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Microsoft unveils Surface Music Cover for aspiring DJs

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Microsoft has already announced new Type and Touch covers, as well as a battery-boosting cover and dock, but it's moving into new territory with a new cover meant for would-be DJs. The Music Cover, as it's called, replaces traditional keys with media control buttons, volume sliders, and number keys that can be mapped to functions in a piece of special software that works in conjunction with Xbox Music and is included with the "Surface Music Kit." The kit is meant to let people remix songs easily, and it's apparently pressure-sensitive, detecting when users are hitting something harder or softer and responding with corresponding beats. The iPad has its share of third-party DJ apps, but Microsoft's first-party tools are part of its attempt to break out of the idea of tablets as "consumption devices" — and set itself apart from other products on the market.

Outside its unusual function, the Music Cover looks similar to other touch covers, and Microsoft promises it's not any thicker than them. The Surface Music Kit connects to the Surface 2, Surface Pro, and Surface 2 Pro, and it will be available on October 22nd, along with everything else in Microsoft's new Surface line. For now, Microsoft is holding a contest to get traction with musicians: tweet a remix-related Vine to Microsoft's Surface Twitter account, and you could end up with a Surface 2 tablet and the Music Cover.