Microsoft is enjoying its moment in the sun among creative professionals. The unveiling of the Surface Studio yesterday was nothing short of a broadside against Apple. Here I sit wishing my iMac did the crazy tilt into a drafting table so I could edit photos, write and hell, I can learn to draw, right?
Its tagline perfectly captures the intent of the computer – ‘Turn your desk into a studio.’ There’s no denying the iMac is still gorgeous, but damn Microsoft. What the hell happened to you? It used to be blue screens of death, and today you’re making Jony Ive jealous.
Even the ad is spot on:
Did you ever think a Microsoft YouTube product ad (not Xbox related) would go viral? And the song is a custom cover of Pure Imagination. It’s a safe bet Microsoft doesn’t mind you thinking it’s Fiona Apple signing.
Surface Studio Features
The headline is the 28-inch Pixelsense touchscreen LCD. Resolution sits at 4500 x 3000 or 63% more pixels than a 4K TV. In a nod to creatives, it features ‘TrueColor’ technology and the option to switch color spaces on the fly – you can tap the screen and immediately change to sRGB.
Another standout feature is a peripheral. Preorders get it included, but the Surface Dial allows a new way to interact with programs such as Adobe CC. Use it off screen to rapidly move through documents and menu tools. Or place it on the display to see a color wheel or ruler immediately appear.
It might be a touch gimmicky depending on the response time, but damn it looks cool in the video.
Surface Studio Specs
Before you toss your gaming rig, don’t. The first iteration isn’t made for gaming thanks to its Nvidia GTX 980M (highest spec). Sure, you can game on it, but a GTX 1080 it is not. Its CPU is a choice between a 6th generation Intel Skylake i5 or i7. Memory starts at 8GB and upgrades to 32GB. Storage is a bit of mystery. You can choose between a 1TB or 2TB ‘Rapid Hybrid Drive.’ Does that mean PCIe or SATA?
While onstage the price mentioned was $2,999, a fully-spec’d Surface Studio hits $4,199. Not cheap, but if the touchscreen and hinge work as promised, you can toss the Wacoms.
Don’t Be a Zune
Ask anyone who owned a Microsoft Zune, and you’ll hear nothing but praise. Microsoft was too late to the party Apple was throwing, and it faded away. Damn shame.
Does the argument hold true for the Surface Studio being too late? No. Apple is just now giving the Macbook Pro line a refresh after years of basic spec upgrades. The iMac has seen the same. The Mac Pro? It’s an open question if anyone at Apple HQ knows the Pro still exists.
Microsoft is suddenly the ‘cool kid’ on the block. Go figure, but the product design, performance, and sheer presentation are tilting towards the company. Apple fights back today with refreshes, but there’ve been zero rumors in the realm of what Microsoft showcased.
We saw Microsoft fully commit to its hardware line yesterday and upstage Apple by being more Apple-ish. Still, Apple is Apple and it’s time Tim Cook put his stamp on the company. Crazy times, but great for consumer choice.