Microsoft to announce a successor to the Surface 2 very soon (details here)

microsoft-surface-2-vp-panos-panayMicrosoft has been quiet about the successor to the Surface 2 and many have speculated that the software giant will most likely focus on the successful Surface Pro series in the meantime. However, a report by WinBeta claims that Microsoft has plans to release a Surface device aimed at a lower price point but one that is much more than a successor to the Surface 2, while not being  in the same league as the Surface Pro 3.

The reason why it would be much more than a successor to the Surface 2 which ran Windows RT, is that this time it’ll run a full-blown version of Windows 8.1, which will be upgradable to Windows 10 as it’s released to the market. It’ll be fanless but will have lower spec’d CPU than the Surface Pro 3, which will either be an Intel Atom or the Intel Core M (the latter is used in the new MacBook revealed at Apple’s Spring Forward event and is starting to become a popular choice for ultra-portables.)

WinBeta reports that Microsoft is expected to announce this new Surface device sometime before or at their annual Build developer conference in late April and the company will not be labeling it as a Pro device.

Surface Pro 3 has been a very successful product for Microsoft, both with businesses and consumers, and has single-handily changed the perception of Microsoft as a hardware company. It’s also earned Microsoft a lot of of respect in the industry with such a feat of engineering, and we’ve seen many hardware vendors trying to duplicate the Surface Pro 3’s success.

However, the Surface Pro 3 is a very expensive device, and this limits it to a niche audience. If Microsoft comes in with a cheaper Surface device – presumably with a 10-12 inch screen, and one that runs a full-blown version of Windows 8.1, they’ll automatically open themselves up to a much wider audience. This new lower spec’d Surface can be a hit amongst students and people not willing to drop $1,000 on a laptop, while retaining the iconic design and build quality associated with the Surface line of devices.

This will be a tremendous year for Microsoft in both the hardware and software space, with Windows 10, a slew of Windows Phones, new Surface models (both Pro and non-pro), the new Surface Hub and HoloLens, this makes it the biggest product year in the history of the company.

Source: WinBeta

Leak/Rumor: Microsoft to launch Surface 3 and Surface Mini by December

surface_night_shotMicrosoft’s line of productivity tablet-laptop hybrids is about to get an update later this year, according to a recent tweet by TK News who are generally considered a credible source for leaks.

According to TK’s sources, Microsoft will launch Surface 3 and Surface Mini before the holiday season. Surface 3 will be the more affordable counterpart to the somewhat pricy Surface Pro 3 released this May. We expect this device to be thinner, lighter and more powerful than its predecessor Surface 2. The new tablet is also expected to come with the Surface Pen and the multi stage kickstand.

The company is also set to release a “limited supply” of Surface Mini devices – likely to clear stock that was initially built up for the May release alongside Surface Pro 3, but this plan was scrapped last minute by Satya Nadella and Stephen Elop who, according to many reports, did not feel confident launching the Mini at that time. Surface Mini is expected to be 8 inches and also come with the Surface Pen as it was dubbed the “note-taking device” earlier this year when it was first rumored online.

This is certainly exciting news for the Surface as the new Pro 3 has gained a lot of traction in the market and adding these new options for consumers will help Microsoft take some of the market share in this segment of devices.

Source: TK News

This Is Rumor Control…

Rumors, secrets, whispers, dreams, what would the day be without them? Today there have been a lot of interesting Rumors swirling about in the Windows Phone ether, so we thought we’d set a few of them straight.

"This is Rumor Control"
“This is Rumor Control”

GRD1 Change Log Revealed – with Lots of Goodies!

To start with, there was a great swell of excitement when a Reddit post claimed to reveal the complete Change Log for the first update to Windows Phone 8.1. It was stuffed full of goodies, like interactive Tiles.

Sadly, it was all a fake. The first update for Windows Phone 8.1 aka GDR1, is focused primarily on bug and performance fixes.  The second update to WP 8.1 will have some new features, although which of them is not known for certain.

The Surface “Mini” Has Entered Production!

Mobile tech leaker,  ‘evleaks’ has a mixed track record, with many of their leaks panning out, but more than a few swings and misses. Today evleaks announced that the Surface ‘mini’ has entered production.  This would seem odd, given that Microsoft just held its big reveal for the Surface 3 which would have been a logical time to tell people about an upcoming release for the Mini.  So what’s happening?

Well Mary Jo Foley, who has a stellar track record for knowing what Microsoft is up to, has made it clear that her sources are adamant that evleaks is wrong on this one.  She says that given the small screen size, the current not-so-touch-friendly versions of Office would be all but unusable.  As a result, the Mini, which was intended to be launched this year, has been put on hold until the necessary touch-optimized version of Office is release, which isn’t expected until 2015. As my Son says: “Sad Face”.

T-Mobile to get Exclusive New Phablet, the 1525!

In the US, T-Mobile does its best, really. They have a decent Windows Phone line, certainly Verizon could learn a thing or two from them, but according to a rumor circulating, they secured a most coveted exclusive – the follow up to the Lumina 1520 Windows Phone ‘Phablet’!

Supposedly sporting the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SOC (System On a Chip), up to 64Gb of internal memory and a microSD slot, this would be an amazing device, with speed, graphics capability and display second to none.

Unfortunately, it seems that it will not be available as an exclusive on T-Mobile. “Sad Face” for all the TMob.  But wait, it ain’t over ’till its over!  According to the ever-interesting ‘evleaks’, It turns out that the phone is real, and it is expected in 2014, and is planned to compete with the Galaxy Note 3, and it will not be available only on T-Mobile in the US, but rather is expected to be offered by all the three major US Carriers, and to be available Internationally as well.

"Well this is one for you after all"
“Well this is one for you after all”

You didn’t think it would all be “Sad Face” news did you?

 

 

Microsoft pulls the plug on Surface Mini?

surface-mini-concept-650x350
Surface Mini was a much anticipated 8-inch tablet meant to be more affordable and built for media consumption and note-taking. Microsoft reportedly had the device ready for mass production and it was set to be announced on May 20th in New York City at Microsoft’s Surface event. Instead, we were pleasantly surprised with the announcement of the Surface Pro 3 – and only the Surface Pro 3. Surface Mini was not mentioned, which prompted many to wonder what had happened to the rumored small tablet that Microsoft was poised to release.

Soon after the event, a report emerged stating that Microsoft’s senior executives (Satya Nadella and Stephen Elop) decided last-minute to temporarily halt the production efforts for Surface Mini due to the highly competitive market, and their unwillingness to compete in an environment that they know for sure they cannot win at the time. With the development costs already absorbed and the device practically ready to be mass produced and shipped, many speculated that Microsoft will wait a bit and release Surface Mini at some point in the future. Even a recently published official Surface Pro 3 User Guide had mentioned “Surface Mini” multiple times in the document, giving many hope that the company will release the small tablet in the very near future.

However, that may not even be the case as Microsoft is perhaps now looking to permanently pull the plug on the Surface Mini. According to a recent report on digitimes,

“Microsoft has finished developing the Surface Mini and also completed the product tests; however, mass production did not start as scheduled in May, the sources said, adding Microsoft still paid the costs for the module development and production equipment, the sources said.”

The report also adds that Microsoft’s strategy with the Surface Mini may have been flawed all along and its specs wouldn’t give it an edge over its competitors.

“Compared to other small-size tablets in the market, the Surface Mini’s specifications have nothing in particular to boost its competitiveness and therefore Microsoft has decided to postpone the tablet’s launch and may not even launch it to the market at all, the sources said.”

Source: digitimes, Image: Nokia Revolution

Oops! Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 User Guide accidentally confirms Surface Mini exists

surface_mini1
We have known for months that a smaller Surface device was in the works, ready to go and Microsoft came very close to releasing it in May at the Surface NYC event. However, top Microsoft execs including Satya Nadella and Stephen Elop decided last minute to pull the plug on the device and launch only the Surface Pro 3.  According to many reports, Microsoft has already manufactured a large quantity of these devices, but the company felt the time was not right to release this device to market. Some insiders have speculated that Microsoft will launch the smaller tablet at some point in the near future.

Today, Paul Thurrott and Neowin pointed out at an obvious blunder by Microsoft that officially confirms the existence of the smaller tablet and it is, as speculated, called “Surface Mini”. With today’s release of the Surface Pro 3, naturally the “Surface Pro 3 User Guide, With Windows 8.1 Pro” (PDF LINK) was released and in four instances, “Surface Mini” was mentioned alongside Surface Pro 3, particularly in regards to the Pen – leading us to believe Surface Mini uses the same pen as the Surface Pro 3.

We expect Microsoft will revise the User Guide and correct the mistake but we’re also curious what the future holds for Surface Mini. Stay tuned as we keep you informed on the latest developments.

All Responses with Original Questions from Today's Reddit AMA with Panos Panay & the Surface Team

@Panos_Panay Tweets... "I'm over at Reddit hosting an AMA right now. Come join!"
@Panos_Panay Tweets… “I’m over at Reddit hosting an AMA right now. Come join!”

Panos Panay, Microsoft’s Corporate VP today held a very interactive Reddit AMA session along with the Surface team. Panos Panay is known for his moving and convincing presentations on Microsoft’s  Surface devices. He is arguably the best presenter in tech, and his first ever presentation on the Surface RT was very memorable and stood out to many. We’re glad he’s still presenting these unique devices, and were also happy that he chose to answer many of the questions Surface fans needed answers to.  Panos started the session off with this intro:

Hi All. This is Panos. I am super pumped to be here in AMA again. Looking forward to answering as much as we can as quick as we can. So you know we have Ralf, Pete, Brett, Stevie, Brian all here with me. It has been fun to see the reception on Surface Pro 3 to date… lets get started

How is it possible to call the Surface Pro 3 a laptop killer when the device does not come with a keyboard? The keyboard is an “optional” accessory that is marketed as vital to the Surface experience (to which I agree), but it makes no sense to charge so much extra for it.

When we first launched Surface, we sold it only in a bundle format. the top feedback we got was that people loved the color covers and wanted full choice (but stores wouldn’t sell all color bundles) and some people definitely wanted to buy without cover.

What considerations have stopped mobile SIM card/3G/LTE support being directly included in any of the Surface Pro series?

It’s not in the roadmap right now, but we hear the ask. we have USB so lots of people are using those and “mifi” tethering solutions. Battery certainly has been a consideration to date…

What would make the surface pro 3 perfect for every utilizations would be an external GPU to put on the desktop. With that i could replace my laptop, my tablet and my desktop by a single device, the surface pro 3. Have you ever considered it ?

Love the suggestion! Keep them coming please. 🙂

I would really like to see some improvements in the graphics. Since the SP1, I don’t believe the graphics have changed any. If I want to really replace a laptop, I’d like to be able to replace it for work and play. Are there future plans on changing the graphics controller, giving that you have more space in the new larger layout?

Hi, the i7 has Intel HD graphics 5000, the i5 has Intel HD Graphics 4400, and the i3 has Intel HD Graphics 4200

Where is the thunderbolt link? you could have external gpu’s and make it a desktop replacement, i thought the “ultrabook” standard included thunderbolt.

When you buy your Surface Pro3, do me a favor, and take a close look at the “power connector”

I have an original Surface Pro, and my number one complaint with it is that when the battery stops holding a charge in two years, my only option is to have the entire device replaced by Microsoft for $450.

In two years, there’s a good chance the device won’t even be worth that much anymore, which turns the Surface Pro into essentially a disposable computer. This was almost a deal breaker for me buying my Surface Pro, and the only reason I still bought one was because I got a good enough deal on it that I’ve come to terms with the fact that when the battery wears out, I’ll need to buy a new computer.

Is this still the case with the Surface Pro 3?

The batteries on our Surface products are designed with some of the highest charge cycles for consumer electronic devices. This means that the battery can get charged daily (5 days a week) for over 4.5 years and still maintain 80% capacity.

But CAN the battery be replaced if necessary?

Our summary response is deep enough in the comments that it’s not visible – reposting it here.

We’ve built a great battery into the product (details above).

IF the battery fails during the warranty period, we’ll replace the battery.

IF the battery fails after the warranty period, you’ll call Microsoft support and arrange for the battery to be replaced. The cost will be $200 USD.

The battery can be replaced, but not by the user. The process would be to contact support and send the device in to have it replaced.

The response above that “the battery can get charged daily (5 days a week) for over 4.5 years and still maintain 80% capacity.” reflects the testing we’ve done on the battery. If the battery life becomes an issue you should contact Microsoft support.

Reviews have been relatively consistent that while the new type cover for the SP3 is an improvement in almost every way compared to the original, it still doesn’t compared to refined options like what you find on a MBA in terms of “lapability”, keyboard feel and trackpad performance.

Does the Surface team have any plans to release a “cover” that would provide performance and ease of use in-line with traditional clamshell designs, with a base that effectively secures the screen?

The double-fold hinge with magnetic stability on the Surface Pro 3 Type Cover, coupled with the multi-position kickstand make for a great ‘lapable’ solution. Go and try it our for yourself. 🙂

Many of the reporters from your launch have questioned the “lapability” due to the physical length of thigh needed to support the keyboard and out to the kickstand in back; many of them report not being able to fit the system without the kickstand falling over your knee cap or the keyboard being too close to type. Have you considered ways to improve this? I think one even joked about putting their Air under the Surface to support it.

We looked at many different options to address ‘lapability’, both how much space on the lap and more stability. The ‘fold’ addressed both of these pieces. When you try it, try it both with fold down and fold up striking improvement.

Another element we included was to change the substrate on the keyboard to a honeycomb structure. This let us take weight out, make thinner, and increase stability.

What happened to the Blades concept? Will we see any unique covers or 3rd parties making covers?

The ability to click in is something that was part of Surface from the very beginning. With the new Type Cover for Surface Pro 3, we take productivity to the next level with the double fold hinge adding magnetic stability and a much larger track pad for even more accurate ‘mousing’. As for any additional covers, you’ll just have to wait and see. 🙂

As a corollary, will you be updating the Music Cover for the larger Surface Pro 3 format or is the spine still compatible with the existing line of Touch and TypeCovers (and PowerCover)?

All Type and Touch Covers are compatible with Surface Pro 3, including the Power Cover. 🙂

Have you done anything to improve the keyboard plastic so that it does not tear off? I had to return two of my touch keyboards 🙁

We have done a ton of research and design work in the new Type Covers. All materials have improved. We have a team that focusses on materials design exclusively. The whole construction of the Type Cover is redesigned to be more robust and more productive

I’m a 3D artist and proud owner of the first Surface Pro. I believe that many artists out there have been and will be interested to any new evolution of Surface products. You addressed many problems related to using the tablet from an artistic point of view, but many of them still remain imo.

1) I was surprised that you don’t use Wacom Technology anymore. Maybe there was some problem as the Surface could be seen as a direct competitor of the Wacom Companion. But the new pen, while more accurate, lacks of levels of pressure. It is only 256, and while it may be enough for digital painters working on a a small canvas, it may result in less accurate sampling. I’m actually happy that you ditched Wacom technology, as they currently have the monopoly, which usually isn’t a good thing… but from a user point of view, it may be a risk to jump on the first iteration with a new technology. Do you think the pen will be updated with more levels of pressure during SP3’s lifecycle?

