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Microsoft Windows 8 "iPad Rival"
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19th June 2012
Old 19th June 2012
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Microsoft Windows 8 "iPad Rival"

Everytime Microsoft tries to follow Apple with a rival product it's usually a huge failure (zune, windows phone, etc.) but maybe these will last.

Microsoft Windows 8 Surface Tablets: Big Hardware Play

After days of speculation about a Microsoft-crafted Windows 8 tablet, the software giant delivered the goods Monday night in Los Angeles, in the form of Surface--one tablet for Windows 8 RT running on NVidia's ARM processor, and one for Windows 8 Pro, running on Intel's Ivy Bridge (using the i5 core). Despite rampant speculation, the announcement still felt a little like a surprise.

The Surface for Windows 8 RT weighs 676 grams and is 9.3 mm thick. By way of comparison, the iPad weighs 652 grams and measures 9.4 mm thick. Using a 10.6-inch ClearType HD display, this Microsoft tablet includes USB 2.0, Micro HD, and microSD options for connectivity. The 2x2 MIMO antennas give it the strongest WiFi capability of any tablet, according to Microsoft's Windows chief Steve Sinofsky.

The Surface for Windows 8 Pro is heavier, at 903 grams, and thicker at 13.5 mm. It also includes the 10.6-inch ClearType display, but Microsoft's spec sheets say it is "Full HD." It includes USB 3.0 along with microSD, and a Mini DisplayPort Video--so users can send video to a full screen or other compatible display.

Microsoft spent a great deal of time talking about the design of Surface, with its VaporMG case. Microsoft claims the tablet is scratch and wear resistant, and designed to be both sturdy and light. The display uses Corning's Gorilla Glass. The device also includes a built-in kickstand, made with the same material and integrated so that it doesn't stick out or add very much to the Surface's weight (it is .7 mm thick and fits into the device). Microsoft is also including a magnetic cover. But this cover doesn't just snap on and sit there--its underside is actually a touch keyboard, with a track pad and Metro user interface keys. The cover is 3 mm thick.

Microsoft provided a few other details: The camera is angled at 22 degrees, which Sinofsky said lets everyone at a table (presumably gathered around the tablet) be in the frame. And of course, the Surface serves as a good Skype device, Sinofsky pointed out. The Surface includes dual array microphones and speakers.

The Windows 8 Pro version includes pen input. Because the screen is optically bonded, it feels as if you're actually writing on it, said Microsoft VP Michael Angiulo. The Surface includes what Angiulo called Palm Lock, so that the image doesn't move while you're writing on it. The writing input is sampled at 600 dpi, for sub pixel accuracy and smoothness, Angiulo said.
Microsoft didn't give shipment dates or pricing, but said the Windows RT version would ship around the time when Windows 8 is made available, and the Pro model will come three months later.

The RT version comes in 32 GB and 64 GB models, and will be priced comparably to other consumer tablets. The Windows Pro version will come in 64 GB and 128 GB versions and will be priced like ultrabooks. Both will be available via the Microsoft physical stores, and online.

Microsoft Windows 8 Surface Tablets: Big Hardware Play - Hardware - Handhelds/PDAs - Informationweek
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19th June 2012
Old 19th June 2012
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I think it looks pretty cool. But, there you had Microsoft senior management, all flown into L.A. from Redmond hyping up a product, you are all ready for the great Apple-like punchline, "and it is $x and will be in stores now." Nope. Instead, you had Ballmer, Sinofsky, et al making a major announcement about a future product with an unknown price. Right at the end, they suddenly appeared small.

That said, I could put Office on it as well as use it for tablet functions. It has USB, so you can actually get your pictures and video off it. Use an audio interface. My interest is piqued.
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19th June 2012
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Looks cool. Lets hope this is actual competition and pushes all tablets to be better.
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19th June 2012
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There seems to be some good technology there. Many tech writers (who I'm not overlong on admiration for) seem predisposed to gush about certain aspects of the technology and interface -- although, to me, the Win RT visual style seems a return to an 80s aesthetic.

