At its Surface event in late 2016, Microsoft surprised the universe with the launch of the Surface Studio: a 28-inch touch screen desktop PC for creative professionals. While Version 1 is still marching hot off the production line, we have some suggestions for Version 2.
Windows 10 has spread its wings across a range of devices, from phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and convertible devices, from a range of manufacturers and of course Microsoft's own hardware division, including the well-received Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, and Xbox One.
A selection of the best of these devices have been featured at a series of Microsoft Events in 2016. However, it was the late-2016 Microsoft Event that was to be Panos Panay's moment in the spotlight: the reveal of the lightly-leaked and still utterly stunning Surface Studio desktop for creative professionals.
It knocked people out of their chairs. Three times.
The first time was the reveal video, followed by the on-stage reveal of the Surface Studio, masterfully orchestrated by Panos.
The second time, was the next shocker, when the video was replayed, and this time continued running beyond the end of the first reveal, to show a single finger pushing the display from an upright position to a architect-drawing-board style position, down to an angle off the table top. Wow. Your iMac can't do that.
The third time, was the reveal of the Surface Dial, a Bluetooth accessory shaped like a volume knob from a 1983 hifi, that can be used as a tertiary controller for Windows features, and with app integration, used in a variety of image editing, video editing, and creative scenarios. Taking the Surface Dial even further, the dial can be placed on the giant 28-inch touch screen and react intelligently with the screen to display a radial menu for manipulating on-screen functions in Windows 10 and a range of other software use cases.
For its fourth and final act, Microsoft stunned the room by demonstrating the touch screen to be removable, and used on the sofa. No, not really.
Overall, the Microsoft Surface Studio is a stunning device that creates a new category of desktop PC, or any PC for that matter, for creative professionals and power users. The machine includes a 28-inch 4:3 aspect ratio multi touch Pixel Sense display, Surface Pen input, touch input, Surface Dial compatibility, discrete mobile graphics, and a Zero Gravity hinge for moving the display to various positions.
The guts of the PC is housed in a small box below the display, forming a base where the hinge can uphold the display.
The Surface team has ultimately out-classed Apple.
The Surface Studio is available now to pre-order online in limited quantities, and to view at selected Microsoft Stores.
Surface Studio: Version 2
As it is only available in limited quantities at this stage, we could refer to it simply as Version 1. What would we like to see added in Version 2 for general shipping to the public?
May we suggest:
Keep all of the currently-included ports.
Add two or more USB-C ports with Thunderbolt-3 connectivity for external hard drives and accessories.
Add an optical/digital audio in and out link for audio and video professionals.
Add a HDMI or Mini DisplayPort or Thunderbolt video connector for teaming up with a second screen.
Add Miracast compatibility for use with the Microsoft Wireless Display adapter.
Add a USB-C or USB-A port or both to the front of the base unit for easy connectivity.
Add a Surface Connect slot, to enable attachment of a next-generation Surface Dock. The dock could then host an array of ports as suggested above, and also be compatible with the Surface Pro 4, Surface Pro 5, and the Surface Book, giving each of these devices access to Thunderbolt, HDMI, USB-C, and more.
And one more thing...
A Miracast or Continuum-enabled removable 28-inch touch display would be awesome.
Microsoft: making computers great again.
Until next time,
XYZ Media Group