1a) This pen probably will not work with applications that use WinTab drivers only… Will this problem be solved? Currently I can’t think how it will be possible for me to use softwares like zbrush or mudbox without pen pressure.

2) One of my bigger concerns with the first Pro was that the screen wasn’t that big, and that many applications weren’t scaling the text properly when using different DPI settings. Is it possible to solve it in some way? Furthermore, can you add an option in windows 8.1, to setup different DPI settings per application?

3) The bigger resolution will probably impact performances. I don’t understand this big run to the “retina” resolution. Is it really that important? I would have preferred the classic HD resolution coming from the previous pro.

4) Is it true that the windows logo, being on the right oprtion of the screen, represents a problem for right-handed artists, as it is often pressed by mistake?

5) I would like to see a customizable on-screen keyboard (like ArtDock), where I can put the keys I use the most in my applications. This would be useful when using Photoshop for example… where I can setup a mini-touch-keyboard with ctrl+alt+shift+space buttons only. The problem I have with existing solutions (artdock again), is that palm rejection disables it, and I am forced to remove the hand holding the pen from the screen, while using this on-screen buttons.

Thank you!

Hi.. this is StevieB. I anticipated the pen digitizer question.. so I have been thinking about how to talk about it over the weekend. I hope you and other folks find it useful. I will try to answer the rest of your questions preceding. Below is about your Wacom and Pressure question.

There are 3 main types of pen digitizer technologies: Electromagnetic, passive capacitive (those conductive rubber tipped pens that trick the digitizer into looking like a finger), and active capacitive.

Electromagnetic works by putting a printed circuit board across the entire device, typically situated underneath the display and its backlight. This is a completely separate system from the touch digitizer that typically goes in front of the display. The circuit board has a bunch of planar coils that emit an electromagnetic field (like one side of a transformer). The Other side of the transformer is located in the pen itself. As the pen approaches these fields and coils it couples the EM signal and adds a load. This load is picked up across multiple coils and the position of the stylus is then interpolated. These field lines can emit 15mm or so above the display, and thus the mechanism for hover. Data is transmitted from the pen to the device (pressure and button data), by modifying the frequency content of the load. To get orientation there is typically a secondary coil/circuit.. and simple trig can extrapolate the orientation of the pen.. this is important for later to remove mechanical parallax. Among the three this technique has been around the longest.

Passive stylus, works by simply acting as an extension of your finger, by being a conductor to passively couple with the electrostatic signal from the transmit and receive rows and columns of the digitizer. This technique uses the same transparent conductive lines in front of the display to do both the finger and “fake” finger/stylus.

Finally, active capacitive solutions started coming into fruition in the early 2000s. Their mode of operation is to use the same transparent conductive lines as passive stylus does above, but rather the pen tip injects an electrostatic signal which is picked up by these touch capacitive lines. Think of the pen is a mini radio and the sensing lines in front of the display the device are little antennas. The junction(s) (where the rows and columns of the transparent conducting lines cross) which receives the strongest signal is correlated to the position of the pen. To do this, the pen typically needs a battery, but the pen can emit all kinds of signals from buttons, pressure, and other. We purchased a really fantastic active capacitive pen and touch technology a couple years ago: you may remember the company that did the CNN election boards.. Perceptive Pixel. This is no doubt the most fantastic pen technology around for large non-mobile screens. Active capacitive field is defiantly showing a lot of activity by a number of different touch makers.. cause it is a natural extension of touch technology and its integration with the touch solution.

Now let’s go into what makes a great stylus from a hardware perceptive : 1) Precision is king. The more accurate and consistent the pen tip is to the actual ink of the display the more natural and more accurate you as an artist and user are able to execute. a. The Precision problem is broken down into 3 categories: i. Visual Parallax: from pen tip to ink on screen. This is where you think the pen tip is. ii. Electronic parallax: from pen tip to digitizer and where the digester thinks the pen tip actually is.
iii. Digitizer precision and linearity across the entire screen. 2) Feel and sound: should sound and feel like writing on paper. 3) Pen weight, feel, and ergonomics. 4) Consistent and accurate pressure sensitivity 5) Buttons for switching modes (erase, selection, and other commands) 6) Latency: the lag of ink behind the pen tip (highly app dependent)… good developers can keep this number to a minimum. 7) Palm detection so the computer can reject false touches. 8) Device Integration: how it fits, and the industrial design requirements.

Now that we have a bit of a background of the different popular pen digitizer options and the hardware characteristics of what makes a good pen. Let’s go into a brief pros and cons of each of these (I am gonna skip passive stylus as it is still offers an obvious compromise in experience for our current applications [for now]). But before we begin, please let me say first none of these 3 options are generally more superior than one another. It all depends on the application and even more importantly the implementation/execution of technology. The performance of any one of these technologies is highly dependent on how thoughtful, careful, the engineering put into by the device makers to integrate the digitizer system. I have seen some really poor implementations of all 3 of these solutions above by various device makers. Using the brand of technology does not guarantee performance in the least bit.

Electromagnetic Stylus: 1) Precision: This can be very good for electromagnetics but it is highly dependent on implementation. To get the corners working well, and avoid non-linearity, the digitizer sitting behind the display must extend slightly beyond the display. Also metal objects or magnetics objects near the digitizer or in front of even in the device greatly effect noise and performance. This highly constraints the device maker from having a certain boarder size, and also the types of materials they use on the device and in the pen. Because magnetic fields shift with the environment, you will see drift and offsets… The device maker must do a really good job of calibrating the device.. and if the user puts something infront of the device (say a case that has metal in it), then they must be able to do the same level of calibration. Outside of these constraints, EM pen can give very good results. 2) Visual Parallax: this just depends on thickness the cover glass is… and none of the technologies really have an advantage of disadvantage here. 3) Electronic parallax: because the EM digitizer is buried behind the display and the coils are not located the tip of the pen, the digitizer must calculate the orientation of the pen and translate position from that… this is really never perfect and will often be dependent on where you are on the display.. so it is not a single mathematical transform for all points on the display.. it can be highly complex.. most of the time, the simple route is what is taken. 4) Digitizer precision and linearity across the entire screen: best way to test this.. is take ruler and draw straight diagonal lines across the display. Note how the lines are never really straight… this is very hard to do. 5) Feel and sound: Typically today we work with various materials to change the coefficient of static and dynamic friction of the tip on glass.. but there are other techniques we are working on to make this even better no matter what pen technology is used. 6) Pen weight, feel, and ergonomics. Because it is magnetic based the pen cannot be made out of metal. EM stylus has all kinds of shapes and sizes… from really thin and uncomfortable (but can be docked) to ones that feel like a pen. The pro here is that the pen does not need batteries. 7) Consistent and accurate pressure sensitivity: generally known to do a great job. This is much more about how the pressure curve looks like than the number of bits… I will explain below. 8) Buttons for switching modes (erase, selection, and other commands): because the pen and modify the signals actively (powered by the coils).. it can communicate buttons and pressure information. 9) Latency: the lag of ink behind the pen tip (highly app dependent)… good developers can keep this number to a minimum. 10) Palm detection so the computer can reject false touches: does not really have advantage of active capacitive.. but over passive stylus it does. 11) Device Integration: how it fits, and the industrial design requirements: because the pen digitizer is a separate digitizer from the touch, this solution will add anywhere between 0.4-1mm in thickness, a few mm around the bezel of the device, and a few 10’s of grams of weight. It is a bit harder ti integrate into the device cause of the constraints around materials and mechanics.

Active Capacitive Stylus: 1) Precision: in the past I have seen some not so good implementations here, but I am so pumped to see our current results in Pro3. We really did move the mark here. The Pen is really much more precise, linear, and linear across the entire device. The first comment I hear from artists when they use the device, is how precise the pen is. 2) Visual Parallax: this just depends on thickness the cover glass is… and none of the technologies really have an advantage of disadvantage here. In Pro 3 we have dropped the optical parallax to .75mm.. this one of the lowest parallax I have seen anywhere for inking tablets. This means as you move your head around your pen tip, the pen tip stays closer to the ink. 3) Electronic parallax: because the antenna lines are just behind the cover glass (for us that is .55mm thick!) the electronic parallax is further reduced.. and this is one of the reasons our pen feels more accurate. 4) Digitizer precision and linearity across the entire screen: do the ruler test! 5) Feel and sound: We are using new materials to change the dynamic and static friction of the pen tip. The result is a more paper like feel. As an industry we can do better.. but it is going to have to go to a different mechanism.. more on that later ? 6) Pen weight, feel, and ergonomics. Because the signal emits from the tip of the pen, metal objects in the body do not effect performance.. this is why we were able to do a beautiful anodized aluminum pen, that feels like a high quality pen in hand. Now we do need a battery, but the advantage of a battery is that one can emit a more powerful signal for other functions.. like click note: click the top of the pen once and OneNote automatically gets pulled open (even over the lock screen [secured]).. and double click and you get the acetate layer for clipping out portions of the screen into OneNote… pretty neat!.. and you can hold the pen about 3-5 feet away to do that… and you cannot do such an experience if you did not have a battery. 7) Consistent and accurate pressure sensitivity: just as good as our previous implementations.. as good as they come in my opinion. More on that below. 8) Buttons for switching modes (erase, selection, and other commands): because the pen is powered it can emit all kinds of commands via its emitted signals (buttons, pressure information, click note). 9) Latency: the lag of ink behind the pen tip (highly app dependent)… good developers can keep this number to a minimum. We have one caveat during hover.. while our latency is still best in class when you are inking, you may notice a bit of a lag during hover.. but only during hover mode.. 10) Palm detection so the computer can reject false touches: about the same as EM. 11) Device Integration: Active capacitive digitizer are integrated into the touch controller, and use the same touch sensing lines. This is a fantastic form of integration, which makes for a thinner and lighter device. Also there are less restriction on materials.. for example our Type Keyboard clicks into the bottom portion of the device bezels via magnetics.. this would really be a bad thing for an EM digitizer.

Pressure – I have heard a few folks worry about the 256 pressure levels vs. 1024… One can claim absurd amounts of resolution 10,12,14,16 bits.. whatever.. but in the end eventhough system is spitting out a 10 or 16 bit number does not mean there is a 10 or 16 bits worth of useful information there.. just like an overspeced digital camera.. the sensor is 20 megapixels.. does not mean the resultant image is 20 megapixels worth of information. You can do this experiment yourself.. I did it over the weekend to try to prove a point to my friends: I took the best known a EM based device I know of and compared it to Pro 3. I started by first downloading and installing a Microsoft PowerTool software called “digiInfo”.. this allows you to record and see Windows messages… I set the software to record pressure on both device. And then a built a small rig to hold the stylus above the digitizer with a about 50 grams downward pressure. Recorded the data of the static pressure.. imported to excel and did some statistics.. here is what I saw: the 1024 pressure tip static-pressure-number had a standard deviation 3 times greater than that of the 256 pressure tip. In end, the performance was the same.. eventhough one had 2 bits less reported info. This makes a lot of sense.. let me put it another way. The Pro 3 pen measures from 10grams-400 grams of pressure and maps 256 levels to that… the mapping is nonlinear.. cause the human hand force activation is non-linear… but one can approximate about 1-1.8 grams per level. The 10 bit pen.. goes from 10-500 grams.. and supposedly does about ~0.4 grams. Think about both those numbers and that is both super super sensitive.. the best weight scale I have can do .1 gram increments…. The only reason it works is cause it averages the heck out of the numbers which adds a considerable amount of lag.. this lag one cannot do on a stylus.. so you are stuck with a nosier signal comparatively in a stylus. With any new stylus there is a difference in the force curve that you have to get used to… and that is likely what people will notice.. not the difference in bit resolution. We are going to make that easier for you by later giving you a piece of software that allows you to map your own force curve! I encourage you to get one of those scales and try to control it to the .1 grams.. will shed some light on the topic. The feedback from artists I have heard.. is that they do not see a difference.. and that is cause really the resultant info is not different.

WinTab: yes we have wintab driver support. See the link below to download and install it for pro3. In the future I hope apps start using the more modern APIs.. Wintab is old and outdated.. adds latency, and inserts itself in the pen path.. http://www.ntrig.com/Content.aspx?Page=Downloads_Drivers select the windows 8.1 option.

DPI You are right for higher DPI screens a number of the older desktop applications are not DPI aware. Things are getting better though. Windows 8.1 supports different scalars nor for different simultaneous monitors.

Retina: Anywhere between 190-300 dpi is a good place to be for tablets.. people hold them closer and you really want to avoid seeing jaggy lines.. but over specing the screen here can be dangerous and we are already seeing people going beyond 300 DPI.. there is not much benefit at all.. and in the end if not done right can cause more harm….I love our screen 100% SRGB and high contrast.. combined with great DPI. Balanced approach.

Home Button Heard some feedback on people pressing by mistake.. we are definitely looking into it.

Custom Keyboard.. Good feedback.. I agree.

Hope you find this helpful.. sorry it was a bit long 🙂 StevieB

I’m a Windows user, and the first time I used one of Apple’s glass touchpads, I couldn’t believe how accurate and responsive it was.

Last year, some folks from Microsoft came on and did an AMA on precision touchpads, promising that the days of horrible touchpads on Windows would finally be behind us. Then you released the Surface Pro 2 which used precision touchpads on its covers, and they were lambasted in reviews as some of the worst touchpads ever created, a fact alluded to in your recent presentation launching the Surface Pro 3.

The reviews for the Surface Pro 3 are out, and the touchpad has been described variously as somewhere around decent to at-least-better-than-the-old-ones.

Why is it so difficult in the Windows ecosystem to create a touchpad experience as good as the one found in Apple MacBooks?

A couple of things that we have done with the new TypeCover. 60%+ larger trackpad area, embedded glass beads for smoother feel, and a mechanical button…provides greatly improved feel.

Trackpad also support Precision Track Pad features with Windows to support gestures including; Edgy, Pan, & Pinch/Zoom.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-id/windows-8/touchpad

What about the output resolution? I keep hearing that the dock can produce 4K output resolution. But what about without the dock, just using the displayminiport – can I get 4K output resolution then? I am thinking about the SP3 i7 edition?

I would love to replace my desktop machine and connect to a new 4K monitor without purchasing the dock.

Hi, this is Pete from the Surface Team. The mDP port on the device can drive a 4K display – this is true for the i7, i5, and i3 – while still running the Surface Pro 3 display.

Are there limitations to the resolution or performance if daisy chaining multiple displays?

i7 and i5 will drive 1x4K, or 2x2K (while supporting the Surface Pro 2K display).

i3 will drive 1x4K, or 2xHD (while supporting the Surface Pro 2K display).

Are you guys going to be releasing a power cover for the SP3? I feel like with the larger size it could be even more effective or thinner. Also, I hope this time it will be easier to get a dock. Last time it took months to get one for the SP2.

I don’t have anything to share here on any new covers… in the meantime, the existing Power Cover is compatible with the Surface Pro 3.

