October 27, 2016
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Microsoft unveils Surface Studio and more in latest announcement

Microsoft recently unveiled a slew of new tech during their Surface 2016 event in New York on Wednesday. Over the course of two hours, Microsoft showed off to the public their intention of supporting artists and content creators through their products, like their newest laptop, the Surface Book i7, a range of VR headsets and new ways to create content for them, and the Surface Studio, an enormous digital drafting desk that also doubles as a top end multi-functional computer.

These are only a few of Microsoft’s new products made with creative professionals in mind.  With the UAE becoming more and more of an international technological hub and home of countless digital agencies and big names in the digital industry, these new offerings from Microsoft are bound to become popular in this region.

Microsoft also had some updates announced, including a major Windows 10 upgrade called the “Creators Update”. Let’s take a look at all the new tech we can’t wait to put our hands on.

Surface is the Future

Let’s start with highlight of the event, a trio of devices under the Surface line, the Surface Studio, the Surface Dial, and Surface Book i7.

The Surface Studio is the crowning glory of the Surface line unveiled in the event so far. It’s an all-in-one 12.55mm thick touchscreen desktop computer and Microsoft’s first and very own desktop. It’s a powerful workstation designed to enhance creative professionals’ productivity, with a 28-inch PixelSense display, GeForce 980M, Intel i7 processor, up to 32 GB of memory, and 2TB storage.

The desktop has what’s dubbed as a “zero-gravity hinge,” allowing the user to tilt the screen down at a sharp angle, transforming the traditional desktop setup into a digital drafting board for drawing and other creative work. Preorders start now for a lofty $2,999 (or 11,015 AED in today’s exchange rate). Expect limited quantities as it’s almost the holiday season and they’re sure to run off the shelves before the year is out.

Check out the full specs here:

Display

28-inch 4500 x 3000 PixelSense LCD (192 PPI), 3:2 aspect ratio, Adobe sRGB and DCI-P color settings, 10-point multitouch

Processor

sixth-generation Intel Core i5 or Core i7

Storage

1TB or 2TB hybrid drive

Memory

8GB, 16GB, or 32GB of RAM

Graphics

GeForce GTX 965M 2GB (in Core i5 Studio) or GTX 980M 4GB (in Core i7 Studio)

I/O

4 USB 3.0 (one high power), 3.5mm headphone jack, SD card slot, Ethernet, Mini DisplayPort

Wireless

802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0

Cameras

5MP front camera with Windows Hello support, 1080p video rear camera

Sound

Stereo 2.1 Dolby audio

The Surface Dial is a crazy new input device from Microsoft providing haptic feedback which you can put on any of the Surface computers’ screen for contextual software control. You twist the dial to select from an on-screen menu which changes depending on the application you’re using. If you’re using a photo editing software, it could be a color picker, which gives you a more visceral and “hands-on” experience in creating. You can see the Dial in action in the video below.

It will be released in November for $99.99 (367 AED) but if you preorder a Surface Studio, it comes with it for free.

Microsoft’s Surface Book i7 isn’t exactly a new device but is an upgraded version of last year’s model. The upgrade includes Intel i7 processor and a larger, heftier battery which they claim can have as much as 16 hours of battery life on a full charge, apart from the upgraded graphics power and an extra fan to take care of the excess heat generated from these upgrades. It will be available in November as well for $2399 (8811 AED)

Creators Update

The Creators Update for Windows 10 brings with it a range of 3D-focused features.  Among the most important features of the update are a slew of new 3D creation tools, live streaming and custom tournaments for the Xbox app.

Included in the announcement is the relaunching and revamping of the classic Paint app. Gone are the limitations of the app for childish illustrations, since the new app will focus on 3d, letting users turn photos into 3D “memories”, export 3D Minecraft creations, doodle in 3D, and turn any visual object into an interactive object. They really weren’t kidding when they said they wanted Paint to focus on 3D.

Microsoft is confident that with this revamp of the Paint app, people will opt to view their work on the HoloLens or any VR and AR headsets. And people can share them on Facebook!

Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group Executive Vice President, declared that with the Creators Update, they also want to focus on communicating with close friends and family by “putting people at the center of the Windows experience.” The Creators Update will include a feature that lets you communicate with those close to you directly in the task bar. You can drag and drop content into it which you can then send to someone. It’s a very Google-y, Facebook-y feature, which also lets you “tap” your contacts and send them 3D objects (straight from your Paint app even) just to let them know you’re there.

Speaking of VR, Microsoft also announced that they’re wading into the waters of virtual reality with the creation of VR headsets for Windows 10. The VR headsets will retail for $299 (1098 AED) and run the Windows Holographic platform present in the HoloLens. There’s no release date yet but Microsoft assures those present that other companies like Acer, Dell, Lenovo, HP, and Asus are coming up with their own headsets as well. Looks like 2017 is the year where tech companies will race for the best VR systems.

The Creators Update will now integrate live broadcasting into the Xbox app as well. The Xbox live streaming will work with Xbox Live which lets you connect with your Xbox Live friends. Microsoft seems to be giving gamers more power with this update by updating its Arena platform and letting players create their own challenges and custom tournaments. They’re also letting games integrate comments and suggestion from viewers (via Xbox Live) into the game. As a bonus, they’re adding Dolby Atmos audio support to the Xbox.

Summing up

Ladies and gentlemen, it looks like we’re at the cusp of a new era in great technologies from the looks of this announcement. It’s also great that Microsoft puts content creators front and center with their new tech, encouraging everyone to be a creator, too. What are you excited for with Microsoft’s latest announcement? Let us know in the comments.