But, bottom line, I personally just don't see how a slate/tablet/pad would bring anything to my life that is not already pretty well served by my laptops. I mean, yeah, something like the iPad kind of make sense to have on the coffee table in the home mega-entertainment center so you can use the iPad as a remote and for browsing the internet while you ignore typically boring TV. But I don't have a TV and my 'home entertainment center' is my desktop computer. (And I already have a $20 IR remote that works well enough.)

For taking out into the field to clients or to the coffee house for work/idle surfing, my laptop works great. It's got a dedicated keyboard that's easy to type on and that's integrated with a nice, protective clamshell case. You can get real work done on it. It's not just for passive entertainment consumption which, games and FB aside, seems to be pretty much what most folks use their iPads for.


Bottom line, while I'm often intrigued by what the big players do strategically, a tablet -- of any kind -- just doesn't fit with many/any of my needs.


PS... Someone will at some point mention virtual control surfaces on slates. Well, I already have a real control surface with 9 faders and 8 knobs in swtichable banks -- and I virtually never use it. I learned to record on reel tape machines and real mixers (of which I've owned 10 of the former and 5 of the latter) -- and I have no emotional need/longing/nostalgia/etc to pretend I'm mixing on an analog board. (And if I did, there's a 24 channel analog board right by my side that I normally use for cue that could certainly be pressed into OTB mixing -- if I had any remaining interest -- I mixed OTB for the first 5 years or so after putting together my first 8 ch DAW in '96 so I know what it's about.)
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19th June 2012
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Microsoft "Surface"

Vaporware! I'll believe it when I see it.

I'd never buy the first generation model and I'd wait a bit because the price will come down.

The Intel model might be fun if it was available for the right price. On the other hand if it costs as much as a laptop then I personally would rather have the laptop and more connectivity.

I think the MacBook Air is an interesting product but for recording and production pros I don't see the utility for the price considering how powerful of a conventional 15" MacBook Pro you can buy and have a real graphics card.

I only mention the MacBook Air because it's the product that defined the whole ultralight notebook space. It's more like cute jewelery than a tool I'd use.

Back to "The Surface", no battery life mentioned, no price, this is just MS trying not to have another debacle like ZUNE (billions wasted on design and hardware).

This whole product rollout is just MS trying to see what people want IMHO. Some of the biggest names in tech press were not allowed to touch "the" sort of working prototype demo unit.

Hopefully MS learned from watching HP and RIM flounder around in the tablet space. It took Amazon selling at or below cost to get any serious tablet sales happening other than ipad.

If the Surface does not come out until the fall, and it takes a year for a second machine it is doomed I think. The tablet will be old hat and there will be something new garnering the attention.
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19th June 2012
Old 19th June 2012
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The full spec version looks like a laptop killer to me tbh.

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19th June 2012
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Interesting product. It's nice to see some ideas not copied from Apple, although the magnetic thing is pretty much like the iPad cover thing. Can't wait to know more about it.

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19th June 2012
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The question is, is anybody going to want this thing when it comes out? This isn't the first time we've seen Microsoft emerge into a market when they discover it's there with something that should in some way be superior. But so far, it's been the case that the public has already moved on or is already pretty invested in the products they already had.

The next question is what exactly is it going to be able to do? Microsoft is being somewhat vague (or they were) about what Windows 8 is actually going to be able to run on less than traditional computers. I haven't paid attention in a while, so maybe it's all clear. But I can say it had better be... some folks really like to research things in the marketplace, but typically, simplicity is better if you want to sell it. Like, who am I to contradict the millions of dollars of market research Microsoft has commissioned... but how many times have they gotten it wrong in the last ten years?

No one faulted the iPad for not being a full computer, because there never was one before. Now you've got the ill named "Surface" that is directly competing with other pad makers who will be using Windows. And who else makes computing devices at that price point that also use Windows? Oh, right, everybody. So this thing is priced at the point of a lot of more functional traditional laptop prices but does less, presumably.