Home Button Issue – While drawing in Landscape, home button gets pressed if you are right handed. Can be disabled but haptic feed back still on, Will there be a fix for this on release or is it being looked at? Is there a fix that also disabled haptic feedback and home button, while still allowing the other physical buttons to work?

Power Setting – Can we control power setting? What happened to High Performance Mode on Surface Pro 3 it appears we cannot change it. Is this a Thermal issue?

Home Button – http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/26m9cu/we_are_panos_panay_and_the_surface_team_at/chsdbxe

Power Setting – Not a thermal decision, related to connected standby. We are continuing to review options.

Will there be a new non-Pro Surface released?

Nothing to share here, but you can rest assured that we have a roadmap of products. You’ll have to wait and see what they look like and when they might be released though…

Does the omission of a non-Pro Surface during last week’s presentation mean the end of the product and Windows RT?

Windows on ARM continues to be an important part of the Windows strategy. The Surface 2 (which runs Windows RT) is a great choice for both play and getting work done. Windows on ARM got even better with recent additions including third-party MDM, workplace join and Outlook, which is preinstalled along with the other Microsoft Office apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote), with the Windows RT 8.1 update.

In Surface Pro (2), a big complaint of the platform was how few accessories were available for it (especially compared to other ecosystems). Now that the form factor, connectors, screen, and almost everything else has changed, what is Microsoft doing to encourage partners to make everything from cases to chargers to nifty gadgets for the Surface Pro 3?

We’re working with a bunch of partners to get great accessories out there. you’ll see cases more quickly than other things, but you’ll see mounts, protective cases, etc.

What is the number one thing you say when someone asks, “why the surface pro 3, and not this other laptop or tablet?”

Also, thanks for doing this AMA! Big fan of the surface (have an rt 1 and still love it despite its relative age) and if I had the funds I’d definitely get myself a pro 3 :).

Great question- high level, our statement says it all. It is the tablet that can replace the laptop. This is the one product you need to do it all. It acts as a tablet, and can be used as a laptop. It is great in both scenarios. There is no product out there that compares. Too many times folks are stuck in the middle, have to carry two devices, or don’t want to lug around the weight.

…This AMA is pure marketing drivel. Not answering the difficult questions either.

Tell me what you need answered… this is not a marketing drive

Just for reference, Gabe mentions this in his review: http://www.penny-arcade.com/news/post/2014/05/23/surface-pro-3

As I use the Surface for landscape currently while drawing, I was surprised to read the button is not disabled the same way touch is when the pen is above the screen.

Hey guys. When we made Surface Pro 3, we wanted a device that worked not only in landscape mode, but worked beautifully in portrait mode. This is super important for things like reading, annotating docs, etc. Putting the home button where it is in SP3 makes working in portrait natural. Now that said, we also invested a ton of effort into ensuring that when working in landscape mode, you don’t trigger the button by accident. This includes things like palm rejection, guard sensors that prevent inadvertent hits, etc. Mike (Gabe) is one of our favorite Surface fans, so we’re working closely with him to understand and address the issues he is specifically having.

Where is Surface Mini

Congrats on the Surface Pro 3 launch, I enjoyed tuning into the live stream

My question is what if anything will you do Re the slight Start button issue that some artists and doodlers have a problem with? hitting Start on accident with your hand, while in the desktop(photoshop lets say)

I came up with a sort of snap-on solution you are free to use, you can work around the kickstand I’m sure

Thanks for the excellent innovations(don’t stop), Surface Pro 3 is my next PC

Love the questions and the solution you suggested. As you’ve likely already read, we’ve said all along that we have a roadmap of products. Exactly what they look like and precisely when they might come to market, you’ll have to wait and see. 🙂

His main question was whether you’re planning to do anything about the start button while drawing, which you didn’t answer. I’m also considering a surface 3, and would love to know if that’s being ironed out.

When we made Surface Pro 3, we wanted a device that worked not only in landscape mode, but worked beautifully in portrait mode. This is super important for things like reading, annotating docs, etc. Putting the home button where it is in SP3 makes working in portrait natural. Now that said, we also invested a ton of effort into ensuring that when working in landscape mode, you don’t trigger the button by accident. This includes things like palm rejection, guard sensors that prevent inadvertent hits, etc. Mike (Gabe) is one of our favorite Surface fans, so we’re working closely with him to understand and address the issues he is specifically having.

Hello Panos and the Surface Team,

I was recently accepted to medical school in the U.S. and I am currently looking at devices to use in my preclinical and clinical years. The Surface Pro 3 appears to be the perfect preclinical device for note-taking and organizing information, but I’m likely to also purchase an iPad Mini or a large Android phone (Sony Xperia Z Ultra comes to mind) to supplement the tablet on the clinical side.

• The Toshiba Encore 8 was recently announced, but like many 8” Windows tablets, it uses an Intel Atom processor (which I’ve always associated with underpowered netbooks). Are we still a few years from seeing full-fledged ultrabook components in an 8″ form factor?

• In your presentation, you addressed “lappability” with the magnetized Type Cover. However, there are some who would still prefer a full laptop experience with a detachable tablet when necessary. Is there a possibility of seeing a keyboard/battery dock in the future?

• In my experience shadowing and scribing for physicians using an Android tablet, iPad and Windows laptop, there are very few chances to actually sit down or set my device on a table to input information with two hands. Is there anything in development for Surface – such as Word Flow/Swiftkey Flow, or even a hardware solution – that would make it easier for one-handed input while standing?

• There is no replaceable battery (which is expected), so I’m somewhat worried about how the Surface Pro 3 will hold up with heavy use. Heavy use, in my case, means hours off the charger and even more hours on the charger while connected to an external monitor. What kind of battery degradation should we expect over 1-2 years of using it?

Thank you for your time! I look forward to picking up the Surface Pro 3 at a Microsoft store next month (the education discount will save me quite a bit of money).

First off, congratulations. My brother in law just graduated from med school as well. We’ve had great interaction with doctors and the feedback has helped us to make Surface Pro 3 better in a clinic or hospital setting:

Surface Pro 3 is powerful – it’s a full PC so you can run the software you need, including full EMR applications for electronic medical records. It runs Windows 8.1, so working with 2 apps side-by-side is really easy, yet with all this its still incredibly thin and light. We know a lot of people still carry multiple devices (tablet + laptop) and we worked hard to make a device that would make carrying multiple things unnecessary.

As far as using the device on your lap – the new Type Cover adds a lot of stability and the experience of using it on your lab is pretty great. I’ve had this question a few times, and I hope you’ll get the chance as devices arrive in stores to try this out in a store and see how it actually feels on your lap. Surface is designed to be super portable.

On one-handed input – the onscreen keyboard is a very good option, as is the Pen. The pen makes it easy to use Surface when standing, on the move, or when you’re consulting with a patient.

Finally, to your question on battery life, I’ll take some language from another question above – “The batteries on our Surface products are designed with some of the highest charge cycles for consumer electronic devices. This means that the battery can get charged daily (5 days a week) for over 4.5 years and still maintain 80% capacity.” So you should be good to go for a very long time.

Best of luck as you start your career.

I love a lot of what the new pen does, but I never use Onenote in metro mode.

Would I be able to reprogram the top pen button to:
•Do something that doesn’t require waking the tablet ex. save a file in office or advance a slide in PowerPoint
•Wake up the tablet into a different application
•Use the top button as an eraser

Glad to hear you love the new pen! With regards to OneNote metro — we are making it configurable to launch the classic desktop for users who want that experience. With regards to general configurability of the top buton — at this point, we are not planning to make it generally configurable. Eraser on the top button — great feedback.

Have been using a Surface RT and switched to Surface Pro 2 at some point. I really like my Surface Pro 2, but found a bit disapointed by the lack of connected standby while Haswell processor should support it (and indeed, Surface Pro 3 is supporting it). Is there any possibility a firmware update bringing Connected Standby on Surface Pro 2 in a near future?

The Pro2 was not designed for Connected Standby. Pro3 is :-).

Will there be much of a battery trade off for performance in the i7 SP3? Also, what is the overall performance gain for the i7 version over the i5?

The battery performance is the same across the i3, i5, and i7. The i7 will see benchmark scores appx. 15-20% better than the SP3 i5.

Does the Surface 3 dock have multiple video out connections? I have a surface pro 2 (I love it) but it REALLY sucks to have no option for dual external monitors without daisy chaining displayport (honestly cant find a reasonably priced monitor that does this)

It has a miniDisplayPort and supports Multi-Stream Transport (MST) so you can drive multiple monitors.

What was the actual reason tap-and-drag wasn’t supported by the TypeCover2 until recently? I seems like a trivial problem to fix, and it was working fine on TypeCover1.

It’s actually connected to the version of Windows you are running. With the update released this April, you get tap-and-drag.

Good morning! I’m curious about the compatibility of the Surface Pro 3 with a 21″ Cintiq.
 
I’m an artist, and the idea of a mobile digital work station is amazing. However, i still need the option of the larger workspace that a full-size Cintiq provides. I’d love to be able to just hook the SP3 up to my Cintiq and easily transition from a mobile workspace to a larger workspace when i need to, but i’ve had issues with this on similar devices in the past; i suspect conflicting tablet drivers were causing stylus recognition issues, but i never quite got to the bottom of it.
 
Have any of your team tried this with the SP3? It sounds like a great replacement for my current laptop, but this could be a big dealbreaker for me. Thanks! 🙂

We have a couple of Cintiq Pads in our studio and they all work with Pro. Surface Pro3 is a full PC and supports up to 4k resolution out, the Cintiq drivers should all work. The Surface pen will not work on the Cintiq, since the technology is different. Great idea to use Pro for mobile sketching. I use Sketch Book Pro and it is a sweet experience.

How long does it take to fully charge the SP3?

SP3 will charge from 0% to 80% in 2 hours and to 100% in 4 hours.

There is a question out there regarding branding of the Surface pro 3. While the product accomplishes much more than a tablet and takes aim at laptops it is still difficult to pin down exactly what the device truly is. On the Microsoft website the product is called a tablet but during the press conference the term tablet was barely mentioned.

In your words how would you describe the Surface Pro 3 to a regular everyday consumer.

I would describe Surface Pro 3 as the tablet that can replace your laptop. 🙂

Hello Panos Panay. First of all I’d like to congratulate you for that fantastic presentation for the SP3. I don’t think I’ve seen a better presentation from Microsoft (Belfiore’s come close!).

I’m big on aspect ratios, and am a big believer of the golden ratio, and waging a war on 16:9. The 3:2 aspect ratio really got me excited, so I’ll like to ask some questions on the new aspect ratio that the Surface Pro 3 advocates.

•1) Why was it 16:9 in the first place? What changed?

•2) What are the reasons behind 3:2? Was it merely because of the similarity to that notepad? Or is it a Fibonacci thing? Why not a more familiar 5:3 or 16:10 then?

•3) Will you be encouraging other Windows laptop/tablet OEMs to follow suit with the 3:2 aspect ratio?

Hey.. this is StevieB. we chose 3:2 cause it works great both in landscape and portrait. it is a 1.5 aspect ratio.. vs. 16:9 which 1.77 is really geared more towards landscape. 3:2 is also more a kin to paper… something natural and familiar for people. Given we wanted to build a device that worked well in all 4 modes of input: it had to be wide enough to house a full keyboard, tall enough in landscape so you can see all your emails lists.. facebooks posts, etc… and it had to be balanced in your hand to hold it in portrait so you could write like you would on a notepad and touch the screen. With Surface we really try to build a new class of device that adapts to the tasks you want to do… that is why the keyboard works the way it does.. the screen is the aspect ratio it is, and function of the pen and touch. It is a perfect balance between productivity and entertainment. We mapped a lot of the available digital content… took their aspect ratios.. and the aspect ratio that was a balanced fit for all.. was 3:2. I really like 3:2.. cause when you divide 3:2 in half in landscape.. you get two 4:3 screens in portrait. So Pro3 in split screen mode is like running to 8” 4:3 screen side by side (1080×1440 times 2).. pretty cool! The other reason why we like 3:2.. is cause of its kinship with paper. 8.5×11 piece of paper is 1.33 ratio.. but once you take into account the margins.. about 1.25” on both sides.. and 1” top and bottom (various standards).. means an “Active area” of 9”x6”.. that is where 9×6 comes from.. now take 9/6 and reduce the fraction.. (divide by 3).. and your 3:2 ? . For the flexibility in experience we have designed pro 3 for.. typing, mousing, touch, and pen: 3:2 is a great choice.. hits a sweet spot in productivity, is compact and easy to carry, and adapts to both landscape and portrait well.

One more comment.. about the pro 3 screen.. it is a mighty screen.. Productivity and available content on screen are strongly correlated. Gary Starkweather, retired from MSR, did a great study that showed this. The pro 3 screen is 2160×1440.. the OS scaled the High DPI pixels by 1.5x.. which means the effective resolution is 1440×960.. I would compare this effective resolution (OS resolution) to other 13”-14” laptops on market.. it shows just as much if not more!! ? so a mighty screen.

Will we ever get Connected standby support on the Surface Pro? Right now I think that’s the only item I see lacking on the Surface Pro other than a GPS and NFC support.

Also, thanks for creating some awesome products, I bought a SP2 on release day and it was my only computer when I studied abroad in Ireland, everyone I meet is continuously impressed with just how capable the tablet is.

The Pro3 is a Connected Standby system!

Hello Panos!Gongratulations for the excellent product you have presented to us called Surface Pro 3!One question.Why won’t you release a white cover?I have the original white touch cover that came with surface rt but with surface pro 2 & 3 you guys did not unveil any touch or type covers in white?Why is that?Is there a proble with the colour?Thank you and greetings from Cyprus Panos!!We are very proud of you!

Not many people were buying white, so we did not launch it this time around. Thanks for the nice words…

Panos, I love your presentation style. Are there any books you’d recommend or general advice you have to share when communicating to a larger audience?

Thanks for the comment. My best advise.

Be genuine, have fun, and have products you believe in.

How long does it take for the Surface Pro 3 to come out of Standby when pressing the button? Is it several seconds like previous Surface Pros?

Pro3 is a Connected Standby system, it will wake up in half a second. If you do not touch the system for more than 4 hours, it will go to hibernate, and then deep sleep to go to single digit miliwatts. At that point it will take longer, like a pro2 coming out of hibernate.

I use a Surface Pro 2 as my professional laptop and Bitlocker is enabled for security. In order to boot the Surface I must have the keyboard attached because there is no option for a Bitlocker touchscreen interface.

The lack of this feature means that I can’t turn off my Surface if I intend to use it as a tablet without the keyboard.

Does the new Surface Pro 3 correct this problem?

Will Surface Pro 2 users ever get a UEFI update that allows us to start the device as a tablet with Bitlocker enabled?

Yep, Pro3 has you covered.

I convinced my boss to get me a Surface Pro 1 for work, and I have used it extensively every single day for the last year or so. How can I convince him to upgrade me to the 3?

