scripts.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:49 am

Just gave one to the head of NYT’s digital crossword.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:48 am

They’re giving tablets away like candy. 

John Biggs May 20, 20148:48 am

John Biggs May 20, 20148:48 am

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:48 am

Now showing the New York Times Crossword app. “Some people don’t want to admit” doing Crosswords. Why would anyone be ashamed of that?

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:47 am

Surface Pro 3’s stylus is “not a stylus,” it’s a pen. But not a pen in the traditional sense, mind you.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:46 am

Now we’re talking about paper. That’s a lot of explanation of what paper is, which I believe we’re mostly still familiar with.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:44 am

John Biggs May 20, 20148:44 am

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:44 am

It’s still got the kickstand thinger though. I remain skeptical.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:44 am

Little piece on the top of the keyboard cover can magnetically connect to the tablet. “Seals” it to the screen.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:44 am

There’s no an extra fold that allows it to click in for a more solid, stable connection that he says is the same as any laptop.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:43 am

The old way is pictured. It works but not really, Panay admits.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:42 am

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:42 am

No talking about how you can use it on your lap with the Type Cover clicked in.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:41 am

They got no praise for their original trackpad, hence the changes. This one is 68 percent larger; friction reduced by 78 percent.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:41 am

John Biggs May 20, 20148:41 am

Much larger trackpad and more usable.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:41 am

It’s thinner now. Product is still thinnest overall even with the cover on.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:40 am

Type cover up next

John Biggs May 20, 20148:40 am

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:40 am

Panay admits he has rightfully been “super judged” for creating the term “lapability”

John Biggs May 20, 20148:39 am

This sort of solves Surface’s previous problem of falling over.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:39 am

Calling this “lapability”

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:39 am

Hinge is “full friction,” so you can bring it to any position you want all the way to 150 degrees.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:38 am

The virtues of the kickstand are what caused Panay to make this terrible, terrible admission that will scar his other children for life.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:37 am

I think Panos Panay just admitted to having a favorite child?

John Biggs May 20, 20148:36 am

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:35 am

Photoshop is now optimized for touch on Surface Pro 3 for easier input. Bigger hit targets on icons and easier touch-based navigation, etc.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:34 am

Now has Adobe exec up to discuss using Photoshop on the Surface Pro 3, which I’m sure is probably awesome given how good it was on the Surface Pro 2. Adobe customers wanted Photoshop to take better advantage of the touch, pen and screen.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:34 am

Journalist Joanna Stern got the first Surface Pro 3. She’s already Tweeting.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:34 am

This pitch is heavy on the flowery sales language. It definitely has a shopping channel vibe.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:32 am

Joanna’s already using her new Surface Pro 3 https://twitter.com/JoannaStern/status/468776191881916416

John Biggs May 20, 20148:32 am

Running 3D modeling software on stage.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:31 am

It looks a little bulky but not more than a standard tower.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:31 am

Surface Pro 3 docking station up next. Because you “need performance at your desk as well”. Allows for 4K output “super hot buzzword people”.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:31 am

John Biggs May 20, 20148:30 am

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:30 am

Thing took a good spill, from shoulder height. That’s impressive.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:29 am

From WSJ.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:29 am

He’s dropping it on stage. Not worried though.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:29 am

Giving the tablet to Joanna Stern.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:29 am

Now talking “Designed to fit” and “Machined to fit.” Basically about extremely custom and optically measured components. Sounds hot.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:28 am

Talking quite a bit about the beauty of the manufacture. This is clearly taken from the Apple playbook.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:28 am

Still got the perimeter vent found in Surface Pro 2. But now they’ve reinvented the fan to make it 30 percent more efficient than any similar fan today. Invisible and silent.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:27 am

John Biggs May 20, 20148:27 am

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:26 am

10% more performance than Surface Pro 2 for those keeping count at home.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:26 am

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:26 am

“Thinnest Core PC ever made.”

John Biggs May 20, 20148:26 am

Core i7 in Surface Pro 3

John Biggs May 20, 20148:25 am

Compares Macbook 13-inch to the Surface. 6% more content on the 12-inch screen vs. 13-inch screen.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:25 am

MacBook is heavier. Great use of a scale on a stage MS wow.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:24 am

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:24 am

“Pixel free” is Microsoft’s word for Retina-caliber resolution, which means you can’t discern individual pixels.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:24 am

Weight to thinness to size ratio. When you pick up this product it feels beautiful he says.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:23 am

Weighs 800g

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:23 am

3:2 aspect ratio instead of 16:9 on Surface Pro 2. 2160×1440

John Biggs May 20, 20148:23 am

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:22 am

Product by definition is faster than Surface Pro 2. Screen is grown vs. Surface 2. Pushing it to 12-inches is critical, he says.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:22 am

12-inch diagonal 

John Biggs May 20, 20148:21 am

John Biggs May 20, 20148:21 am

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:21 am

Same performance of Suface 2, but from 10.3 mm to 9.1 mm, plus with evolutionary improvements to specs.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:21 am

The built-in kickstand has full range instead of two click-in positions, which is nice.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:20 am

Hot stylus action. That’s actually my favorite part of Surface because I like to draw.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:20 am

Much thinner than original Surface.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:19 am

12-inch screen

Multi position kickstand

9.1 mm thin

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:19 am

Okay Microsoft but I mean weren’t the other Surfaces about taking the conflict away, too?

