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All the news from today's big Microsoft Surface laptop event

At its New York City event today, Microsoft unveiled the new Surface Laptop and the Windows 10 S operating system to take on the education market. The announcements today position Microsoft to take on Google's Chromebook and Chrome OS, offering lightweight versions to appeal to students, teachers, and school administrators. Catch up on all the latest news from Minecraft to new devices right here.

  • Sep 29, 2021

    Sheena Vasani and Brandon Widder

    Microsoft Surface Pro 7 vs. Pro 8: what’s the difference?

    The Surface Pro 8
    The Pro 8 offers Thunderbolt 4 support, a 120Hz display, a better camera, more storage, and more.

    During its recent Surface event, Microsoft launched the largest upgrade of its flagship Intel-powered Surface Pro lineup in years: the Surface Pro 8. The new 2-in-1 machine boasts a 120Hz display, Thunderbolt 4 support, and new processors, but all of those improvements come at a cost — literally. Whereas the Surface Pro 7 starts at $549.99, the Surface Pro 8 starts at $1,099.99, meaning it’s nearly double the price. And that’s also before you factor in the cost of Microsoft’s new stylus and detachable keyboard, two add-ons that are more like necessities if you intend to use the 2-in-1 as advertised.

    With all that said, is it worth upgrading or picking up the Pro 8 over the last-gen model when it launches on October 5th? To help make your decision a little easier, we’ve put together the comparison below based on specs and our initial impressions of the Surface Pro 8.

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  • Tom Warren

    May 3, 2017

    Tom Warren

    Windows 10 S: everything you need to know about Microsoft’s Chrome OS competitor

    Microsoft launched its latest version of Windows 10 yesterday, Windows 10 S. It’s designed for education and to take on Chromebooks and Chrome OS. Just like Google’s own OS, Windows 10 S is fairly locked down in places and you’ll only be able to run apps from the Windows Store. Microsoft explained some aspects of Windows 10 S onstage yesterday, but there’s a lot more to this new version. Here’s everything you need to know.

    The biggest change to Windows 10 S is that it’s locked to only work with Windows Store apps. That means you’ll need to find apps in the Store to download and install them, and many desktop apps like Photoshop and Chrome simply aren’t in the Store yet. Microsoft does allow developers to port their desktop apps into the Windows Store, but not many have taken advantage of this feature just yet.

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  • Tom Warren

    May 3, 2017

    Tom Warren

    Microsoft CEO: our next phones may not look like phones

    Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
    Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
    Photo by Amelia Krales / The Verge

    Microsoft hasn’t launched a new Windows phone for more than a year now. As Windows Phone market share has shrunk below 1 percent, Microsoft has been busy gutting its phone business and restructuring. That’s resulted in $7.6 billion being written off from the Nokia phone business acquisition, and thousands of job losses. Microsoft said recently that it plans to finalize its phone restructuring by the end of June, but it’s still not clear what the company is ultimately planning for Windows 10 Mobile.

    Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella believes Microsoft will still make phones. In a podcast interview (spotted by Softpedia) for Marketplace’s make me smart, Nadella hints that Microsoft is looking at creating phones that don’t look like traditional phones. “We make phones today, we have OEMs like HP making phones and others and we picked a very specific area to focus on which is management, security, and this one particular feature that we have called Continuum, which is a phone that can even be a desktop,” explains Nadella.

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  • Tom Warren

    May 3, 2017

    Tom Warren

    Microsoft's prototype Surface Laptop included two USB-C ports

    Microsoft launched its Surface Laptop yesterday, but it surprisingly omitted the use of USB Type-C ports. Microsoft has opted for a mini DisplayPort and its traditional Surface connector instead. Codenamed Lynx, Microsoft's Surface Laptop went through a number of final prototype iterations, including models with two USB-C ports. Microsoft accidentally revealed one of these prototypes during a promotional Surface marketing video on YouTube.

    At Microsoft's event in New York yesterday, I asked designers why there was no USB-C ports on the Surface Laptop. The responses all pointed to a lack of maturity in USB-C with power and cable issues, and just a broad lack of market adoption. Microsoft felt its target audience for the Surface Laptop would be more likely to make use of a mini DisplayPort and traditional USB port than the new USB-C connections.

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  • Tom Warren

    May 3, 2017

    Tom Warren

    Windows 10 S won't let you change the default browser or switch to Google search

    Microsoft introduced its Chrome OS competitor, Windows 10 S, at a special event in New York City today. The software maker was quick to reveal only Windows Store apps will run on Windows 10 S, and Windows chief Terry Myerson even revealed the new OS “will run any browser in the Windows Store.” While it’s true Windows 10 S can run any browser from the Store, Microsoft is restricting users from altering the default browser on this new OS.