Show your boss the bigger, more beautiful screen and the note-taking and he’ll probably want one himself. let him know that’s not fair and everyone should get one. some nice info here: http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-us/why-surface/for-work

“We are Panos Panay & The Surface Team” sounds more like the band playing at a local Bar Mitzvah than someone I want designing my computer.

We are not a musically inclined group (to my knowledge). We will work on the naming for these in the future. But check out Stevie’s hair in this picture, he is the closest thing we have to a rock star lookhttps://twitter.com/panos_panay/status/471336997785579520.

I can say I’m biggest fan of device even tho I never got to use it. Ever since the first generation I watched almost every review on Youtube. And I watched the New York Event with my unstable connection. 1 hours of event took my 8 hours to watch. One thing I’d like to ask is what happened to the dark color? It was really amazing

The dark titanium was great. We spent a lot of time to study and develop extremely scratch resistant finishes. The magnesium, Surface is made from has a silver sheen and we decided to have it shine through the semi clear top coat of Surface Pro3.

Will you be adding a feature to rebind the top key on the surface pro 3 digitizer to do something other than open OneNote?

Great suggestion… nothing to share right now, but keep the suggestions coming. 🙂

When Windows 9 comes around, will we be able to upgrade to it on the Surface Pro 3?

Yes. Whatever the next version is called.

Hey thanks for doing this Surface Team! Love my Surface 2 for home and work!

Quick Question: Has the WiFi Been Improved over the Pro2, Throughput / Range?

Pro3 has 802.11ac — if you have an 802.11ac access point, you will see much higher throughput.

How do I explain the difference between a 256 point pressure sensitivity level versus 2048 pressure points with a wacom tablet to a photoshop novice and will other companies like corel painter get involved in the touch interface? thanks

please see this explanation: pressure is towards the bottom. http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/26m9cu/we_are_panos_panay_and_the_surface_team_at/chscu2e

Are you guys planning on partnering or developing specifically for education beyond just the 10% discount? (Apple and Lenovo are really big at doing this, so everyone on my campus uses them.) I feel like the Surface Pro series is made for students in math associated fields.

An example (beyond partnering with a campus) is to integrate textbook lending with one note. Or to be able to better annotate PDF’s of slides and academic papers. Or better integration of math writing to math notation. Or exporting to Latex.
We also believe Surface is a great opportunity for students and education. We do continue to work with different organizations in this space and are excited about the potential. For annotating PDFs, you should take a look at DrawBoard – its in the Surface Picks section now.

Photographers use full size SD cards and for those with micro cards there are adapters, what was the thinking behind only offering the micro option?

One of the goals with Pro3 is thin. Space inside the device is critical and always a valued resource. SD functionality was important for us and has been since the first products introduced. Options are the adapter you mention or connecting your camera directly to full size USB.

Why hasnt a good wireless screen sharing solution been implemented in Windows yet? I understand that “WiDi” and “Miracast” are two options but I have not seen Microsoft mention these solutions very much and they are confusing and convoluted for the average user.

If you have a Miracast enabled endpoint (dongle, built-in etc.), you can project to it by sliding the right side edgie, selecting devices, then project, add wireless display.
Hi guys. I love your device and as an upcoming 3D artist/animator/gamedev, I can tell you I will definitely be getting one for myself, once I have the money for it.

I hope you guys realize how good a device you guys have actually made for portable gaming, because of the ability to run Steam. At a lower resolution, your integrated graphics are actually able to run most new AAA titles pretty well witch is extremely significant for such a small and light device.

Would you guys consider making this a more obvious choice when it comes to portable gaming? (Branding, Easing the progress for non-techies, showing off it’s power)

• You could make an easy way to run games at a lower resolution for a great result (Given the screen-size is so small)

• Help your colleges work on XBOX ONE CONTROLLER support for Windows 8.1/Surface. This would be a huge deal.

Totally hear you about gaming on the go. There are a lot of PC games that have run well on Surface Pro 2 and will run great on 3. We just had an awesome presence at PAX East, including showing There Came and Echo on the Surface Pro. You can also check out http://geekandsundry.com/shows/unplugged to see some of the games that we have highlighted on the device. We’ll work on getting the Xbox One controller working soon. Stay tuned.

Please confirm on the processor + GPU specs for all models – helps in decision making!

Here you go: i3 – 4020Y – 1.50GHz with Intel HD graphics 4200 I5 – 4300U – 1.6GHz with Intel Turbo Boost up to 2.90GHz with Intel HD Graphics 4400 i7 – 4650U – 1.7GHz Intel Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz  with Intel HD graphics 5000

First of all; thank you for designing something that is great for students.

I bought my SP2 in January and I’m wondering how much longer the SP2 will receive firmware updates?

It’s a shame I can’t afford a SP3.

We will release software/firmware updates when there are items that we need to address and roll out — There isn’t a hard date for cutting it off.

I’m going to start studying Law later this year and I’m torn between the Mac Book Air and the Surface Pro 3 (actually I was definitely getting a MBA until you announced the SP3 out of the blue!) Since I’m not likely to be doing huge amounts of drawing (engineering) or written notes (maths symbols.. which are not lawyer-y).

So what else does the Surface Pro 3 have for me? Sell it to me 🙂

There are a few significant differences with Mac Book Air that you might love, especially as a law student. Studies have shown that people learn more conceptually when they write vs when they just type. Surface Pro 3 allows pen note taking in a great size (legal pad!). You also have a touch screen for faster navigation. Add those to the fact that it is lighter to carry in your bag around campus.

• Can I turn connected standby off/would doing so conserve battery life?
• If I can turn it off, would I be able to create a custom high performance power profile

You cannot turn CS off, but you could extend quiet hours in settings, so as to reduce the hours during which the system is connecting to the network.

Also, know that Pro3 will go to hibernate and then deep sleep after 4 hours of inactivity, to preserve battery even more.

As an Outside Sales Rep I’ve grown to love my SP1. I’ve even grown to love the Touch Cover I use with it. Are there any plans to release an updated Touch Cover to go with the SP3?

Nothing to share here, but love the suggestions. Keep them coming. 🙂

Will the new Surface Pro 3 Pen (I believe it’s simply called the “Surface Pen”) be compatible with the Surface Pro 2? I imagine most Wacom pens are cross-compatible, but will the new pen be able to sync via Bluetooth and impart the “Purple Button” functionality onto the Surface Pro 2?

The Pen will be called Surface Pen. It was specifically designed for Surface Pro3 and currently works on this device only. We wanted to add in the “click to OneNote” feature and had to push the technology forward.

When Panos dropped the SP3 during the presentation, he dropped it onto a carpet. Do normal devices break / shatter upon that sort of impact with a carpet? How durable is the Surface Pro 3 really?

We spend a lot of Engineering time to make our products robust – and we do a lot of testing to verify these designs. We could’ve also dropped it on hardwood (slightly lower height) and the device will work great.

I will be a freshman in college next fall. What should I be looking to major in that would help me the most towards becoming a part of the Surface Team?

Hi this is StevieB.. we have many disciplines on the Surface team. From Engineers (mechanical, electrical, all kinds), Scientists (Physics, Chemists, materials, Optics..), Designers, Artists, and Programmers. I say follow what comes easy to you..what do you love doing. If you love building things.. choose engineering..If you love asking fundamental questions and poking at nature: Science. If you like design and have an angle for taste.. industrial design and art. Either direction.. Surface Pro3 will help you no matter what discipline you choose. Good luck!

Is the pen’s ‘click to open OneNote’ feature customizable? For example, can it be changed to launch a drawing app instead?

We are making it configurable to launch the desktop OneNote, in addition to the default Modern OneNote — at this point there isn’t a plan to make it configurable to launch other apps.

Does the Surface Pro 3 use Gorilla Glass? If not, what does it use to prevent the screen from shattering?

Ya it does!

Any word on a Surface Mini?

No

Thanks Surface Team! I have been a champion of the Surface Pro since the first generation. I have successfully converted three peers from Apple laptops.

I was taking a look at Google trends to see how the surface was doing compared to Apple’s Macbook Air and Macbook Pro. It looks like you have the internet’s interest “Microsoft Surface” is trending higher than the Macbook Air and Macbook Pro in search. Specifically when new products were released/announced. The data is only for the United States, graph can be seen at http://i.imgur.com/0NWToCK.png The keyword “Surface Pro” does not have the same volume as either, but is on an upward trajectory. Few questions: How is the team planning to capitalize on this? Will the fast product cycles continue? What is the team doing to make the Surface more enterprise friendly? I am pushing IT to allow the Surface Pro at a digital agency, no luck.

We have some great features in Surface Pro3: Features for commercial customers Enterprise Security

1. Use Bitlocker + TPM + PIN via soft UEFI keyboard (no physical keyboard attached)

• Scenario: Mobile workers using Surface without a keyboard 2. Disable boot from USB. Set boot order.

Disable USB port.

• Scenarios: prevent booting to an uncontrolled / hostile environment or prevent use of USB accessories.

3. Password protect UEFI settings

• Scenario: protect settings such as disabling boot from USB

4. Configurable secure boot policies to include 3rd party antivirus and encryption

• Scenario: third party security clients can easily participate in the secure boot trusted chain

First, I’ve already pre-ordered a Surface Pro 3 and can’t wait for it to come, so no need to sell me on it… (though I wonder if there is any way I can convince you to ship it faster?)

For my question. I have the original RT and it was really hounded by Wi-Fi issues. What are some of the improvements in Wi-Fi included with the SP3 and are the drivers better than they have been in the past?

On Pro3, the WiFi drivers and firmware are very stable and performing out of the box. And, you get 802.11ac throughput, with the 2×2 antennas.

Will we ever see a Surface product being offered outside the US? I loved the original surface RT i bought used but I had to buy a MacBook pro since I couldn’t find a Surface here in Chile and despite having the money to buy one I can’t afford to travel to the US to but one.

Yes, we will be available outside the US – almost all existing Surface markets this Summer. We don’t have a date for Chile, though. sorry.

Is there some kind of anti-fingerprint coating on the SP3’s display? If not, please try to do something about fingerprints in the next model.

Also, if it uses Gorilla Glass, yous should put that on the website, thats a big selling feature

Ya.. we use an oleophobic coating. OK. thanks.. we do.

Question for Panos: Which Windows Phone do you have?

I am using the Lumia 930. I love it.

N-trig technology is not support it by 3D software(like zbrush). don’t you think you just forget the artist on this new surface pro 3.

We’re working on testing Zbrush right now. Let us know what else you’d like to see tested.

Hi! Can you give us an idea of why the delay on the i7 and i3 models, and is there any likelihood of them being available before the 8/31 date listed on the Microsoft Store? I had a Surface Pro and now a Surface Pro 2 – loved them both. I use my Pro 2 as my main laptop, although I find it a little small for comfortable lap usage (it’s fine on a desk). I use my Pro 2 for,amongst other things, gaming, and am concerned that the higher resolution of the Pro 3, with the same i5 CPU as the Pro 2, could lead to some degradation in gaming performance, not to mention some resolution complications. As a result, I’m interested in the i7 models, but somewhat put off by their extended shipping dates. In any case, amazing work by the team. Surface Pro 3 is a thing of beauty!!

We are working hard to ship these as soon as possible – we have seen the excitement.

Does the surface touchpad have gestures like the Macbooks have? They have 3 finger and 4 finger swipes to get to different areas of the OS, and having touchpad gestures, while I’ve not used them before, is a good demo for the system.

Yes the track pad supports both edge gestures and two finger gestures for scrolling and zooming.

What is being done to fill the “App Gap” on Windows 8 ModernUI? For some apps, there is no Windows Desktop or ModernUI equivalent compared to non-Windows devices (the same problem exists for Windows Phone), so I am limited to other devices. Will this be addressed to work with companies/developers to fill out the top apps on other platforms and bring them to Surface devices both Pro and RT?

Surface Pro 3 will run full Windows desktop apps. What other apps would you love to see work with the Surface Pro Pen?

Is the pen accuracy better on surface pro 3? My pen is seriously out of sync with the screen whenever I get close to edges, making it nearly impossible to hit anything accurately if it’s closer than 1.5cm from the edge (like the X in the corner, to close a window). Apparently this is the case for more or less everyone with a surface pro 2.

The pen accuracy on the surface pro 2 really disappointed me.

Sorry to hear that. The Accuracy of pen on pro3 is very impressive.. see blog post: http://blog.surface.com/2014/05/get-know-surface-pro-3-pen/ The edge accuracy is greatly improved as well.. see the first picture.. which shows the error map of pro3.. very low. This is the best around now. 🙂

I’m a Microsoft Consultant for Best Buy, so is there any chance of the stores getting demo units early to drive pre-orders? I’ve managed to get a few but for some people it’s hard to justify spending that much on a product they have never even heard of or seen.

Demo units will be showing up on June 6th in Best Buy stores.

I suspect that if you looked at all Surface users, and figured out what proportion of those users have spent a significant amount of time using Blizzard’s products (World of Warcraft, Diablo series etc), there would be a VERY significant overlap. Blizzard has a newer free to play game that is really gaining a lot of traction called Hearthstone. It requires an install to play so Pro users can play it but Surface users cannot. Blizzard have said they are working on an iDevice port but what are the odds we could get a conversation going that would lead to Hearthstone coming to Surface? It would be a HUGE coup if it happened because the nature of the game is such that it encourages you to log in every day to play a little more, so having access from our Surfaces would be a massive “ya boo sucks to be you” in the faces of Android tablet owners… just a thought…

We are gaming fans here and being able to do full PC games on a tablet is pretty cool. You should reach out to Blizzard and tell them you’d like to see Hearthstone on Surface. In the meantime, have you checked this out: http://geekandsundry.com/shows/unplugged

My question: Firstly, let me start by saying I love the Surface line and I was amazed when I first saw it, because of how powerful the devices are. I have a Surface RT (1st Gen) and it was almost everything I needed for high school.

I’m going into 6th form next year (Year 12-13 16-18 year old) to do my A-level qualifications. For this I know my first gen Surface will not be enough. However after trying to bring my laptop into school on multiple occasions, I have decided that it will not be enough either. It is way too heavy and big to carry in a small backpack.

This is why I want to upgrade to a hybrid device such as the new Surface Pro 3. I was considering a Surface Pro 2 but the small screen didn’t appeal to me as much as the new 12” screen does. However, I know this is not the only device on the market that can fulfil my needs.

So my questions are:

1. As a student already invested in Microsoft’s ecosystem (with Windows, Office, OneDrive and Xbox), what benefits does the Surface Pro 3 bring me as opposed to another Windows Hybrid with Office included for free?
2. Is the i5 128gb model of the Surface Pro 3 powerful enough for me to run Microsoft Office software, Visual Studio Ultimate and other processor intensive software that I may need for 6th form?
3. How good honestly is the new trackpad on the Type cover 3? Because my laptop trackpad is perfect (because it has real clickable buttons), and the Type cover 2 is almost unusable for my needs.
4. Which is best, the black type cover or the royal blue one? Because the royal blue one looks so sweet.

