Microsoft’s Windows 10 and Surface event today started off pretty low-key, despite the fact the company was obviously excited about what it was showing off. There’s a new update to Microsoft Paint, which puts a bigger focus on 3D content, for starters. And the company is actually embracing virtual reality (VR), too, along with its efforts with HoloLens and augmented reality (AR) – basically showing companies like Apple that, yes, doing AR and VR is certainly an option.
It took some time, but Microsoft eventually got around to announcing new products. They showed off a slightly, albeit noticeably, upgraded Surface Book, which included more battery life (up to 16 hours!), and a few other key changes that warrant a second look for folks who don’t mind forking over quite a bit of cash for a high-end portable computer.
And then there’s the Surface Studio. Something that, while rumored, ended up surpassing a lot of expectations.
The Surface Studio is an expensive all-in-one desktop PC, but not so expensive that it immediately seems ridiculous. Especially not compared to the competition. And certainly not with the hardware it brings to the table. The Surface Studio immediately caught my eye, and I only got more intrigued as the presentation went on.
That display is going to be gorgeous, and the specs are impressive in all the right ways. But it wasn’t until Microsoft showed off the hinges, and the fact the Surface Studio can lay almost completely flat, that I realized the company was on to something here.
Then you throw in the Surface Dial, which allows for more input options in a more fluid, and intuitive way, like quickly choosing a color for a brush, or flipping through document pages, and it all comes together in a ridiculously beautiful and powerful package.
Microsoft showed that its focus, while not entirely on mobile right now, is still in the right space. This is a desktop option that will be attractive to a variety of different creatives, and in such a way that the immediate comparisons to Apple are obvious, and expected.
There is a lot to like with the new products, and the new software additions in Windows 10, that Microsoft unveiled today – and there are more events to come. Microsoft went from a company that felt like it was just wading in the water, to one that’s genuinely exciting to watch again. (Even if the event itself was pretty muted for the majority of it.)
Microsoft has bounced back in a big way, and, just maybe, this is momentum that the company can carry into 2017 and bring to the mobile space, too. Who knows what that might look like, but if these huge steps in the right direction are any indicator, it certainly has the potential to be exciting.