    In a FAQ for Windows 10 S, Microsoft admits “you are able to download another browser that might be available from the Windows Store, but Microsoft Edge will remain the default if, for example, you open an .htm file.” This means if you click a link from another app, or open a link from an email then you’ll be thrown into Microsoft Edge, even if you wanted to use another browser. It’s not clear if Google will even bring Chrome to the Windows Store, but if it does then it might be a pointless venture as it won’t be fully functional without being the default browser on Windows 10 S.

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  • May 2, 2017

    Vlad Savov

    Windows 10 S is going to confuse people

    Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

    Earlier today, Microsoft held an event to reintroduce itself to teachers and students as a company providing innovative and compelling education products. The event promised to be narrowly focused on a large-scale market where price and ease of use trumped more frivolous considerations like design elegance, but Microsoft couldn’t help itself and also introduced the gorgeous new Surface Laptop. The connecting link between Microsoft’s suite of educational tools and the premium Surface Laptop? Windows 10 S, the operating system at the heart of both.

    The dual role played by Windows 10 S at today’s event might pose problems for Microsoft down the line as prospective users struggle to figure out what exactly the S stands for.

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  • Tom Warren

    May 2, 2017

    Tom Warren

    Microsoft's Surface Laptop feels beautiful

    Microsoft finally made a real laptop, and it’s beautiful. I got a chance to get a closer look at the new Surface Laptop during Microsoft’s event in New York City, and I’m impressed. This could be the laptop I've been waiting for Microsoft to create. The Surface Book was always a little too top-heavy and chunky, but this new Surface Laptop is under three pounds and feels high end, thanks to its aluminum finish and design. Microsoft has made some interesting hardware choices here, and they genuinely add up to an impressive Windows laptop at first glance.

    The first thing I noticed about the Surface Laptop is that you can open it with a single hand. That might not sound impressive, but it’s one of the most irritating experiences you’ll notice across a range of laptops these days. You try to open a device to work and it jumps around on the table. The Surface Laptop just stays still, as if it’s bolted to the desk. Once I started typing I also immediately felt the Alcantara fabric that surrounds the keys and trackpad. Microsoft’s Panos Panay wasn’t joking when he said it feels warm. It’s an unusual fabric to have on a laptop; it feels like glowing leather underneath your palms. My only concern will be liquid and food spillages, but it seems to be coated in a way that it’s probably not an issue. We’ll see when we review the Surface Laptop.

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  • Natt Garun

    May 2, 2017

    Natt Garun

    Window 10 S devices can be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro for $49

    Microsoft’s latest operation system, Windows 10 S, is designed for the education market with a variety of supported devices starting at $189. (PC makers like Acer and HP started advertising their Windows 10 S laptops shortly after the official announcement.) Those who aren’t in the education market but want to try out these devices anyway, Microsoft says you’ll be able to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for $49.

    The $49 will be a one-time fee, and once you’ve upgraded to Windows 10 Pro you won’t be able to return to Windows 10 S. Students, teachers, and school administrators can upgrade the Surface Laptop for free, but only until the end of 2017. There appears to be no option to upgrade to Windows 10 Home.

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  • HP and Acer announce Windows 10 S computers for $299

    HP ProBook x360 Education Edition with Windows 10 S
    Photo: HP

    HP and Acer are the first two hardware partners to announce laptops running Windows 10 S, the new locked-down version of Windows meant for schools.

    The two companies are announcing cheaper versions of existing laptops, with pretty much everything identical except for the operating system. Both will sell for $299.

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  • Chaim Gartenberg

    May 2, 2017

    Chaim Gartenberg

    Microsoft’s Surface Laptop video features a slowed-down cover of the Grease soundtrack

    Microsoft just announced the Surface Laptop, and, as is tradition in the tech industry, the announcement was accompanied by a fancy “making of” video unveiling the device by showcasing the various (stylized) parts of the manufacturing process. The video is pretty cool, but I’m here to talk about the soundtrack: a bizarrely slowed-down (and slightly creepy) cover of “You’re the One That I Want” from the finale of Grease.

    Look, I get what Microsoft was going for here. The company is hoping that, just like Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson, you will similarly recognize a new Surface Laptop as “the one that you want.” The fact that lines like “the power you’re supplying is electrifying” also can apply to a laptop (I guess?) in addition to the intended subject of young love is probably an added bonus.

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  • Tom Warren

    May 2, 2017

    Tom Warren

    Microsoft unveils $999 Surface Laptop running Windows 10 S

    Microsoft is launching a new Surface-branded device today: the Surface Laptop. While the device leaked last night, Microsoft's devices chief Panos Panay came onstage at the company's New York City event to unveil it officially today. It's a 13.5-inch laptop that's designed to work with the company's new Windows 10 S operating system.

    Panay says Microsoft has focused this hardware on students who are just about to leave high schools. "We talk to a lot of them... they're asking for a laptop, they're asking for a Surface laptop," says Panay. "So we built a laptop, and it's beautiful."