Thanks for the questions. Few things I’d call out based on spending a bunch of time with students using Surface today. First thing is the device itself. It is super thin, much lighter than earlier versions of Surface Pro and as a student, you will love the note-taking experience. Check out some of the videos at the bottom of this page. These scenarios only get better with Surface Pro 3. http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-us/why-surface/at-school

The i5 is definitely powerful enough to run Office, Visual Studio Ultimate and other powerful software. If you missed the launch video, we showcased Surface Pro 3 running Revit (powerful building modeling software from Autodesk), Adobe Photoshop and other cool software and apps.

You will love the new trackpad. We reduced friction by 78% vs. our previous trackpads, it is 60% bigger than the previous Surface Pro. This is as good as trackpads you will find on some of the best laptops.

Finally, the best typecover is whatever color you like best. The blue one is awesome IMO, but I’m writing on a purple right now.

Panos – First off, you’re the best MS presenter by far- No disrespect to Joe Belfiore, he’s pretty great too. Pleasantries aside:

Ignoring the touch + pen capabilities (which are awesome and the reason I’m hopefully going to be able to preorder a SP3 for my job hunt this week!), how is your team approaching selling a great product that might be more expensive in terms of power/money when most people just need a browser and Instagram?

Personally, even though I’m an architect intern and I work with 3ds Max, Illustrator and Revit – not having the most powerful machine isn’t necessarily the most important thing to me but that machine having a fantastic build quality that won’t break and also an attractive design definitely upsells my decisions – which I definitely see with the SP3.

If you saw the launch event, you would likely appreciate the fact that we showed Revit on stage running on the Surface Pro 3 and we showed some architects who are using Surface Pros every day. They use these devices because they want power and performance, but they also want mobility, so they can go from the office to the construction site and not lose access to the models and info they need to do their jobs. Architects also tend to love great design and build quality. Our device is beautiful. I think you will love it.

Why did you guys decide to release the surface pro 3 so soon after you released the surface pro 2.

I have already ask about, how long you guys plan on offering the SP2 and it accessories (with no response). Why should I spend my hard earn money on a sp3 and it accessories when in 5 months(probably in 2 months) you guys will just decide to release the SP4 and discontinue or make obsolete, the sp3

Most accessories for SP2 will be available through this year, though depends a little bit on what retailers choose to do. Keyboards in particular will of course continue to be available because Surface 2 supports the same ones

Source: Reddit AMA Session – Photo credit https://twitter.com/panos_panay

All Responses with Original Questions from Today's Reddit AMA with Panos Panay & the Surface Team

@Panos_Panay Tweets... "I'm over at Reddit hosting an AMA right now. Come join!"
@Panos_Panay Tweets… “I’m over at Reddit hosting an AMA right now. Come join!”

Panos Panay, Microsoft’s Corporate VP today held a very interactive Reddit AMA session along with the Surface team. Panos Panay is known for his moving and convincing presentations on Microsoft’s  Surface devices. He is arguably the best presenter in tech, and his first ever presentation on the Surface RT was very memorable and stood out to many. We’re glad he’s still presenting these unique devices, and were also happy that he chose to answer many of the questions Surface fans needed answers to.  Panos started the session off with this intro:

Hi All. This is Panos. I am super pumped to be here in AMA again. Looking forward to answering as much as we can as quick as we can. So you know we have Ralf, Pete, Brett, Stevie, Brian all here with me. It has been fun to see the reception on Surface Pro 3 to date… lets get started

How is it possible to call the Surface Pro 3 a laptop killer when the device does not come with a keyboard? The keyboard is an “optional” accessory that is marketed as vital to the Surface experience (to which I agree), but it makes no sense to charge so much extra for it.

When we first launched Surface, we sold it only in a bundle format. the top feedback we got was that people loved the color covers and wanted full choice (but stores wouldn’t sell all color bundles) and some people definitely wanted to buy without cover.

What considerations have stopped mobile SIM card/3G/LTE support being directly included in any of the Surface Pro series?

It’s not in the roadmap right now, but we hear the ask. we have USB so lots of people are using those and “mifi” tethering solutions. Battery certainly has been a consideration to date…

What would make the surface pro 3 perfect for every utilizations would be an external GPU to put on the desktop. With that i could replace my laptop, my tablet and my desktop by a single device, the surface pro 3. Have you ever considered it ?

Love the suggestion! Keep them coming please. 🙂

I would really like to see some improvements in the graphics. Since the SP1, I don’t believe the graphics have changed any. If I want to really replace a laptop, I’d like to be able to replace it for work and play. Are there future plans on changing the graphics controller, giving that you have more space in the new larger layout?

Hi, the i7 has Intel HD graphics 5000, the i5 has Intel HD Graphics 4400, and the i3 has Intel HD Graphics 4200

Where is the thunderbolt link? you could have external gpu’s and make it a desktop replacement, i thought the “ultrabook” standard included thunderbolt.

When you buy your Surface Pro3, do me a favor, and take a close look at the “power connector”

I have an original Surface Pro, and my number one complaint with it is that when the battery stops holding a charge in two years, my only option is to have the entire device replaced by Microsoft for $450.

In two years, there’s a good chance the device won’t even be worth that much anymore, which turns the Surface Pro into essentially a disposable computer. This was almost a deal breaker for me buying my Surface Pro, and the only reason I still bought one was because I got a good enough deal on it that I’ve come to terms with the fact that when the battery wears out, I’ll need to buy a new computer.

Is this still the case with the Surface Pro 3?

The batteries on our Surface products are designed with some of the highest charge cycles for consumer electronic devices. This means that the battery can get charged daily (5 days a week) for over 4.5 years and still maintain 80% capacity.

But CAN the battery be replaced if necessary?

Our summary response is deep enough in the comments that it’s not visible – reposting it here.

We’ve built a great battery into the product (details above).

IF the battery fails during the warranty period, we’ll replace the battery.

IF the battery fails after the warranty period, you’ll call Microsoft support and arrange for the battery to be replaced. The cost will be $200 USD.

The battery can be replaced, but not by the user. The process would be to contact support and send the device in to have it replaced.

The response above that “the battery can get charged daily (5 days a week) for over 4.5 years and still maintain 80% capacity.” reflects the testing we’ve done on the battery. If the battery life becomes an issue you should contact Microsoft support.

Reviews have been relatively consistent that while the new type cover for the SP3 is an improvement in almost every way compared to the original, it still doesn’t compared to refined options like what you find on a MBA in terms of “lapability”, keyboard feel and trackpad performance.

Does the Surface team have any plans to release a “cover” that would provide performance and ease of use in-line with traditional clamshell designs, with a base that effectively secures the screen?

The double-fold hinge with magnetic stability on the Surface Pro 3 Type Cover, coupled with the multi-position kickstand make for a great ‘lapable’ solution. Go and try it our for yourself. 🙂

Many of the reporters from your launch have questioned the “lapability” due to the physical length of thigh needed to support the keyboard and out to the kickstand in back; many of them report not being able to fit the system without the kickstand falling over your knee cap or the keyboard being too close to type. Have you considered ways to improve this? I think one even joked about putting their Air under the Surface to support it.

We looked at many different options to address ‘lapability’, both how much space on the lap and more stability. The ‘fold’ addressed both of these pieces. When you try it, try it both with fold down and fold up striking improvement.

Another element we included was to change the substrate on the keyboard to a honeycomb structure. This let us take weight out, make thinner, and increase stability.

What happened to the Blades concept? Will we see any unique covers or 3rd parties making covers?

The ability to click in is something that was part of Surface from the very beginning. With the new Type Cover for Surface Pro 3, we take productivity to the next level with the double fold hinge adding magnetic stability and a much larger track pad for even more accurate ‘mousing’. As for any additional covers, you’ll just have to wait and see. 🙂

As a corollary, will you be updating the Music Cover for the larger Surface Pro 3 format or is the spine still compatible with the existing line of Touch and TypeCovers (and PowerCover)?

All Type and Touch Covers are compatible with Surface Pro 3, including the Power Cover. 🙂

Have you done anything to improve the keyboard plastic so that it does not tear off? I had to return two of my touch keyboards 🙁

We have done a ton of research and design work in the new Type Covers. All materials have improved. We have a team that focusses on materials design exclusively. The whole construction of the Type Cover is redesigned to be more robust and more productive

I’m a 3D artist and proud owner of the first Surface Pro. I believe that many artists out there have been and will be interested to any new evolution of Surface products. You addressed many problems related to using the tablet from an artistic point of view, but many of them still remain imo.

1) I was surprised that you don’t use Wacom Technology anymore. Maybe there was some problem as the Surface could be seen as a direct competitor of the Wacom Companion. But the new pen, while more accurate, lacks of levels of pressure. It is only 256, and while it may be enough for digital painters working on a a small canvas, it may result in less accurate sampling. I’m actually happy that you ditched Wacom technology, as they currently have the monopoly, which usually isn’t a good thing… but from a user point of view, it may be a risk to jump on the first iteration with a new technology. Do you think the pen will be updated with more levels of pressure during SP3’s lifecycle?

1a) This pen probably will not work with applications that use WinTab drivers only… Will this problem be solved? Currently I can’t think how it will be possible for me to use softwares like zbrush or mudbox without pen pressure.

2) One of my bigger concerns with the first Pro was that the screen wasn’t that big, and that many applications weren’t scaling the text properly when using different DPI settings. Is it possible to solve it in some way? Furthermore, can you add an option in windows 8.1, to setup different DPI settings per application?

3) The bigger resolution will probably impact performances. I don’t understand this big run to the “retina” resolution. Is it really that important? I would have preferred the classic HD resolution coming from the previous pro.

4) Is it true that the windows logo, being on the right oprtion of the screen, represents a problem for right-handed artists, as it is often pressed by mistake?

5) I would like to see a customizable on-screen keyboard (like ArtDock), where I can put the keys I use the most in my applications. This would be useful when using Photoshop for example… where I can setup a mini-touch-keyboard with ctrl+alt+shift+space buttons only. The problem I have with existing solutions (artdock again), is that palm rejection disables it, and I am forced to remove the hand holding the pen from the screen, while using this on-screen buttons.

Thank you!

Hi.. this is StevieB. I anticipated the pen digitizer question.. so I have been thinking about how to talk about it over the weekend. I hope you and other folks find it useful. I will try to answer the rest of your questions preceding. Below is about your Wacom and Pressure question.

There are 3 main types of pen digitizer technologies: Electromagnetic, passive capacitive (those conductive rubber tipped pens that trick the digitizer into looking like a finger), and active capacitive.

Electromagnetic works by putting a printed circuit board across the entire device, typically situated underneath the display and its backlight. This is a completely separate system from the touch digitizer that typically goes in front of the display. The circuit board has a bunch of planar coils that emit an electromagnetic field (like one side of a transformer). The Other side of the transformer is located in the pen itself. As the pen approaches these fields and coils it couples the EM signal and adds a load. This load is picked up across multiple coils and the position of the stylus is then interpolated. These field lines can emit 15mm or so above the display, and thus the mechanism for hover. Data is transmitted from the pen to the device (pressure and button data), by modifying the frequency content of the load. To get orientation there is typically a secondary coil/circuit.. and simple trig can extrapolate the orientation of the pen.. this is important for later to remove mechanical parallax. Among the three this technique has been around the longest.

Passive stylus, works by simply acting as an extension of your finger, by being a conductor to passively couple with the electrostatic signal from the transmit and receive rows and columns of the digitizer. This technique uses the same transparent conductive lines in front of the display to do both the finger and “fake” finger/stylus.

Finally, active capacitive solutions started coming into fruition in the early 2000s. Their mode of operation is to use the same transparent conductive lines as passive stylus does above, but rather the pen tip injects an electrostatic signal which is picked up by these touch capacitive lines. Think of the pen is a mini radio and the sensing lines in front of the display the device are little antennas. The junction(s) (where the rows and columns of the transparent conducting lines cross) which receives the strongest signal is correlated to the position of the pen. To do this, the pen typically needs a battery, but the pen can emit all kinds of signals from buttons, pressure, and other. We purchased a really fantastic active capacitive pen and touch technology a couple years ago: you may remember the company that did the CNN election boards.. Perceptive Pixel. This is no doubt the most fantastic pen technology around for large non-mobile screens. Active capacitive field is defiantly showing a lot of activity by a number of different touch makers.. cause it is a natural extension of touch technology and its integration with the touch solution.

Now let’s go into what makes a great stylus from a hardware perceptive : 1) Precision is king. The more accurate and consistent the pen tip is to the actual ink of the display the more natural and more accurate you as an artist and user are able to execute. a. The Precision problem is broken down into 3 categories: i. Visual Parallax: from pen tip to ink on screen. This is where you think the pen tip is. ii. Electronic parallax: from pen tip to digitizer and where the digester thinks the pen tip actually is.
iii. Digitizer precision and linearity across the entire screen. 2) Feel and sound: should sound and feel like writing on paper. 3) Pen weight, feel, and ergonomics. 4) Consistent and accurate pressure sensitivity 5) Buttons for switching modes (erase, selection, and other commands) 6) Latency: the lag of ink behind the pen tip (highly app dependent)… good developers can keep this number to a minimum. 7) Palm detection so the computer can reject false touches. 8) Device Integration: how it fits, and the industrial design requirements.

Now that we have a bit of a background of the different popular pen digitizer options and the hardware characteristics of what makes a good pen. Let’s go into a brief pros and cons of each of these (I am gonna skip passive stylus as it is still offers an obvious compromise in experience for our current applications [for now]). But before we begin, please let me say first none of these 3 options are generally more superior than one another. It all depends on the application and even more importantly the implementation/execution of technology. The performance of any one of these technologies is highly dependent on how thoughtful, careful, the engineering put into by the device makers to integrate the digitizer system. I have seen some really poor implementations of all 3 of these solutions above by various device makers. Using the brand of technology does not guarantee performance in the least bit.

Electromagnetic Stylus: 1) Precision: This can be very good for electromagnetics but it is highly dependent on implementation. To get the corners working well, and avoid non-linearity, the digitizer sitting behind the display must extend slightly beyond the display. Also metal objects or magnetics objects near the digitizer or in front of even in the device greatly effect noise and performance. This highly constraints the device maker from having a certain boarder size, and also the types of materials they use on the device and in the pen. Because magnetic fields shift with the environment, you will see drift and offsets… The device maker must do a really good job of calibrating the device.. and if the user puts something infront of the device (say a case that has metal in it), then they must be able to do the same level of calibration. Outside of these constraints, EM pen can give very good results. 2) Visual Parallax: this just depends on thickness the cover glass is… and none of the technologies really have an advantage of disadvantage here. 3) Electronic parallax: because the EM digitizer is buried behind the display and the coils are not located the tip of the pen, the digitizer must calculate the orientation of the pen and translate position from that… this is really never perfect and will often be dependent on where you are on the display.. so it is not a single mathematical transform for all points on the display.. it can be highly complex.. most of the time, the simple route is what is taken. 4) Digitizer precision and linearity across the entire screen: best way to test this.. is take ruler and draw straight diagonal lines across the display. Note how the lines are never really straight… this is very hard to do. 5) Feel and sound: Typically today we work with various materials to change the coefficient of static and dynamic friction of the tip on glass.. but there are other techniques we are working on to make this even better no matter what pen technology is used. 6) Pen weight, feel, and ergonomics. Because it is magnetic based the pen cannot be made out of metal. EM stylus has all kinds of shapes and sizes… from really thin and uncomfortable (but can be docked) to ones that feel like a pen. The pro here is that the pen does not need batteries. 7) Consistent and accurate pressure sensitivity: generally known to do a great job. This is much more about how the pressure curve looks like than the number of bits… I will explain below. 8) Buttons for switching modes (erase, selection, and other commands): because the pen and modify the signals actively (powered by the coils).. it can communicate buttons and pressure information. 9) Latency: the lag of ink behind the pen tip (highly app dependent)… good developers can keep this number to a minimum. 10) Palm detection so the computer can reject false touches: does not really have advantage of active capacitive.. but over passive stylus it does. 11) Device Integration: how it fits, and the industrial design requirements: because the pen digitizer is a separate digitizer from the touch, this solution will add anywhere between 0.4-1mm in thickness, a few mm around the bezel of the device, and a few 10’s of grams of weight. It is a bit harder ti integrate into the device cause of the constraints around materials and mechanics.

