Microsoft has wrapped up its 2022 Surface event, where it showed off its new Surface Laptop 5, Surface Pro 9, and Surface Studio 2 Plus. The company also showed off new accessories and software, including a Designer app powered by Dall-E 2.
In case you didn’t catch today’s live event, you can read about the headline announcements here. We’ve also gotten hands-on looks at all three devices, which you can check out on our site.
The Surface Laptop 5 will hit shelves on October 25th for as low as $999. Its predecessor, the Surface Laptop 4, also started at that price. The Laptop 4 was an excellent product, but a big part of that was the AMD chip inside, which was specifically engineered for the Surface line. The AMD model we received for review beat Intel’s top chips on many of our performance benchmarks. It also delivered some of the best battery life we saw from a laptop that year.
For the Laptop 5, in a consequently disappointing turn of events, Microsoft has eliminated the AMD option. Where shoppers could choose between AMD and Intel models of the Laptop 4, the Laptop 5 is Intel only, with Core i5 and Core i7 options.
There are two other noteworthy changes to the Surface Laptop 5. There is now a green color option (available on “selected models only,” Microsoft says). The device is also finally getting Thunderbolt 4 support, which is something you generally want to see on Intel models at the $1,000 price point.
Otherwise, the Laptop 5 largely has the same look and design as the Laptop 4. It will come in 13.5-inch and 15-inch options (both with a 3:2 screen) and supports Dolby Atmos 3D spatial processing.
Like the more traditional Surface Laptop 5, the detachable, kickstand-clad Surface Pro 9 will hit shelves on October 25th. Intel models will start at $999, while Arm models begin at $1,299.
Previously, the main way to customize the Surface Pro line was the keyboard cover. That traditionally comes in a bunch of different colors, but the tablet itself has remained the same boring gray. This year, however, the aluminum itself now has multiple color options, allowing you to really commit to your chosen hue.
There are platinum, sapphire, graphite, and forest options available. Microsoft has also partnered with the design studio Liberty to create an SKU with a limited-edition floral design in honor of the Surface line’s 10th anniversary.
The other big news is that the Surface Pro 9 will come with an Arm option as well as an Intel option. Arm models will be powered by Qualcomm and Microsoft’s SQ3 chip. The SQ3 will have a few exclusive additional features, including 5G support and a new neural processing unit. The latter will enable, among other AI tasks, features like video backgrounds and portrait blur to be handled externally by the Pro’s CPU and GPU. Microsoft claims this unit is capable of more than 15 trillion calculations per second.
Like the Pro 8, the Pro 9 has a 13-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate and stylus support.
Microsoft has refreshed its Surface Studio 2. (Remember? It’s that 28-inch PC from 2018.) It looks almost exactly the same, except that the company has stuck three new Thunderbolt 4 ports to the back. Sure, I’ll take it.
The chips on the inside have also been modernized. The 2 Plus is powered by Intel’s 11th Gen Core H-series processors and Nvidia’s RTX 3060 GPUs. Microsoft says the chips will lead to “up to 50 percent faster” performance.
If this device sounds up your alley, you’d better start saving up — it starts at $4,299.99.
Microsoft didn’t only have eyes for Android and its apps during the Surface event — it also announced some new and refreshed Apple integrations. An Apple Music app is now available for the first time on the Xbox platform, and next year, dedicated apps for Apple TV Plus and Apple Music will be available on Windows, with preview versions rolling out soon.
Windows is also getting easier to use for iPhone owners, with new iCloud Photos integration for the standard Photos app that keeps your pictures synced up. All Windows users need to do is install Apple’s latest iCloud Windows app to get this integration.
The Adaptive Accessories were first announced in May and are designed to address common issues that can prevent people from getting the most out of their PC, especially if they have difficulty using a traditional mouse and keyboard. Now Microsoft says they will be available for purchase on October 25th but didn’t provide us details on pricing.
Microsoft Designer is a new graphic design app being added to the Microsoft 365 suite. It’s powered by OpenAI’s Dall-E 2, a text-to-image generation program.
Verge reporter Adi Robertson has previously described Dall-E 2 as “an image search tool for pictures that don’t exist.” As demonstrated in the GIF above, an artist can describe an image or graphic they want to use, and the AI can create the image. You can also have Dall-E 2 blend two images or choose select parts of one for Dall-E 2 to edit.
Those who are interested in trying out Microsoft Designer can sign up for free web preview access now. Once it’s ready to roll out, Designer will be available in a free version, with additional premium features limited to Microsoft 365 subscribers.
Designer will also be integrated into Microsoft Edge, where it will deliver “AI-powered design suggestions to visually enhance social media posts,” according to Microsoft.
Despite being less stylish than the Surface Studio 2 Plus, many people may appreciate some new hardware built to work for offices using Microsoft Teams in a hybrid workplace. The pill-shaped Audio Dock is an all-in-one speakerphone solution with a 60W passthrough PC charger and four different ports (HDMI, USB-A, and two USB-C) to go with the dual front-facing microphones, Teams button, and mute button. The other item is a new Presenter Plus handheld remote control that integrates with Teams to make giving presentations more familiar, whether you’re streaming them or in person. There’s no pricing or release date available for either one.