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  • Chaim Gartenberg

    May 2, 2017

    Chaim Gartenberg

    Minecraft: Education Edition is getting a Code Builder tool to help teach coding skills

    Microsoft announced a new code-builder addition to Minecraft: Education Edition, meant to help students learn coding skills through the popular game. The tool, which enters beta today for teachers and students at qualifying schools, allows players to use learn-to-code tools like MakeCode, Scratch, and Tynker to interact with the game.

    In-game, the coding is represented by an actual helper robot that players will be able to code commands into. In the demo shown off onstage, using simple strings of commands in Tynker, the robot was able to be programmed to dig a pit to find water, but Microsoft notes that the potential extends as far as your coding skills. More advanced users will also be able to code commands directly in Javascript, without the friendly robot character.

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  • Microsoft’s Slack competitor is designed to hook students with emoji, stickers, and GIFs

    Microsoft Teams started life competing with Slack in the workplace, but now Microsoft plans to bring its chat and collaboration app to another environment: schools.

    During a presentation today, Microsoft showed a new version of Teams designed for education. It allows teachers to set up a dashboard for their students, with access to activities, tests, and lesson materials. Students will be able to comment on items and start discussions — naturally, there’ll be support for emoji, stickers, and GIFs, too.

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  • Tom Warren

    May 2, 2017

    Tom Warren

    Microsoft is building an augmented reality viewer directly into Windows 10

    Microsoft is planning to bring a View Mixed Reality feature to Windows 10 later this year. It's designed to let Windows 10 users augment 3D objects, created in 3D Paint, into the real world by using any laptop with a webcam. During a demonstration at Microsoft's New York City event this morning, the company showed off how objects can be displayed on a tablet using augmented reality.

    We've seen this type of technology in many different forms, but this will be built directly into Windows 10. The content created in 3D Paint can also be used on Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality devices, which are arriving later this year in time for the holiday season.

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  • Tom Warren

    May 2, 2017

    Tom Warren

    Windows 10 S is Microsoft's answer to Chrome OS

    Microsoft is introducing a new version of Windows 10 today: Windows 10 S. It's essentially Microsoft's answer to Chrome OS, to simplify Windows for low-end hardware and in particular, the education market. “Everything that runs on Windows 10 S is downloaded from the Windows Store,” says Microsoft’s Windows chief Terry Myerson. That doesn't mean that desktop apps won't run on this version of Windows 10, but they'll need to be specially packaged and listed in the Windows Store.

    During a demonstration onstage, Myerson showed off the ability to support peripherals and devices just like regular Windows 10. Myerson also noted that Microsoft has "streamlined" the default wallpaper for Windows 10 S, a strange change to note during Microsoft's keynote. "Windows 10 S will run any browser in the Windows Store," says Myerson, hinting that if Google is willing to list Chrome in the Store then it will be available on devices that run Windows 10 S. Without Chrome, Microsoft has obviously focused on its Edge browser and in particular education sites and web apps.

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  • Tom Warren

    May 2, 2017

    Tom Warren

    Microsoft looks to take on Chromebooks with Surface

    Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

    Four years ago Microsoft was scared of Chromebooks. Instead of simplifying Windows and launching similar devices, Microsoft went on the offensive, dismissing them with its aggressive anti-Google Scroogled campaign. That tactic didn’t really work, and Chromebooks have thrived in the US education market with some 20 million students using Google’s laptops in schools. Now, just as Chromebooks appear to be impacting PC market growth, Microsoft is hosting an event in New York City to try and counter Google’s laptops.

    Microsoft is expected to unveil a new version of Windows 10 this morning that will spearhead the company’s response to Chromebooks. Leaks suggest it will be named “Windows 10 S” and will only run apps from the Windows Store. Otherwise, it should look a lot like a regular version of Windows 10. We’ve heard this story before with Windows RT, an operating system designed for ARM-based processors. Windows RT launched and looked like Windows, but it didn’t run traditional desktop apps. This new version of Windows 10 will run desktop apps, but they’ll need to be specially packaged and listed in the Windows Store.

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  • Tom Warren

    May 2, 2017

    Tom Warren

    Surface Laptop images leak ahead of Microsoft's event

    Microsoft appears to be launching a Surface Laptop at its event in New York City tomorrow. Twitter user WalkingCat has shared several images of what is reportedly simply just "Surface Laptop," and it looks like Microsoft's answer to Google's Chromebook Pixel. The Surface Laptop will reportedly include a 13.5-inch PixelSense display and ship in four colors: platinum, burgundy, cobalt blue, and graphite gold.

    Microsoft's laptop will also include an alcantara keyboard, the same fabric used on the premium Surface Pro 4 keyboard option. It's not clear what processor and other hardware power the Surface Laptop, but the images show that there will be a regular USB port, mini DisplayPort, and the conventional Surface power connector. Microsoft doesn't appear to be adopting USB Type-C ports for its Surface Laptop.

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