Microsoft’s annual Surface event is upon us: it will kick off on Wednesday, October 2nd, at 10AM ET. There are usually plenty of announcements, but we expect this to be an especially big event. The Surface Pro 7 is almost guaranteed to be unveiled, which hopefully has USB-C charging, among the other usual yearly improvements to processing speed and other internal specs.
Rumors suggest that Microsoft will also announce a new Surface Laptop built with AMD processors, and possibly project “Centaurus,” its dual-screened Surface computer. What Microsoft has to show off matters more than ever since Apple recently brought Smart Keyboard support to its most affordable iPad, the seventh-generation version of its standard model. The takeaway is that Apple has raised the stakes in a big way for Microsoft.
How will Microsoft respond? We’ll be bundling all of the big headlines below, so stay tuned.
Oct 4, 2019
What the heck is Windows 10X?
For die-hard gadget lovers, Microsoft’s Surface event this week was something of a dream come true. The company resurrected its legendary dual-screen Courier concept as the Surface Neo, then it surprised the world by announcing a dual-screen Android phone. The company finally embraced the USB-C port on its new Surface Pro X, Surface Pro 7, and Surface Laptop 3, and it’s even making them slightly upgradable, too.Read Article >
But if you came wondering about the future of Windows, you might have left a bit confused.
Oct 3, 2019
Panos Panay stops by The Vergecast to show off the Surface Duo
On a special episode of The Vergecast, chief product officer of Microsoft, Panos Panay, joins Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel and senior editor Tom Warren a few hours after Microsoft’s Surface hardware event to talk about the new Surface lineup — including the company’s upcoming dual-screen devices.Read Article >
Panay also talks about why Microsoft is using Android for its Duo device, the company’s relationship with Google, and the future of the Surface Neo / Duo form factor. Below is a lightly edited transcript of the conversation.
Oct 3, 2019
The Surface Pro X and Surface Laptop 3 are upgradable, but only a little
On Wednesday, Microsoft announced a ton of new Surface devices, but one thing you might have missed is that a couple of them are upgradable. Most Surface devices haven’t been easy to upgrade or fix, scoring rather poorly on iFixit’s repairability scale. For example, the Surface Pro 6 got a one, and the Surface Laptop 2 got a zero. However, Microsoft is trying to make things better in the repairability department with the new Surface Pro X and Surface Laptop 3 by making their SSDs upgradable and easier to access — but that’s about as far as Microsoft’s effort goes.Read Article >
On the Surface Pro X, the SSD is hidden behind the kickstand, where there’s a small plate you can pop off using a SIM ejector tool. Under that plate you’ll find an M.2 SSD, which, it seems, you can unscrew and take out yourself. Microsoft tells us it’s an M.2 2230 SSD, which is smaller than most M.2 SSDs, and not super easy to come by — we couldn’t find a single one on Amazon or Newegg, for example.
Microsoft doesn’t think Windows is important anymore
“The operating system is no longer the most important layer for us,” was the message from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella yesterday.Read Article >
Microsoft had a big day for Surface, introducing new hardware for the holiday season and teasing dual-screen devices like the Surface Duo and Surface Neo that are coming next year. But it was Nadella’s interview with Wired that really stood out. “What is most important for us is the app model and the experience,” revealed Nadella, further cementing that Windows has slipped down the importance list at Microsoft. “How people are going to write apps for Duo and Neo will have a lot more to do with each other than just writing a Windows app or an Android app, because it’s going to be about the Microsoft Graph.”
A first look at Surface Duo, Microsoft’s foldable Android phone
Microsoft surprised us all with the Surface Duo this week. It’s the long-awaited Surface phone that has been rumored for years, and in a further surprise, it’s running Google’s Android operating system. It’s designed to be the smaller sibling to the Surface Neo, a dual-screen device that was also unveiled yesterday running Windows 10X.Read Article >
The Surface Duo has two 5.6-inch displays that fold out into an 8.3-inch overall screen, and it’s just 4.8mm thin. You can fold it fully over like many 2-in-1 laptops, thanks to a 360-degree hinge. Microsoft says it’s committed to dual-screen devices because they allow people to get more done on the go.