Active Capacitive Stylus: 1) Precision: in the past I have seen some not so good implementations here, but I am so pumped to see our current results in Pro3. We really did move the mark here. The Pen is really much more precise, linear, and linear across the entire device. The first comment I hear from artists when they use the device, is how precise the pen is. 2) Visual Parallax: this just depends on thickness the cover glass is… and none of the technologies really have an advantage of disadvantage here. In Pro 3 we have dropped the optical parallax to .75mm.. this one of the lowest parallax I have seen anywhere for inking tablets. This means as you move your head around your pen tip, the pen tip stays closer to the ink. 3) Electronic parallax: because the antenna lines are just behind the cover glass (for us that is .55mm thick!) the electronic parallax is further reduced.. and this is one of the reasons our pen feels more accurate. 4) Digitizer precision and linearity across the entire screen: do the ruler test! 5) Feel and sound: We are using new materials to change the dynamic and static friction of the pen tip. The result is a more paper like feel. As an industry we can do better.. but it is going to have to go to a different mechanism.. more on that later ? 6) Pen weight, feel, and ergonomics. Because the signal emits from the tip of the pen, metal objects in the body do not effect performance.. this is why we were able to do a beautiful anodized aluminum pen, that feels like a high quality pen in hand. Now we do need a battery, but the advantage of a battery is that one can emit a more powerful signal for other functions.. like click note: click the top of the pen once and OneNote automatically gets pulled open (even over the lock screen [secured]).. and double click and you get the acetate layer for clipping out portions of the screen into OneNote… pretty neat!.. and you can hold the pen about 3-5 feet away to do that… and you cannot do such an experience if you did not have a battery. 7) Consistent and accurate pressure sensitivity: just as good as our previous implementations.. as good as they come in my opinion. More on that below. 8) Buttons for switching modes (erase, selection, and other commands): because the pen is powered it can emit all kinds of commands via its emitted signals (buttons, pressure information, click note). 9) Latency: the lag of ink behind the pen tip (highly app dependent)… good developers can keep this number to a minimum. We have one caveat during hover.. while our latency is still best in class when you are inking, you may notice a bit of a lag during hover.. but only during hover mode.. 10) Palm detection so the computer can reject false touches: about the same as EM. 11) Device Integration: Active capacitive digitizer are integrated into the touch controller, and use the same touch sensing lines. This is a fantastic form of integration, which makes for a thinner and lighter device. Also there are less restriction on materials.. for example our Type Keyboard clicks into the bottom portion of the device bezels via magnetics.. this would really be a bad thing for an EM digitizer.

Pressure – I have heard a few folks worry about the 256 pressure levels vs. 1024… One can claim absurd amounts of resolution 10,12,14,16 bits.. whatever.. but in the end eventhough system is spitting out a 10 or 16 bit number does not mean there is a 10 or 16 bits worth of useful information there.. just like an overspeced digital camera.. the sensor is 20 megapixels.. does not mean the resultant image is 20 megapixels worth of information. You can do this experiment yourself.. I did it over the weekend to try to prove a point to my friends: I took the best known a EM based device I know of and compared it to Pro 3. I started by first downloading and installing a Microsoft PowerTool software called “digiInfo”.. this allows you to record and see Windows messages… I set the software to record pressure on both device. And then a built a small rig to hold the stylus above the digitizer with a about 50 grams downward pressure. Recorded the data of the static pressure.. imported to excel and did some statistics.. here is what I saw: the 1024 pressure tip static-pressure-number had a standard deviation 3 times greater than that of the 256 pressure tip. In end, the performance was the same.. eventhough one had 2 bits less reported info. This makes a lot of sense.. let me put it another way. The Pro 3 pen measures from 10grams-400 grams of pressure and maps 256 levels to that… the mapping is nonlinear.. cause the human hand force activation is non-linear… but one can approximate about 1-1.8 grams per level. The 10 bit pen.. goes from 10-500 grams.. and supposedly does about ~0.4 grams. Think about both those numbers and that is both super super sensitive.. the best weight scale I have can do .1 gram increments…. The only reason it works is cause it averages the heck out of the numbers which adds a considerable amount of lag.. this lag one cannot do on a stylus.. so you are stuck with a nosier signal comparatively in a stylus. With any new stylus there is a difference in the force curve that you have to get used to… and that is likely what people will notice.. not the difference in bit resolution. We are going to make that easier for you by later giving you a piece of software that allows you to map your own force curve! I encourage you to get one of those scales and try to control it to the .1 grams.. will shed some light on the topic. The feedback from artists I have heard.. is that they do not see a difference.. and that is cause really the resultant info is not different.

WinTab: yes we have wintab driver support. See the link below to download and install it for pro3. In the future I hope apps start using the more modern APIs.. Wintab is old and outdated.. adds latency, and inserts itself in the pen path.. http://www.ntrig.com/Content.aspx?Page=Downloads_Drivers select the windows 8.1 option.

DPI You are right for higher DPI screens a number of the older desktop applications are not DPI aware. Things are getting better though. Windows 8.1 supports different scalars nor for different simultaneous monitors.

Retina: Anywhere between 190-300 dpi is a good place to be for tablets.. people hold them closer and you really want to avoid seeing jaggy lines.. but over specing the screen here can be dangerous and we are already seeing people going beyond 300 DPI.. there is not much benefit at all.. and in the end if not done right can cause more harm….I love our screen 100% SRGB and high contrast.. combined with great DPI. Balanced approach.

Home Button Heard some feedback on people pressing by mistake.. we are definitely looking into it.

Custom Keyboard.. Good feedback.. I agree.

Hope you find this helpful.. sorry it was a bit long 🙂 StevieB

I’m a Windows user, and the first time I used one of Apple’s glass touchpads, I couldn’t believe how accurate and responsive it was.

Last year, some folks from Microsoft came on and did an AMA on precision touchpads, promising that the days of horrible touchpads on Windows would finally be behind us. Then you released the Surface Pro 2 which used precision touchpads on its covers, and they were lambasted in reviews as some of the worst touchpads ever created, a fact alluded to in your recent presentation launching the Surface Pro 3.

The reviews for the Surface Pro 3 are out, and the touchpad has been described variously as somewhere around decent to at-least-better-than-the-old-ones.

Why is it so difficult in the Windows ecosystem to create a touchpad experience as good as the one found in Apple MacBooks?

A couple of things that we have done with the new TypeCover. 60%+ larger trackpad area, embedded glass beads for smoother feel, and a mechanical button…provides greatly improved feel.

Trackpad also support Precision Track Pad features with Windows to support gestures including; Edgy, Pan, & Pinch/Zoom.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-id/windows-8/touchpad

What about the output resolution? I keep hearing that the dock can produce 4K output resolution. But what about without the dock, just using the displayminiport – can I get 4K output resolution then? I am thinking about the SP3 i7 edition?

I would love to replace my desktop machine and connect to a new 4K monitor without purchasing the dock.

Hi, this is Pete from the Surface Team. The mDP port on the device can drive a 4K display – this is true for the i7, i5, and i3 – while still running the Surface Pro 3 display.

Are there limitations to the resolution or performance if daisy chaining multiple displays?

i7 and i5 will drive 1x4K, or 2x2K (while supporting the Surface Pro 2K display).

i3 will drive 1x4K, or 2xHD (while supporting the Surface Pro 2K display).

Are you guys going to be releasing a power cover for the SP3? I feel like with the larger size it could be even more effective or thinner. Also, I hope this time it will be easier to get a dock. Last time it took months to get one for the SP2.

I don’t have anything to share here on any new covers… in the meantime, the existing Power Cover is compatible with the Surface Pro 3.

Home Button Issue – While drawing in Landscape, home button gets pressed if you are right handed. Can be disabled but haptic feed back still on, Will there be a fix for this on release or is it being looked at? Is there a fix that also disabled haptic feedback and home button, while still allowing the other physical buttons to work?

Power Setting – Can we control power setting? What happened to High Performance Mode on Surface Pro 3 it appears we cannot change it. Is this a Thermal issue?

Home Button – http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/26m9cu/we_are_panos_panay_and_the_surface_team_at/chsdbxe

Power Setting – Not a thermal decision, related to connected standby. We are continuing to review options.

Will there be a new non-Pro Surface released?

Nothing to share here, but you can rest assured that we have a roadmap of products. You’ll have to wait and see what they look like and when they might be released though…

Does the omission of a non-Pro Surface during last week’s presentation mean the end of the product and Windows RT?

Windows on ARM continues to be an important part of the Windows strategy. The Surface 2 (which runs Windows RT) is a great choice for both play and getting work done. Windows on ARM got even better with recent additions including third-party MDM, workplace join and Outlook, which is preinstalled along with the other Microsoft Office apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote), with the Windows RT 8.1 update.

In Surface Pro (2), a big complaint of the platform was how few accessories were available for it (especially compared to other ecosystems). Now that the form factor, connectors, screen, and almost everything else has changed, what is Microsoft doing to encourage partners to make everything from cases to chargers to nifty gadgets for the Surface Pro 3?

We’re working with a bunch of partners to get great accessories out there. you’ll see cases more quickly than other things, but you’ll see mounts, protective cases, etc.

What is the number one thing you say when someone asks, “why the surface pro 3, and not this other laptop or tablet?”

Also, thanks for doing this AMA! Big fan of the surface (have an rt 1 and still love it despite its relative age) and if I had the funds I’d definitely get myself a pro 3 :).

Great question- high level, our statement says it all. It is the tablet that can replace the laptop. This is the one product you need to do it all. It acts as a tablet, and can be used as a laptop. It is great in both scenarios. There is no product out there that compares. Too many times folks are stuck in the middle, have to carry two devices, or don’t want to lug around the weight.

…This AMA is pure marketing drivel. Not answering the difficult questions either.

Tell me what you need answered… this is not a marketing drive

Just for reference, Gabe mentions this in his review: http://www.penny-arcade.com/news/post/2014/05/23/surface-pro-3

As I use the Surface for landscape currently while drawing, I was surprised to read the button is not disabled the same way touch is when the pen is above the screen.

Hey guys. When we made Surface Pro 3, we wanted a device that worked not only in landscape mode, but worked beautifully in portrait mode. This is super important for things like reading, annotating docs, etc. Putting the home button where it is in SP3 makes working in portrait natural. Now that said, we also invested a ton of effort into ensuring that when working in landscape mode, you don’t trigger the button by accident. This includes things like palm rejection, guard sensors that prevent inadvertent hits, etc. Mike (Gabe) is one of our favorite Surface fans, so we’re working closely with him to understand and address the issues he is specifically having.

Where is Surface Mini

Congrats on the Surface Pro 3 launch, I enjoyed tuning into the live stream

My question is what if anything will you do Re the slight Start button issue that some artists and doodlers have a problem with? hitting Start on accident with your hand, while in the desktop(photoshop lets say)

I came up with a sort of snap-on solution you are free to use, you can work around the kickstand I’m sure

Thanks for the excellent innovations(don’t stop), Surface Pro 3 is my next PC

Love the questions and the solution you suggested. As you’ve likely already read, we’ve said all along that we have a roadmap of products. Exactly what they look like and precisely when they might come to market, you’ll have to wait and see. 🙂

His main question was whether you’re planning to do anything about the start button while drawing, which you didn’t answer. I’m also considering a surface 3, and would love to know if that’s being ironed out.

When we made Surface Pro 3, we wanted a device that worked not only in landscape mode, but worked beautifully in portrait mode. This is super important for things like reading, annotating docs, etc. Putting the home button where it is in SP3 makes working in portrait natural. Now that said, we also invested a ton of effort into ensuring that when working in landscape mode, you don’t trigger the button by accident. This includes things like palm rejection, guard sensors that prevent inadvertent hits, etc. Mike (Gabe) is one of our favorite Surface fans, so we’re working closely with him to understand and address the issues he is specifically having.

Hello Panos and the Surface Team,

I was recently accepted to medical school in the U.S. and I am currently looking at devices to use in my preclinical and clinical years. The Surface Pro 3 appears to be the perfect preclinical device for note-taking and organizing information, but I’m likely to also purchase an iPad Mini or a large Android phone (Sony Xperia Z Ultra comes to mind) to supplement the tablet on the clinical side.

• The Toshiba Encore 8 was recently announced, but like many 8” Windows tablets, it uses an Intel Atom processor (which I’ve always associated with underpowered netbooks). Are we still a few years from seeing full-fledged ultrabook components in an 8″ form factor?

• In your presentation, you addressed “lappability” with the magnetized Type Cover. However, there are some who would still prefer a full laptop experience with a detachable tablet when necessary. Is there a possibility of seeing a keyboard/battery dock in the future?

• In my experience shadowing and scribing for physicians using an Android tablet, iPad and Windows laptop, there are very few chances to actually sit down or set my device on a table to input information with two hands. Is there anything in development for Surface – such as Word Flow/Swiftkey Flow, or even a hardware solution – that would make it easier for one-handed input while standing?

• There is no replaceable battery (which is expected), so I’m somewhat worried about how the Surface Pro 3 will hold up with heavy use. Heavy use, in my case, means hours off the charger and even more hours on the charger while connected to an external monitor. What kind of battery degradation should we expect over 1-2 years of using it?

Thank you for your time! I look forward to picking up the Surface Pro 3 at a Microsoft store next month (the education discount will save me quite a bit of money).

First off, congratulations. My brother in law just graduated from med school as well. We’ve had great interaction with doctors and the feedback has helped us to make Surface Pro 3 better in a clinic or hospital setting:

Surface Pro 3 is powerful – it’s a full PC so you can run the software you need, including full EMR applications for electronic medical records. It runs Windows 8.1, so working with 2 apps side-by-side is really easy, yet with all this its still incredibly thin and light. We know a lot of people still carry multiple devices (tablet + laptop) and we worked hard to make a device that would make carrying multiple things unnecessary.

