Microsoft has ushered in a ‘new era’ of computing with the launch of new devices in the Surface line of touchscreens.
The Redmond, Washington-based tech giant has unveiled the £1,099 Surface Pro 9, a 2-in-1 detachable with the ‘power of a laptop and the flexibility of a tablet’.
It has also unveiled the £999 Surface Laptop 5, a ‘powerhouse laptop’ with an all-day battery, and the £4,699 Surface Studio 2+, an update to its all-in-one PC.
All three devices run Windows 11 and are compatible with the Surface Slim Pen 2, the company’s stylus for drawing and annotating.
Microsoft has said the new devices bring Windows “to the next computer age,” but one analyst claims the products will only feature “incremental” updates.
Microsoft has introduced the Surface Pro 9 (left), Surface Laptop 5 (right) and Surface Studio 2+ (center)
The Surface Pro 9 (pictured) is a two-in-one device with the power of a laptop but the flexibility of a tablet
NEW MICROSOFT PRODUCTS
– Surface Pro 9 (£1,099)
– Surface Laptop 5 (£999)
– Area 2+ (£4,699)
– Microsoft Designer
– Image maker
Panos Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer, has announced the new products — which also include two apps powered by AI — in a long run. blog post.
“Today we shared our vision for the next era of the Windows PC,” said Panay, often considered the “father” of the Surface brand.
‘The next computer wave is here. We continue to look forward to what you will achieve with these great products.”
SURFACE PRO 9
Surface Pro 9 is the latest Surface Pro, the tech company’s family of flagship 2-in-1 hybrid devices.
Like its predecessors, Surface Pro 9 has a tablet screen and stand that comes with a detachable keyboard, so it can be used as a tablet or laptop.
It features a 13-inch display with a high-quality aluminum housing in a new set of metallic colors.
Microsoft says it’s the most powerful Pro ever, combining “the power and flexibility of a tablet with the performance of a laptop.”
The company also praised the device’s high refresh rate: how many times per second the screen can draw a new image.
Surface Pro 9 has a refresh rate of 120 Hz, which means it refreshes an image 120 times per second.
“With incredible quality, performance and versatility, the edge-to-edge display on Surface Pro 9 is stunning,” says Panay.
Like its predecessors, Surface Pro 9 has a tablet screen and stand that comes with a detachable keyboard so can be used as a tablet or laptop
Surface Laptop 5 (pictured) is more than 50 percent more powerful than its predecessor, says Microsoft
The device works with the Surface Slim Pen 2, sold separately, allowing users to annotate on the screen “like writing with pen and paper.”
“A Surface display is more than a sheet of glass. It’s a canvas, a diary, a notepad, an editing room and a cinema screen,” says Panay.
“It’s a vibrant pixelated sheet that morphs into the combination of experiences that keep you informed, productive, entertained and connected.
It was released on November 8, with prices starting at £1,099.
SURFACE LAPTOP 5
Microsoft also announced the Surface Laptop 5, which will be released on October 25 and starts from £999, making it the cheapest of the new devices.
Surface Laptop 5 is 50 percent more powerful than its predecessor thanks to a new Intel processor.
The “super lightweight” device also comes with “all-day battery life,” although the company admits battery life varies “significantly” based on usage, network, signal strength, and other factors.
Microsoft says: ‘Surface Laptop 5 is sleek and elegant, offering all-day battery life, as our customers have come to appreciate and expect’
The computing power of the device is designed for multitasking, in other words, having multiple applications open at the same time.
“From the effortless opening and quick sign-in with Windows Hello to the touchscreen, precision touchpad, and perfect typing experience, Surface Laptop 5 offers the craftsmanship, comfort, and ability to jump in and produce your best work,” says Panay.
Finally, the Surface 2+, an updated version of the Surface Studio 2 released four years ago, will cost a whopping £4,699 and will be released on November 1.
The large screen desktop is designed to be used as an artist’s canvas and can be folded down at various angles for drawing and working on.
Microsoft said it gives creators “a large canvas to express themselves from every angle.”
In addition, Microsoft has confirmed that a new set of Adaptive Accessories will be available for purchase this fall to help people with disabilities use their PCs more easily.
The large screen desktop is designed to be used as an artist’s canvas and folds down at various angles for drawing and working on
The accessories are designed for those who have difficulty using a traditional keyboard and mouse.
Commenting on the new suite of devices, industry expert Ben Wood, principal analyst at CCS Insight, said: “Compared to previous years, this is a relatively incremental update to Microsoft’s Surface product line.
This appears to reflect a broader trend in 2023, with technology companies adopting existing products and making minor improvements to keep the product line fresh.
“There’s nothing wrong with that, but it reflects the slowing innovation curve when it comes to PCs, smartphones and other consumer electronics.”
TWO NEW APPS
At the event to unveil the new devices, the US company also announced two new apps powered by artificial intelligence (AI).
Microsoft Designer uses a variety of AI — including a text-to-image system called DALL-E — to generate designs and images a user needs for the content they want to create.
“This is a great example of the power of cloud-based AI and what it means expressed in an application,” he said.
Designer helps you create your own content or ideas and makes it easy to quickly design social media posts, invitations and more.
It also automatically helps you get a variety of unique images and designs generated just for you. I am so excited about this app, it will be a game changer for me personally.’
Meanwhile, a new Image Creator app, which allows users to generate their own images by entering a description into an AI-powered app, will be integrated into Microsoft’s Bing search engine and Edge web browser.
TEXT-TO-IMAGE AI ‘DALL-E’ CAN NOW SEE WHAT’S OUTSIDE THE FRAMEWORK OF FAMOUS PAINTINGS
OpenAI, a San Francisco-based company, has created a new tool called “Outpainting” for its text-to-image AI system, DALL-E.
Outpainting allows the system to imagine what is outside the frame of famous paintings such as Girl with The Pearl Earring, Mona Lisa and Dogs Playing Poker.
As users have shown, this can be done with any kind of image, such as the man on the Quaker Oats logo and the cover of the Beatles album ‘Abbey Road’.
DALL-E relies on artificial neural networks (ANNs), which: simulate the way the brain works to learn and create an image from text.
DALL-E already allows changes within a generated or uploaded image – a capability known as Inpainting.
It is able to automatically fill in details, such as shadows, when an object is added, or even adjust the background if an object is moved or removed.
DALL-E can also create a completely new image from a text description, such as ‘an armchair in the shape of an avocado’ or ‘a cross section of a walnut’.
Another classic example of DALL-E’s work is “teddy bears working on new underwater AI research using 1990s technology.”