How to choose between the Surface Pro X and Surface Pro 7
If you were in the market for a new Microsoft Surface laptop or tablet, the choices used to be relatively simple — Surface Book for a potent laptop with a detachable screen, Surface Pro for a capable tablet with an optional detachable keyboard, or the Surface Laptop or Surface Go if you don’t need as much power and don’t care as much about tablet or laptop modes.Read Article >
Microsoft just blew all that up by announcing the Surface Pro X and Surface Pro 7 portable 2-in-1s on the very same day — not to mention the Surface Neo dual-screen tablet and Surface Duo folding phone. Seriously, let’s not mention those last two again ‘cause they aren’t shipping until late 2020, but I figured you’d want to know.
Microsoft’s future is built on Google’s code
Asked for comment on Microsoft’s upcoming dual-screen, Android-powered Surface Duo smartphone, here’s what we got from a Google spokesperson: “We are excited to welcome Microsoft to the Android ecosystem. We look forward to working together to bring the best of both companies to users.”Read Article >
Translation: “We won.”
How to preorder Microsoft’s new Surface hardware
Microsoft unveiled a bunch of new hardware at its event today. The dual-screened Surface Neo and Surface Duo were the biggest surprises, but those won’t be releasing until holiday 2020, which is over a year away. Frankly, there was a lot to keep up with, and you can easily catch up by watching our quick recap of the event above, or check out the major headlines right here.Read Article >
Most of the other Surface products that Microsoft announced onstage are available for preorder now, and will be shipping either by the end of October or in November. Whether you’re more interested in the Surface Pro 7, Surface Laptop 3, or the Surface Pro X, we’ve pulled together a few links where you can reserve yours before it releases.
Microsoft Surface Earbuds first listen: live transcribe your life
Microsoft is getting into the truly wireless earbud game. The company just announced the new $249 Surface Earbuds, which are the second product in its portfolio of headphones after last year’s Surface Headphones. The Earbuds are similar to the many other wireless earbuds that are available already, but Microsoft has included some productivity-specific features with them that you won’t find anywhere else. They’ll be available later this year.Read Article >
I had a chance to demo the new Earbuds after Microsoft’s presentation today, and while the environment wasn’t great for evaluating the sound quality of the headphones, I did get to demo a few of their unique features.
The biggest announcements from Microsoft’s 2019 Surface event
Microsoft’s annual Surface event has wrapped up, and it brought a ton of big announcements this year. In total, it announced close to 10 new products, including the surprising Surface Duo phone that runs Android. Some other big announcements include Windows 10X, the Surface Neo, Surface Pro X, Surface Earbuds, the Surface Pro 7, and the Surface Laptop 3, the latter of which will be available in two sizes.Read Article >
Check out our live blog to see photos and insights from the event as they happened. But if you’re catching up, and just want to look at the headlines, you’ll find the key takeaways below.
Microsoft Surface Neo first look: the future of Windows 10X is dual-screen
Microsoft is creating a new version of Windows 10, designed exclusively for dual-screen and foldable devices. Windows 10X, also known by codename “Santorini,” is an ambitious effort from Microsoft to redesign Windows 10 for devices that don’t even exist yet — like flexible tablets that morph into being capable of laptop-like tasks — devices like the Surface Neo.Read Article >
Microsoft created the original Surface tablet and laptop hybrid more than seven years ago. In the intervening years, it changed from something that was weird and poorly executed into the flagship Windows device. Now, Microsoft is ready to try something bold and new again.
Microsoft Surface Pro X and Surface Pro 7 hands-on: it’s ARM vs. Intel
Microsoft is launching not one, but two Surface Pro devices this year. There’s a successor to the regular Surface Pro line, the Surface Pro 7, and then there’s the new Surface Pro X. It looks a lot like the Surface Pro 7 from a distance, but there are some subtle design changes that mean it has a bigger 13-inch display inside a 12-inch chassis that’s thinner and lighter than the Surface Pro we’re used to. It also has a new ARM-based Surface SQ1 processor inside, a chip that has been co-engineered between Microsoft and Qualcomm.Read Article >
I got to spend some time with both the Surface Pro X and Surface Pro 7 ahead of Microsoft’s Surface hardware event, and the Pro X is definitely the most interesting hardware outside of Microsoft’s new Surface Neo dual-screen device.
Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 3 comes in two sizes and with two different processors
Microsoft just announced the new Surface Laptop 3, an update to the Surface Laptop 2 from last year. The Surface Laptop 3 is very similar to the prior models, with two big exceptions: it’s now available in two different sizes, and the larger model comes with an all-new processor co-developed with AMD. The smaller 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3 starts at $999, while the 15-inch model starts $200 higher at $1,199. Both are available for preorder starting today, October 2nd, and they will ship on October 22nd.Read Article >
The 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3 is obviously the most similar to the prior Laptop models. It has the same overall design and shape, with the same 13.5-inch, 3:2 aspect ratio Pixel Sense touchscreen. Microsoft did make the touchpad 20 percent larger, but otherwise, all of the other dimensions are the same.
Inside Microsoft’s new custom Surface processors with AMD and Qualcomm
Microsoft has just announced its new Surface Laptop 3 and Surface Pro X devices, and neither will come with an Intel processor. The software giant is diversifying its silicon for Surface this year by partnering closely with AMD and Qualcomm, respectively, to create custom processors for its Surface line.Read Article >
The Surface Laptop 3 has a custom Ryzen Surface Edition processor on the 15-inch model, while the Surface Pro X goes the ARM-powered route with a new SQ1 processor co-engineered with Qualcomm. It’s a big change for the Surface line, even if Intel will still power the Surface Pro 7 and the smaller 13-inch Surface Laptop 3 models.
Microsoft surprises with new foldable Surface Duo phone running Android
Microsoft had one last surprise at its Surface event: a foldable Surface Duo phone that runs Android.Read Article >
The design of the device resembles Microsoft’s just-announced dual-screen Surface Neo laptop, but on a smaller, pocketable scale. The Surface Duo features two 5.6-inch displays that can rotate 360 degrees, allowing it to be fully unfolded as a miniature 8.3-inch tablet.
Windows 10X is Microsoft’s latest stab at a ‘Lite’ operating system, exclusively for dual-screens
Windows is a big, bloated operating system by the modern standards of tablet and phone users. This is known. But every time Microsoft has tried to strip it down to something simple, users have (rightly?) revolted. Now, the company is officially trying again with the just-announced Windows 10X, and it looks like it may have learned from its mistakes.Read Article >
The most important thing you need to know about Windows 10X is that it may actually run traditional Windows “legacy” desktop software, not just apps from the Windows Store or the apps you could run on the web. Right out of the gate, Microsoft’s seemingly dodging the huge limitation that made Windows RT and Windows 10 S such a confusing mess because it’ll seemingly be compatible with the apps you’ve been using for decades.
Oct 2, 2019
Windows 10X has a new Start Menu and no more Live Tiles
Microsoft is making some big Start Menu changes to Windows 10X. The software maker just unveiled Windows 10X, a new variant of Windows 10 that’s designed to run on dual-screen and foldable devices that are coming in the future, including the Surface Neo. There have been a number of tweaks to the operating system to make it more touch-friendly, but the Start Menu is perhaps the most obvious.Read Article >
Microsoft is scrapping its Live Tiles, the animated and flipping icons from the Windows Phone days, in favor of a more simplified look. The Windows 10X Start Menu includes apps you can pin in place, and a list of recent documents. It looks like more of a task launcher than what exists in Windows 10 today.
Microsoft announces dual-screen Surface Neo, coming next holiday
More than 10 years after reports that Microsoft was working on a dual-screen device, the company has made it official. At its fall hardware keynote, the company unveiled the Surface Neo. It runs a new version of Windows called Windows 10X, but it won’t be available until “next holiday.” It’s real and it’s happening — unlike the 2008 Courier concept.Read Article >
It’s definitely still just a prototype of some sort. Onstage, Panos Panay led the unveiling by saying “How do we show you our products before they’re finished?” (He also said he is “super pumped.”) He called it “a new product that I believe is the next category.”
Oct 2, 2019
Adobe is bringing Creative Cloud to the ARM-powered Surface Pro X, starting with Fresco
Adobe’s Fresco sketching app will be available on the ARM-powered Microsoft Surface Pro X, the company announced at its Surface hardware event today. Announcing the arrival of Adobe’s app on the ARM-powered Surface Pro X, Adobe’s Scott Belsky said that creativity “must not be constrained to the desktop,” and added that the company is “working hard to bring other key parts of Creative Cloud to the Surface Pro X as soon as possible.”Read Article >
As part of the announcement we were treated to a demonstration of Adobe Fresco onstage. Fresco is Adobe’s painting and drawing app which was recently released for the iPad. We saw how the Surface Pro X’s new Surface Slim Pen can be used to sketch on the 2-in-1 device, including using oil brushes which blend and smear like real oils. The pen can be flipped around as you would do with a pencil to quickly erase any mistakes, or tilted on its side to achieve a different brush effect.
