Microsoft has unveiled a new Surface Pro 3 device at a press event in New York City today. Like the previous Surface tablets it still includes a kickstand, but Surface chief Panos Panay says it's designed to remove the conflict of buying a laptop or a tablet. The kickstand on the device is multi-stage, and the device is just 9.1mm thick. "This is the tablet that can replace your laptop," claims Panay. Microsoft has moved to a 12-inch screen on the Surface Pro 3 with a 3:2 aspect ratio and HD display, but the new tablet also has thin bezels with a silver and black design. Microsoft will start accepting pre-orders on the Surface Pro 3 tomorrow starting at $799.
Along with the Surface Pro 3 being a lot thinner, it's also a lot lighter than the previous models as it's 800 grams in weight. The weight of the original Surface Pro tablets was a big drawback, and it appears Microsoft has really focused on removing the bulk this time around. Panay used Apple's MacBook Air to compare the popular laptop with the new Surface Pro 3 on stage at Microsoft's event in New York City today, noting the weight benefits and screen resolution improvements. Microsoft has also been working closely with Intel to ensure the Surface Pro 3 includes the latest Core i7 processors. The processor still requires a fan, but Microsoft has refined the chassis on the Surface Pro 3 so you no longer notice the fan ridge the company used on the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2.
A new kickstand and Type Cover might make it better on your lap
Perhaps the most important part of the Surface Pro 3 is the new kickstand and Type Cover combination. Panay once again talked up "lapability" at the Surface event today, a problem that hasn't been fully addressed by the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 yet. The new kickstand now supports a "canvas mode" that places the Surface Pro 3 at a 150-degree angle, designed primarily for inking. The multiple kickstand angles might also help with using the device in your lap as a tablet or laptop; Microsoft has created a new Type Cover that magnetically seals itself to the screen to provide more sturdiness. The kickstand will support multiple positions, and the Type Cover adapts appropriately at an angle to balance the device out in your lap. It's a small change, but one that might finally address the ability to use a Surface in your lap as a laptop. Microsoft has also added a larger trackpad to the Type Cover, a change that should help improve mouse input with the Surface Pro 3.
Surface Pro 3 gets a pen upgrade
It's clear Microsoft's new Surface Pro 3 is designed primarily for professionals who need access to powerful desktop apps like Photoshop. Microsoft even invited Adobe on stage to demonstrate a new touch-optimized version of Photoshop for Windows. While Adobe isn't ready to release the update to Photoshop yet, you'll be able to pinch and zoom around photos and manipulate them using the Surface Pro 3 stylus. Panay talked up the abilities of the pen input on the Surface Pro 3, which has changed to a silver version to match the style of the new tablet. The updated Surface Pro Type Covers will also house the stylus in a little sleeve. Microsoft is also using N-trig’s integrated pen and touch technology in the Surface Pro 3 instead of the Wacom digitizer it used in the original Surface Pro tablets.
See our first impressions of the Surface Pro 3 here
Surface Pro 3 users will be able to sync notes that are made on documents, and they can also be shared in real-time with other Windows users. The stylus has been redesigned so that you can click the top of it to launch OneNote, even when the Surface Pro 3 is powered off. When you write notes using OneNote you can then click the top of the stylus again, just like an ordinary pen, and it will sync those notes up to the cloud instantly so they're available elsewhere. OneNote will also bring in content from the web when you tap on the stylus, allowing you to turn anything into a note. It appears to be one of the main new advantages of the updated stylus and the Surface Pro 3.
Available to pre-order tomorrow starting at $799
Microsoft will take pre-orders for its Surface Pro 3 tablet tomorrow, but it won't be available in all configurations immediately. An Intel Core i3 model starts at $799, a Core i5 version starts at $999, and the most powerful Core i7 starts at $1,549. Surface Pro 3 Core i5 models will be available starting June 20th in the US and Canada, with additional configurations launching during August. By the end of August Microsoft hopes to make Surface Pro 3 available in 26 additional markets outside of the US.