As far as using the device on your lap – the new Type Cover adds a lot of stability and the experience of using it on your lab is pretty great. I’ve had this question a few times, and I hope you’ll get the chance as devices arrive in stores to try this out in a store and see how it actually feels on your lap. Surface is designed to be super portable.

On one-handed input – the onscreen keyboard is a very good option, as is the Pen. The pen makes it easy to use Surface when standing, on the move, or when you’re consulting with a patient.

Finally, to your question on battery life, I’ll take some language from another question above – “The batteries on our Surface products are designed with some of the highest charge cycles for consumer electronic devices. This means that the battery can get charged daily (5 days a week) for over 4.5 years and still maintain 80% capacity.” So you should be good to go for a very long time.

Best of luck as you start your career.

I love a lot of what the new pen does, but I never use Onenote in metro mode.

Would I be able to reprogram the top pen button to:
•Do something that doesn’t require waking the tablet ex. save a file in office or advance a slide in PowerPoint
•Wake up the tablet into a different application
•Use the top button as an eraser

Glad to hear you love the new pen! With regards to OneNote metro — we are making it configurable to launch the classic desktop for users who want that experience. With regards to general configurability of the top buton — at this point, we are not planning to make it generally configurable. Eraser on the top button — great feedback.

Have been using a Surface RT and switched to Surface Pro 2 at some point. I really like my Surface Pro 2, but found a bit disapointed by the lack of connected standby while Haswell processor should support it (and indeed, Surface Pro 3 is supporting it). Is there any possibility a firmware update bringing Connected Standby on Surface Pro 2 in a near future?

The Pro2 was not designed for Connected Standby. Pro3 is :-).

Will there be much of a battery trade off for performance in the i7 SP3? Also, what is the overall performance gain for the i7 version over the i5?

The battery performance is the same across the i3, i5, and i7. The i7 will see benchmark scores appx. 15-20% better than the SP3 i5.

Does the Surface 3 dock have multiple video out connections? I have a surface pro 2 (I love it) but it REALLY sucks to have no option for dual external monitors without daisy chaining displayport (honestly cant find a reasonably priced monitor that does this)

It has a miniDisplayPort and supports Multi-Stream Transport (MST) so you can drive multiple monitors.

What was the actual reason tap-and-drag wasn’t supported by the TypeCover2 until recently? I seems like a trivial problem to fix, and it was working fine on TypeCover1.

It’s actually connected to the version of Windows you are running. With the update released this April, you get tap-and-drag.

Good morning! I’m curious about the compatibility of the Surface Pro 3 with a 21″ Cintiq.
 
I’m an artist, and the idea of a mobile digital work station is amazing. However, i still need the option of the larger workspace that a full-size Cintiq provides. I’d love to be able to just hook the SP3 up to my Cintiq and easily transition from a mobile workspace to a larger workspace when i need to, but i’ve had issues with this on similar devices in the past; i suspect conflicting tablet drivers were causing stylus recognition issues, but i never quite got to the bottom of it.
 
Have any of your team tried this with the SP3? It sounds like a great replacement for my current laptop, but this could be a big dealbreaker for me. Thanks! 🙂

We have a couple of Cintiq Pads in our studio and they all work with Pro. Surface Pro3 is a full PC and supports up to 4k resolution out, the Cintiq drivers should all work. The Surface pen will not work on the Cintiq, since the technology is different. Great idea to use Pro for mobile sketching. I use Sketch Book Pro and it is a sweet experience.

How long does it take to fully charge the SP3?

SP3 will charge from 0% to 80% in 2 hours and to 100% in 4 hours.

There is a question out there regarding branding of the Surface pro 3. While the product accomplishes much more than a tablet and takes aim at laptops it is still difficult to pin down exactly what the device truly is. On the Microsoft website the product is called a tablet but during the press conference the term tablet was barely mentioned.

In your words how would you describe the Surface Pro 3 to a regular everyday consumer.

I would describe Surface Pro 3 as the tablet that can replace your laptop. 🙂

Hello Panos Panay. First of all I’d like to congratulate you for that fantastic presentation for the SP3. I don’t think I’ve seen a better presentation from Microsoft (Belfiore’s come close!).

I’m big on aspect ratios, and am a big believer of the golden ratio, and waging a war on 16:9. The 3:2 aspect ratio really got me excited, so I’ll like to ask some questions on the new aspect ratio that the Surface Pro 3 advocates.

•1) Why was it 16:9 in the first place? What changed?

•2) What are the reasons behind 3:2? Was it merely because of the similarity to that notepad? Or is it a Fibonacci thing? Why not a more familiar 5:3 or 16:10 then?

•3) Will you be encouraging other Windows laptop/tablet OEMs to follow suit with the 3:2 aspect ratio?

Hey.. this is StevieB. we chose 3:2 cause it works great both in landscape and portrait. it is a 1.5 aspect ratio.. vs. 16:9 which 1.77 is really geared more towards landscape. 3:2 is also more a kin to paper… something natural and familiar for people. Given we wanted to build a device that worked well in all 4 modes of input: it had to be wide enough to house a full keyboard, tall enough in landscape so you can see all your emails lists.. facebooks posts, etc… and it had to be balanced in your hand to hold it in portrait so you could write like you would on a notepad and touch the screen. With Surface we really try to build a new class of device that adapts to the tasks you want to do… that is why the keyboard works the way it does.. the screen is the aspect ratio it is, and function of the pen and touch. It is a perfect balance between productivity and entertainment. We mapped a lot of the available digital content… took their aspect ratios.. and the aspect ratio that was a balanced fit for all.. was 3:2. I really like 3:2.. cause when you divide 3:2 in half in landscape.. you get two 4:3 screens in portrait. So Pro3 in split screen mode is like running to 8” 4:3 screen side by side (1080×1440 times 2).. pretty cool! The other reason why we like 3:2.. is cause of its kinship with paper. 8.5×11 piece of paper is 1.33 ratio.. but once you take into account the margins.. about 1.25” on both sides.. and 1” top and bottom (various standards).. means an “Active area” of 9”x6”.. that is where 9×6 comes from.. now take 9/6 and reduce the fraction.. (divide by 3).. and your 3:2 ? . For the flexibility in experience we have designed pro 3 for.. typing, mousing, touch, and pen: 3:2 is a great choice.. hits a sweet spot in productivity, is compact and easy to carry, and adapts to both landscape and portrait well.

One more comment.. about the pro 3 screen.. it is a mighty screen.. Productivity and available content on screen are strongly correlated. Gary Starkweather, retired from MSR, did a great study that showed this. The pro 3 screen is 2160×1440.. the OS scaled the High DPI pixels by 1.5x.. which means the effective resolution is 1440×960.. I would compare this effective resolution (OS resolution) to other 13”-14” laptops on market.. it shows just as much if not more!! ? so a mighty screen.

Will we ever get Connected standby support on the Surface Pro? Right now I think that’s the only item I see lacking on the Surface Pro other than a GPS and NFC support.

Also, thanks for creating some awesome products, I bought a SP2 on release day and it was my only computer when I studied abroad in Ireland, everyone I meet is continuously impressed with just how capable the tablet is.

The Pro3 is a Connected Standby system!

Hello Panos!Gongratulations for the excellent product you have presented to us called Surface Pro 3!One question.Why won’t you release a white cover?I have the original white touch cover that came with surface rt but with surface pro 2 & 3 you guys did not unveil any touch or type covers in white?Why is that?Is there a proble with the colour?Thank you and greetings from Cyprus Panos!!We are very proud of you!

Not many people were buying white, so we did not launch it this time around. Thanks for the nice words…

Panos, I love your presentation style. Are there any books you’d recommend or general advice you have to share when communicating to a larger audience?

Thanks for the comment. My best advise.

Be genuine, have fun, and have products you believe in.

How long does it take for the Surface Pro 3 to come out of Standby when pressing the button? Is it several seconds like previous Surface Pros?

Pro3 is a Connected Standby system, it will wake up in half a second. If you do not touch the system for more than 4 hours, it will go to hibernate, and then deep sleep to go to single digit miliwatts. At that point it will take longer, like a pro2 coming out of hibernate.

I use a Surface Pro 2 as my professional laptop and Bitlocker is enabled for security. In order to boot the Surface I must have the keyboard attached because there is no option for a Bitlocker touchscreen interface.

The lack of this feature means that I can’t turn off my Surface if I intend to use it as a tablet without the keyboard.

Does the new Surface Pro 3 correct this problem?

Will Surface Pro 2 users ever get a UEFI update that allows us to start the device as a tablet with Bitlocker enabled?

Yep, Pro3 has you covered.

I convinced my boss to get me a Surface Pro 1 for work, and I have used it extensively every single day for the last year or so. How can I convince him to upgrade me to the 3?

Show your boss the bigger, more beautiful screen and the note-taking and he’ll probably want one himself. let him know that’s not fair and everyone should get one. some nice info here: http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-us/why-surface/for-work

“We are Panos Panay & The Surface Team” sounds more like the band playing at a local Bar Mitzvah than someone I want designing my computer.

We are not a musically inclined group (to my knowledge). We will work on the naming for these in the future. But check out Stevie’s hair in this picture, he is the closest thing we have to a rock star lookhttps://twitter.com/panos_panay/status/471336997785579520.

I can say I’m biggest fan of device even tho I never got to use it. Ever since the first generation I watched almost every review on Youtube. And I watched the New York Event with my unstable connection. 1 hours of event took my 8 hours to watch. One thing I’d like to ask is what happened to the dark color? It was really amazing

The dark titanium was great. We spent a lot of time to study and develop extremely scratch resistant finishes. The magnesium, Surface is made from has a silver sheen and we decided to have it shine through the semi clear top coat of Surface Pro3.

Will you be adding a feature to rebind the top key on the surface pro 3 digitizer to do something other than open OneNote?

Great suggestion… nothing to share right now, but keep the suggestions coming. 🙂

When Windows 9 comes around, will we be able to upgrade to it on the Surface Pro 3?

Yes. Whatever the next version is called.

Hey thanks for doing this Surface Team! Love my Surface 2 for home and work!

Quick Question: Has the WiFi Been Improved over the Pro2, Throughput / Range?

Pro3 has 802.11ac — if you have an 802.11ac access point, you will see much higher throughput.

How do I explain the difference between a 256 point pressure sensitivity level versus 2048 pressure points with a wacom tablet to a photoshop novice and will other companies like corel painter get involved in the touch interface? thanks

please see this explanation: pressure is towards the bottom. http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/26m9cu/we_are_panos_panay_and_the_surface_team_at/chscu2e

Are you guys planning on partnering or developing specifically for education beyond just the 10% discount? (Apple and Lenovo are really big at doing this, so everyone on my campus uses them.) I feel like the Surface Pro series is made for students in math associated fields.

An example (beyond partnering with a campus) is to integrate textbook lending with one note. Or to be able to better annotate PDF’s of slides and academic papers. Or better integration of math writing to math notation. Or exporting to Latex.
We also believe Surface is a great opportunity for students and education. We do continue to work with different organizations in this space and are excited about the potential. For annotating PDFs, you should take a look at DrawBoard – its in the Surface Picks section now.

Photographers use full size SD cards and for those with micro cards there are adapters, what was the thinking behind only offering the micro option?

One of the goals with Pro3 is thin. Space inside the device is critical and always a valued resource. SD functionality was important for us and has been since the first products introduced. Options are the adapter you mention or connecting your camera directly to full size USB.

Why hasnt a good wireless screen sharing solution been implemented in Windows yet? I understand that “WiDi” and “Miracast” are two options but I have not seen Microsoft mention these solutions very much and they are confusing and convoluted for the average user.

If you have a Miracast enabled endpoint (dongle, built-in etc.), you can project to it by sliding the right side edgie, selecting devices, then project, add wireless display.
Hi guys. I love your device and as an upcoming 3D artist/animator/gamedev, I can tell you I will definitely be getting one for myself, once I have the money for it.

I hope you guys realize how good a device you guys have actually made for portable gaming, because of the ability to run Steam. At a lower resolution, your integrated graphics are actually able to run most new AAA titles pretty well witch is extremely significant for such a small and light device.

Would you guys consider making this a more obvious choice when it comes to portable gaming? (Branding, Easing the progress for non-techies, showing off it’s power)

• You could make an easy way to run games at a lower resolution for a great result (Given the screen-size is so small)

• Help your colleges work on XBOX ONE CONTROLLER support for Windows 8.1/Surface. This would be a huge deal.

Totally hear you about gaming on the go. There are a lot of PC games that have run well on Surface Pro 2 and will run great on 3. We just had an awesome presence at PAX East, including showing There Came and Echo on the Surface Pro. You can also check out http://geekandsundry.com/shows/unplugged to see some of the games that we have highlighted on the device. We’ll work on getting the Xbox One controller working soon. Stay tuned.

Please confirm on the processor + GPU specs for all models – helps in decision making!

Here you go: i3 – 4020Y – 1.50GHz with Intel HD graphics 4200 I5 – 4300U – 1.6GHz with Intel Turbo Boost up to 2.90GHz with Intel HD Graphics 4400 i7 – 4650U – 1.7GHz Intel Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz  with Intel HD graphics 5000

First of all; thank you for designing something that is great for students.

I bought my SP2 in January and I’m wondering how much longer the SP2 will receive firmware updates?

It’s a shame I can’t afford a SP3.

We will release software/firmware updates when there are items that we need to address and roll out — There isn’t a hard date for cutting it off.

I’m going to start studying Law later this year and I’m torn between the Mac Book Air and the Surface Pro 3 (actually I was definitely getting a MBA until you announced the SP3 out of the blue!) Since I’m not likely to be doing huge amounts of drawing (engineering) or written notes (maths symbols.. which are not lawyer-y).

So what else does the Surface Pro 3 have for me? Sell it to me 🙂

There are a few significant differences with Mac Book Air that you might love, especially as a law student. Studies have shown that people learn more conceptually when they write vs when they just type. Surface Pro 3 allows pen note taking in a great size (legal pad!). You also have a touch screen for faster navigation. Add those to the fact that it is lighter to carry in your bag around campus.

• Can I turn connected standby off/would doing so conserve battery life?
• If I can turn it off, would I be able to create a custom high performance power profile

You cannot turn CS off, but you could extend quiet hours in settings, so as to reduce the hours during which the system is connecting to the network.

Also, know that Pro3 will go to hibernate and then deep sleep after 4 hours of inactivity, to preserve battery even more.

As an Outside Sales Rep I’ve grown to love my SP1. I’ve even grown to love the Touch Cover I use with it. Are there any plans to release an updated Touch Cover to go with the SP3?

Nothing to share here, but love the suggestions. Keep them coming. 🙂

Will the new Surface Pro 3 Pen (I believe it’s simply called the “Surface Pen”) be compatible with the Surface Pro 2? I imagine most Wacom pens are cross-compatible, but will the new pen be able to sync via Bluetooth and impart the “Purple Button” functionality onto the Surface Pro 2?