Oct 2, 2019
Microsoft’s new Surface Slim Pen now has a rechargeable battery
Microsoft unveiled a new Surface Slim Pen at its annual hardware event today, which slots into the top of the Surface Pro X Type Cover keyboard. The pen charges wirelessly when docked, replacing the AAAA batteries of the older models. Taking the pen out will automatically pop up a context menu that lets you start drawing right away on apps like Whiteboard. The Slim Pen will be sold separately for $144.99, which is higher than the $99.99 price for the previous Surface Pen model.Read Article >
Microsoft also previewed some new features to inking on the Office suite in Windows 10, adding the ability to make inline edits in Word. The Surface Pen can be used to delete and add text by crossing out lines within documents. You can also use inking to add comments in Office documents, and ink within Excel cells to input data, writing over them to update numbers. Data entry inking in Excel for web and desktop will be available spring 2020 for Office 365 subscribers. Other updates to Office include Ink Replay in Powerpoint, which is rolling out now.
Microsoft announces Surface Pro X
Microsoft has announced the Surface Pro X, a new ARM-based Surface laptop.Read Article >
The Surface Pro X is the first ARM-based Surface from Microsoft since the Surface 2 launched back in 2013. It’s a very different sort of device, however, as indicated by the branding. Microsoft views this as a full-fledged Surface Pro-class machine, not a cheaper entry-level model like the original Surface RT and Surface 2 were.
The new Surface Earbuds are Microsoft’s first truly wireless earbuds
Microsoft is introducing a new pair of wireless earbuds to join the company’s noise-canceling headphones. The Surface Earbuds were announced at today’s event in New York City. They’ll be available “later this year” for $249. The Surface Earbuds are tuned for both music and voice performance — Microsoft is pitching them as a must-have Office accessory with dictation and excellent call quality. Each earbud has two microphones built in, which aid in noise reduction when you’re speaking into them.Read Article >
Microsoft claims the Surface Earbuds have “all-day comfort” — they make contact with your ear in two places — and, with the included carrying case, offer up to 24 hours of battery life. You get eight hours of continuous playback on a charge, and the case contains enough for two full refills. As with many other wireless earbuds, they use tap and swipe gestures to control your music or other audio.
Microsoft announces Surface Pro 7 with long-awaited USB-C port
Microsoft has just announced the new Surface Pro 7, and with it comes a long-awaited move to USB-C for the company’s 2-in-1 PC. Otherwise, it retains the same familiar design as before. The internals have been upgraded with Intel’s latest-generation processors, but the Surface Pro still has a 12.3-inch display — and the Surface Type Keyboard and Surface Pen continue to be essential accessories.Read Article >
The Surface Pro 7 will launch on October 22nd starting at $749. It still comes in either black or silver, but Microsoft is adding new colors of the Surface Type Color.
Microsoft announces Surface Laptop 3 with a new 15-inch model and USB-C
By balancing price, performance, portability, and design, the 13.5-inch Microsoft Surface Laptop became one of the best notebooks of 2017, and the company barely bothered to tweak that formula for 2018’s Surface Laptop 2. But with the just-announced Surface Laptop 3, Microsoft is actually changing the laptop’s design in a few key ways — including the long-awaited USB-C port so you can finally plug in loads of peripherals, docking stations, and chargers instead of relying on Microsoft’s proprietary connector.Read Article >
Here are some other highlights from Microsoft’s event today:
Live from Microsoft’s Surface hardware event
Microsoft is back with its annual Surface event to showcase the latest hardware the company has ready for the holiday season. Last year, Microsoft revealed new black finishes for its Surface Pro 6 and Surface Laptop 2 alongside an updated Surface Studio 2 and new Surface Headphones.Read Article >
This year, we’re expecting to see a new Surface Pro 7, an AMD-powered Surface Laptop 3 that may come in a new 15-inch model, and an ARM-powered Surface Pro that will have all-day battery life. We may even see a new Surface-branded speaker designed for Microsoft Teams.