Sure, Microsoft gets their cut either way, but I can see a lot of these sitting on the shelves, until the public concludes it's just another failure from an out of touch behemoth. This is my prediction.

Microsoft seems unable to fathom that people have pigeonholed them and aren't really wanting innovation- well, that's not the word here- people aren't wanting new products from them. Like, "You make Word, mother****er. Keep cranking that out, take our money and shut up."
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19th June 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foldback View Post
Vaporware! I'll believe it when I see it.

I'd never buy the first generation model and I'd wait a bit because the price will come down.

The Intel model might be fun if it was available for the right price. On the other hand if it costs as much as a laptop then I personally would rather have the laptop and more connectivity.

I think the MacBook Air is an interesting product but for recording and production pros I don't see the utility for the price considering how powerful of a conventional 15" MacBook Pro you can buy and have a real graphics card.

I only mention the MacBook Air because it's the product that defined the whole ultralight notebook space. It's more like cute jewelery than a tool I'd use.

Back to "The Surface", no battery life mentioned, no price, this is just MS trying not to have another debacle like ZUNE (billions wasted on design and hardware).

This whole product rollout is just MS trying to see what people want IMHO. Some of the biggest names in tech press were not allowed to touch "the" sort of working prototype demo unit.

Hopefully MS learned from watching HP and RIM flounder around in the tablet space. It took Amazon selling at or below cost to get any serious tablet sales happening other than ipad.

If the Surface does not come out until the fall, and it takes a year for a second machine it is doomed I think. The tablet will be old hat and there will be something new garnering the attention.
All good points. I bolded the battery life one because I suspect that's going to be particularly important.

One of the important features of a tablet (as I understand probable use scenaria) is its virtual instant-on aspect. You want to be able to have it lying around ready to use in an instant, but you almost certainly don't want to have to charge it more than once a day.

I also figure the more powerful Intel chip set model will likely suck battery faster. Apple made some big concessions in what the iPad could do and not do in order to get that long battery life. A pad with computing power more like a full laptop would presumably eat up the battery when in use.


Maybe the most interesting (I almost said 'exciting' and then I did a reality check ) aspect here is the new material they designed (or bought into?) for the case and the protective case/keypad. I've always thought the iPad looked breakable by virtue of its ultra-thin form factor -- and I've heard that that they have been broken 'in half' on occasion. I don't know if the MS VaporMG case material is as groovy as they suggest, but it's at least an interesting possibility.
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19th June 2012
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for me this addresses all the issues I have as an iPad owner:

I can run the exact same software that I run on my desktop on this tablet.

I can connect to audio interfaces/hard drives/ monitors etc like my regular laptop/desktop.

I'll buy one



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19th June 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norbury brook View Post
for me this addresses all the issues I have as an iPad owner:

I can run the exact same software that I run on my desktop on this tablet.

I can connect to audio interfaces/hard drives/ monitors etc like my regular laptop/desktop.

I'll buy one



MC
+1.

Ipad is pretty cool but one of these with could probably run Kontakt or pianotek pretty well for live gigs playing keys, and could make a pretty great little portable recorder for remote writing sessions.

Then if I can take it back to the studio and use it with a software kvm or remote desktop setup as a control surface for the daw it would be a hell of a lot more useful to me than the pad is.
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Competition is always good for innovation. I see this competing more with a MacBook Air than the iPad. Probably the future of notebook computers rather than tablets.
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19th June 2012
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It fills the gap between Ultrabook and iPad. Not only the Core i5 Ivy Bridge CPU is interesting, also the support for a pen, the very good keyboard (Afaik there are 2 versions available with different keys). USB3 yes.. very good.

Windows software will work on the Pro version (the Core i5 version), so also all DAWs! It's more a PC than a simple tablet. Afaik there are different versions up to 128GB SSD/Flash memory.