The Pen will be called Surface Pen. It was specifically designed for Surface Pro3 and currently works on this device only. We wanted to add in the “click to OneNote” feature and had to push the technology forward.

When Panos dropped the SP3 during the presentation, he dropped it onto a carpet. Do normal devices break / shatter upon that sort of impact with a carpet? How durable is the Surface Pro 3 really?

We spend a lot of Engineering time to make our products robust – and we do a lot of testing to verify these designs. We could’ve also dropped it on hardwood (slightly lower height) and the device will work great.

I will be a freshman in college next fall. What should I be looking to major in that would help me the most towards becoming a part of the Surface Team?

Hi this is StevieB.. we have many disciplines on the Surface team. From Engineers (mechanical, electrical, all kinds), Scientists (Physics, Chemists, materials, Optics..), Designers, Artists, and Programmers. I say follow what comes easy to you..what do you love doing. If you love building things.. choose engineering..If you love asking fundamental questions and poking at nature: Science. If you like design and have an angle for taste.. industrial design and art. Either direction.. Surface Pro3 will help you no matter what discipline you choose. Good luck!

Is the pen’s ‘click to open OneNote’ feature customizable? For example, can it be changed to launch a drawing app instead?

We are making it configurable to launch the desktop OneNote, in addition to the default Modern OneNote — at this point there isn’t a plan to make it configurable to launch other apps.

Does the Surface Pro 3 use Gorilla Glass? If not, what does it use to prevent the screen from shattering?

Ya it does!

Any word on a Surface Mini?

No

Thanks Surface Team! I have been a champion of the Surface Pro since the first generation. I have successfully converted three peers from Apple laptops.

I was taking a look at Google trends to see how the surface was doing compared to Apple’s Macbook Air and Macbook Pro. It looks like you have the internet’s interest “Microsoft Surface” is trending higher than the Macbook Air and Macbook Pro in search. Specifically when new products were released/announced. The data is only for the United States, graph can be seen at http://i.imgur.com/0NWToCK.png The keyword “Surface Pro” does not have the same volume as either, but is on an upward trajectory. Few questions: How is the team planning to capitalize on this? Will the fast product cycles continue? What is the team doing to make the Surface more enterprise friendly? I am pushing IT to allow the Surface Pro at a digital agency, no luck.

We have some great features in Surface Pro3: Features for commercial customers Enterprise Security

1. Use Bitlocker + TPM + PIN via soft UEFI keyboard (no physical keyboard attached)

• Scenario: Mobile workers using Surface without a keyboard 2. Disable boot from USB. Set boot order.

Disable USB port.

• Scenarios: prevent booting to an uncontrolled / hostile environment or prevent use of USB accessories.

3. Password protect UEFI settings

• Scenario: protect settings such as disabling boot from USB

4. Configurable secure boot policies to include 3rd party antivirus and encryption

• Scenario: third party security clients can easily participate in the secure boot trusted chain

First, I’ve already pre-ordered a Surface Pro 3 and can’t wait for it to come, so no need to sell me on it… (though I wonder if there is any way I can convince you to ship it faster?)

For my question. I have the original RT and it was really hounded by Wi-Fi issues. What are some of the improvements in Wi-Fi included with the SP3 and are the drivers better than they have been in the past?

On Pro3, the WiFi drivers and firmware are very stable and performing out of the box. And, you get 802.11ac throughput, with the 2×2 antennas.

Will we ever see a Surface product being offered outside the US? I loved the original surface RT i bought used but I had to buy a MacBook pro since I couldn’t find a Surface here in Chile and despite having the money to buy one I can’t afford to travel to the US to but one.

Yes, we will be available outside the US – almost all existing Surface markets this Summer. We don’t have a date for Chile, though. sorry.

Is there some kind of anti-fingerprint coating on the SP3’s display? If not, please try to do something about fingerprints in the next model.

Also, if it uses Gorilla Glass, yous should put that on the website, thats a big selling feature

Ya.. we use an oleophobic coating. OK. thanks.. we do.

Question for Panos: Which Windows Phone do you have?

I am using the Lumia 930. I love it.

N-trig technology is not support it by 3D software(like zbrush). don’t you think you just forget the artist on this new surface pro 3.

We’re working on testing Zbrush right now. Let us know what else you’d like to see tested.

Hi! Can you give us an idea of why the delay on the i7 and i3 models, and is there any likelihood of them being available before the 8/31 date listed on the Microsoft Store? I had a Surface Pro and now a Surface Pro 2 – loved them both. I use my Pro 2 as my main laptop, although I find it a little small for comfortable lap usage (it’s fine on a desk). I use my Pro 2 for,amongst other things, gaming, and am concerned that the higher resolution of the Pro 3, with the same i5 CPU as the Pro 2, could lead to some degradation in gaming performance, not to mention some resolution complications. As a result, I’m interested in the i7 models, but somewhat put off by their extended shipping dates. In any case, amazing work by the team. Surface Pro 3 is a thing of beauty!!

We are working hard to ship these as soon as possible – we have seen the excitement.

Does the surface touchpad have gestures like the Macbooks have? They have 3 finger and 4 finger swipes to get to different areas of the OS, and having touchpad gestures, while I’ve not used them before, is a good demo for the system.

Yes the track pad supports both edge gestures and two finger gestures for scrolling and zooming.

What is being done to fill the “App Gap” on Windows 8 ModernUI? For some apps, there is no Windows Desktop or ModernUI equivalent compared to non-Windows devices (the same problem exists for Windows Phone), so I am limited to other devices. Will this be addressed to work with companies/developers to fill out the top apps on other platforms and bring them to Surface devices both Pro and RT?

Surface Pro 3 will run full Windows desktop apps. What other apps would you love to see work with the Surface Pro Pen?

Is the pen accuracy better on surface pro 3? My pen is seriously out of sync with the screen whenever I get close to edges, making it nearly impossible to hit anything accurately if it’s closer than 1.5cm from the edge (like the X in the corner, to close a window). Apparently this is the case for more or less everyone with a surface pro 2.

The pen accuracy on the surface pro 2 really disappointed me.

Sorry to hear that. The Accuracy of pen on pro3 is very impressive.. see blog post: http://blog.surface.com/2014/05/get-know-surface-pro-3-pen/ The edge accuracy is greatly improved as well.. see the first picture.. which shows the error map of pro3.. very low. This is the best around now. 🙂

I’m a Microsoft Consultant for Best Buy, so is there any chance of the stores getting demo units early to drive pre-orders? I’ve managed to get a few but for some people it’s hard to justify spending that much on a product they have never even heard of or seen.

Demo units will be showing up on June 6th in Best Buy stores.

I suspect that if you looked at all Surface users, and figured out what proportion of those users have spent a significant amount of time using Blizzard’s products (World of Warcraft, Diablo series etc), there would be a VERY significant overlap. Blizzard has a newer free to play game that is really gaining a lot of traction called Hearthstone. It requires an install to play so Pro users can play it but Surface users cannot. Blizzard have said they are working on an iDevice port but what are the odds we could get a conversation going that would lead to Hearthstone coming to Surface? It would be a HUGE coup if it happened because the nature of the game is such that it encourages you to log in every day to play a little more, so having access from our Surfaces would be a massive “ya boo sucks to be you” in the faces of Android tablet owners… just a thought…

We are gaming fans here and being able to do full PC games on a tablet is pretty cool. You should reach out to Blizzard and tell them you’d like to see Hearthstone on Surface. In the meantime, have you checked this out: http://geekandsundry.com/shows/unplugged

My question: Firstly, let me start by saying I love the Surface line and I was amazed when I first saw it, because of how powerful the devices are. I have a Surface RT (1st Gen) and it was almost everything I needed for high school.

I’m going into 6th form next year (Year 12-13 16-18 year old) to do my A-level qualifications. For this I know my first gen Surface will not be enough. However after trying to bring my laptop into school on multiple occasions, I have decided that it will not be enough either. It is way too heavy and big to carry in a small backpack.

This is why I want to upgrade to a hybrid device such as the new Surface Pro 3. I was considering a Surface Pro 2 but the small screen didn’t appeal to me as much as the new 12” screen does. However, I know this is not the only device on the market that can fulfil my needs.

So my questions are:

1. As a student already invested in Microsoft’s ecosystem (with Windows, Office, OneDrive and Xbox), what benefits does the Surface Pro 3 bring me as opposed to another Windows Hybrid with Office included for free?
2. Is the i5 128gb model of the Surface Pro 3 powerful enough for me to run Microsoft Office software, Visual Studio Ultimate and other processor intensive software that I may need for 6th form?
3. How good honestly is the new trackpad on the Type cover 3? Because my laptop trackpad is perfect (because it has real clickable buttons), and the Type cover 2 is almost unusable for my needs.
4. Which is best, the black type cover or the royal blue one? Because the royal blue one looks so sweet.

Thanks for the questions. Few things I’d call out based on spending a bunch of time with students using Surface today. First thing is the device itself. It is super thin, much lighter than earlier versions of Surface Pro and as a student, you will love the note-taking experience. Check out some of the videos at the bottom of this page. These scenarios only get better with Surface Pro 3. http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-us/why-surface/at-school

The i5 is definitely powerful enough to run Office, Visual Studio Ultimate and other powerful software. If you missed the launch video, we showcased Surface Pro 3 running Revit (powerful building modeling software from Autodesk), Adobe Photoshop and other cool software and apps.

You will love the new trackpad. We reduced friction by 78% vs. our previous trackpads, it is 60% bigger than the previous Surface Pro. This is as good as trackpads you will find on some of the best laptops.

Finally, the best typecover is whatever color you like best. The blue one is awesome IMO, but I’m writing on a purple right now.

Panos – First off, you’re the best MS presenter by far- No disrespect to Joe Belfiore, he’s pretty great too. Pleasantries aside:

Ignoring the touch + pen capabilities (which are awesome and the reason I’m hopefully going to be able to preorder a SP3 for my job hunt this week!), how is your team approaching selling a great product that might be more expensive in terms of power/money when most people just need a browser and Instagram?

Personally, even though I’m an architect intern and I work with 3ds Max, Illustrator and Revit – not having the most powerful machine isn’t necessarily the most important thing to me but that machine having a fantastic build quality that won’t break and also an attractive design definitely upsells my decisions – which I definitely see with the SP3.

If you saw the launch event, you would likely appreciate the fact that we showed Revit on stage running on the Surface Pro 3 and we showed some architects who are using Surface Pros every day. They use these devices because they want power and performance, but they also want mobility, so they can go from the office to the construction site and not lose access to the models and info they need to do their jobs. Architects also tend to love great design and build quality. Our device is beautiful. I think you will love it.

Why did you guys decide to release the surface pro 3 so soon after you released the surface pro 2.

I have already ask about, how long you guys plan on offering the SP2 and it accessories (with no response). Why should I spend my hard earn money on a sp3 and it accessories when in 5 months(probably in 2 months) you guys will just decide to release the SP4 and discontinue or make obsolete, the sp3

Most accessories for SP2 will be available through this year, though depends a little bit on what retailers choose to do. Keyboards in particular will of course continue to be available because Surface 2 supports the same ones

Source: Reddit AMA Session – Photo credit https://twitter.com/panos_panay

Microsoft's Panos Panay will host a Surface AMA session on Reddit this Tuesday

Source: Microsoft
Source: Microsoft

On Tuesday in New York, Microsoft’s Corporate VP, Panos Panay introduced to the world a potential laptop-killer hybrid tablet device, Surface Pro 3 which is aimed squarely at taking a bit out of Apple’s MacBook Air market share. What we did not get to see at Tuesday’s event was the release of a much rumored smaller Surface (dubbed Surface Mini) and many are left wondering exactly happened?

Today we learned through Neowin that Panos Panay will be holding a Surface AMA (Ask Me Anything) session on Reddit web site next Tuesday, May 27th, at 1pm EDT /10am PDT where Reddit site users can ask the host any question and the community as a whole then up/down votes the questions so only the best ones make it to Panos for answering. The Microsoft exec will definitely face some tough questions from this crowd, including the ones about the Surface Mini saga.

Stay tuned to MicrosoftProductReviews.com and follow us on Twitter @MSProdReviews as we will be following Panos’ AMA session next week and provide full summary as soon as it wraps up.

Reddit AMA: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA

Source: Neowin

Surface Mini was a no-show, but it's still alive and kicking

surface-mini-concept-650x350
Surface Mini Concept by Nokia revolution

Yesterday was the day the Surface Mini was supposed to be unveiled by Microsoft…what happened? We ended up getting a Surface Pro 3 instead and the Surface Mini wasn’t even mentioned.  Everyone in the Tech industry was so certain Microsoft was going to  announce a Surface Mini that its absence from the announcement left them all surprised.

According to Neowin, Microsoft cancelled the long rumored Surface Mini device last minute.  The Surface Mini was believed to be an Xbox companion device in the past, possibly being named “Xbox Surface” and was allegedly supposed to be released in late 2013. It has been reported that the timing wasn’t right and Microsoft decided to release it the spring of 2014.  After a no-show late last year, the focus later shifted to a new type of Mini Surface device used and designed for note-taking, which was the one that was supposed to be shown at yesterday’s event and said to have been cancelled just two days prior.

Neowin reports that the Surface Mini was already in production with  15-20,000 Surface Mini’s already produced, and currently sitting in a warehouse somewhere just waiting until the right time comes for a new unveiling. The main reason for the cancellation seems to be the lack of differentiating features, and a fear that it may not sell well as the touch optimized version of Office is not ready yet, being set to arrive this fall.

Not having a touch optimized version of Office with such a small screen wouldn’t provide a satisfying enough experience and wouldn’t be up to Microsoft’s high standard when it comes to its Surface line of products.

It looks like Microsoft wants to get it right with this device, and as for having a low price entry device, the original Surface RT can suffice for now until Microsoft releases its first  mini tablet on the market.

Source: Neowin

Just In: The Reason Why Microsoft cancelled Surface Mini release today

Credit: Jin Lee/Bloomberg
Credit: Jin Lee/Bloomberg

It has been long rumored that a smaller, 7 or 8 inch Surface tablet will be unveiled at today’s Microsoft event in NYC. The same line of rumors also indicated that a Qualcomm ARM processor was going to be used by this device and that it was going to come with a stylus.

Instead, today we were in for a treat with the release of the much improved and highly innovative Surface Pro 3 – but what happened with the Surface Mini announcement we were all anticipating?

As it turns out, according to Bloomberg’s Dina Bass and Ian King, it was a last minute decision by Microsoft to cancel the Mini’s debut as CEO Satya Nadella and VP Stephen Elop did not feel very confident about the smaller tablet’s success in today’s crowded small tablet market.

“Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella and Executive Vice President Stephen Elop decided that the product in development wasn’t different enough from rivals and probably wouldn’t be a hit, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans weren’t public. Engineers had been working on the device and had planned to unveil it as early as today at an event in New York, two of the people said.” – Bloomberg reporter explains

Has Microsoft given up on the Mini project? That remains to be seen, but what we know for sure is that the little device many of us hoped to see, did not make the cut.

Source: Bloomberg; Photo Source: Jin Lee/Bloomberg