John Biggs May 20, 20148:18 am

Surface Pro 3

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:18 am

Today they want to focus on killing the conflict. Of course, not that simple to just do that. Has to have no compromises in terms of performance, form factor, battery life, etc etc.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:18 am

Man, these small screens look small. There’s a reason for that. They are.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:18 am

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:18 am

Sometimes people buy two things; in fact 96 percent of the time they do, he says. Maybe not on that day, but you come back.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:17 am

“You walk into a store, and you walk up to a salesperson, and you can stand between two very clear tables and you ask a question: What is it I’m supposed to buy?” he’s alluding very heavily to Apple Stores.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:17 am

Customers always ask “What is it that I’m supposed to buy?”

“What does the sales rep say?”

“The response is so common it’s uncanny. The response is this: what is it that you want to do?”

John Biggs May 20, 20148:15 am

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:15 am

Reiterating that tablets are for browsing, consumption and “snacking on apps.” Whereas notebooks are designed for actually doing things, editing etc.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:15 am

96% of people who own a tablet own a laptop, too, Panay says.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:14 am

Flashback to three years ago, the tablet was supposed to kill the laptop, according to news media. But Panay says if you just look around you’ll notice that people use MacBook Airs still: “What happened?”

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:13 am

Seeing people use device to make change is “awesome,” says Panay.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:13 am

Surface is used for things that you would use computers for, says this video basically. Like drones, other stuff.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:12 am

John Biggs May 20, 20148:11 am

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:10 am

Now showing a video with “real stories” about Surface benefitting people in real-world work.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:10 am

Surface Pro 2 led some people to “write nice things” which “super helps.”

John Biggs May 20, 20148:10 am

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:09 am

“Do more… kinda jacks you up” says Panay about the organizational support for Surface.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:09 am

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:08 am

Panay says “what’s up dude. good to see ya” to Nadella. So cool.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:08 am

Today brings a major step forward for Surface, and now Panos Panay is up on stage to share more.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:08 am

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:07 am

“Can we design and build a device that takes the best of the tablet and the laptop and enables any individual to be able to read, and to be able to write; to be able to watch a movie and make a movie… motivation for Surface line.”

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:07 am

Also says they’re not interested in competing with their OEM partners; rather, want to inspire new products and product categories.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:06 am

Spoiler from Nadella: No refrigerators today.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:06 am

“We’re not building hardware for hardware’s sake.” Instead, they want to build experiences that bring together all aspects of Microsoft’s mission to build mobile-first products.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:06 am

Leads us to today’s discussion: “Why hardware?”

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:05 am

Microsoft has partners that help with this goal. Shoutouts to Adobe, AutoDesk, SAP and others “enabling people to do stuff.”

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:05 am

Now talking Microsoft’s “ubiquitous” software products, including Office 365, Skype and OneDrive.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:04 am

“We want products and technologies that enable people to dream, and get stuff done [...] that’s the mission we’re on.”

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:04 am

Today is the “next step on that journey; we want to talk about devices and hardware.” Starts with obsession to power orgs and people to “do more and be more”. This is Microsoft’s unifying theme.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:03 am

John Biggs May 20, 20148:03 am

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:03 am

Talking about past events, around enterprise security and data platform; creating a data culture within an organization. Also Build, when they talked about Windows and Azure and their advances on the cloud.

John Biggs May 20, 20148:02 am

Lights going down. “Good morning everyone.” New CEO on stage. Satya Nadella. Talking about Mobile First/Cloud First initiative. Creating a new platform for ambient intelligent experiences.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:02 am

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella welcomes everyone and sets up device talk to come.

Matt Burns May 20, 20148:01 am

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20148:00 am

john doesn’t know how to take landscape photos sorry everyone

John Biggs May 20, 20147:59 am

John Biggs May 20, 20147:58 am

Smaller room than usual. They will be showing something today because ranks of tables are waiting for hardware.

John Biggs May 20, 20147:57 am

Playing some upbeat EDM and samba for the journalists. Better than obscure rock.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20147:57 am

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20147:55 am

In and ready for Microsoft to ‘Surface’ whatever it’s going to talk about. So hilarious.

Darrell Etherington May 20, 20147:54 am