Important point of course the available RAM, the battery-life, price etc. But my first impressions are very good. I think I buy one.
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19th June 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norbury brook View Post
for me this addresses all the issues I have as an iPad owner:

I can run the exact same software that I run on my desktop on this tablet.

I can connect to audio interfaces/hard drives/ monitors etc like my regular laptop/desktop.

I'll buy one

MC
+1!!!
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19th June 2012
Old 19th June 2012
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I find it so funny that this was supposed to be something ground breaking or worth a week of speculations on something that would be greater than great. Microsoft really oversold the idea of something amazing coming. Gimme a break.
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19th June 2012
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Why am I starting to have the feeling the i7 "Surface" will be $2k?
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19th June 2012
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Its 2 versions. One running Windows 8 RT and the other running Window 8 (full version).

By the way, my windows phone is killer!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norbury brook View Post
I can run the exact same software that I run on my desktop on this tablet.

I can connect to audio interfaces/hard drives/ monitors etc like my regular laptop/desktop.
That's key for me too. The other would be price.
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19th June 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dysanfel View Post
Why am I starting to have the feeling the i7 "Surface" will be $2k?
No chance, the arm version has to be comparable to the ipad and android tablets and the ivy bridge one will be ultra book comparable.


MC
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19th June 2012
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Quote:
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Why am I starting to have the feeling the i7 "Surface" will be $2k?

and come with free Windows-8 insulated BBQ mittens because it's going to be HOT
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19th June 2012
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Quote:
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and come with free Windows-8 insulated BBQ mittens because it's going to be HOT
Did you check out the keynote? It's pretty slick the way they vented it, only time will tell how well it works but the idea looks good.
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20th June 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cinealta View Post
Competition is always good for innovation. I see this competing more with a MacBook Air than the iPad. Probably the future of notebook computers rather than tablets.
The fact you can get a (quite thin, something like 9 mm, I think) cover with an actual mechanical keyboard (yes, the throw on the keys is super short but they do move) will certainly help.

[Of course, now we really are talking about something not at all unlike my running joke of the last few years: that I'm waiting for a slate/pad with an integrated clamshell protective case and a mechanical keyboard. ]


And the fact that you can run full Windows desktop applications in the W8 model is a big deal that takes it above the previously limited slate/netbook capabilities.

It's all... interesting
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20th June 2012
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Fail.
In other words you didn't actually read the article.
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20th June 2012
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As a potential laptop replacement, the fact that you can replace the keyboard is a definite bonus.
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Another "good only on paper" niche device for Apple haters.

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20th June 2012
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Another "good only on paper" niche device for Apple haters.
The real world is not divided between apple lovers and apple haters.
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I, for one am itching for some decent competition to Apple - I've used them for over 20 years and have fallen heavily out of love over the whole Nvidia GPU debacle. As long as I can get something compatible with most of what I use, that'll be fine. Wouldn't even mind ditching logic.
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20th June 2012
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I remember MS already putting out a Surface right after the first iPad hit the market and it bombed terribly. MS doesn't have a good track record playing catch up with Apple (windows phone, zune). They need to innovate, not follow. They did a great job with Xbox 360 though
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20th June 2012
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I remember MS already putting out a Surface right after the first iPad hit the market and it bombed terribly. MS doesn't have a good track record playing catch up with Apple (windows phone, zune). They need to innovate, not follow. They did a great job with Xbox 360 though
You remember that wrong.Microsoft presented a tablet pc around 2001-2002.Nobody wanted one.Then apple presented the ipad 1.Everybody shat themselves in amazement.....funny how that works eh.

This new Windows 8 pad is very Interesting for me as i can run any software i want on it.
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Quote:
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You remember that wrong.Microsoft presented a tablet pc around 2001-2002.Nobody wanted one.Then apple presented the ipad 1.Everybody shat themselves in amazement.....funny how that works eh.

This new Windows 8 pad is very Interesting for me as i can run any software i want on it.
Oh so MS bungled it and waited for Apple to show them how to do it right

MS will do better this time.
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