LiveBlog: Microsoft’s Secret Product Event Reveals That They Are Going To Compete With Apple: Surface vs. iPad

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4:56 pm: Ballmer is thanking Steven and Mike and Panos and their teams. “I was asked in the last few days here, “Why now?,” Ballmer says. “We took the time to get Surface right, and create something special. Because of windows 8 the Surface is a PC and the Surface is a tablet and the surface is something new that we think that people will absolutely love.” It sounds like we’ll get a chance to see and touch the Surface! Stations are set up next door so we can see the work that went into the Surface.

4:54 pm: Now Sinofsky is mentioning availability. Surface for Windows RT will be available in 32gb and 64gb, and will be priced comparably. Windows 8 Pro will come in 128gb and will be priced comparably to other Windows 8 Pro. Surface will be avilable through Microsoft’s physical stores in the US as well as select online stores. “Welcome everybody to Surface,” Sinofsky says. He leaves the stage and Ballmer is back. There’s tons of applause and cheers.

4:54 pm: Panay is leaving the stage and Steven Sinofsky is back on.

4:52 pm: “We really understand how to create a great typing experience,” Panay says. The technology behind Touch Cover is seven layers squeezed into the cover. Touch Cover knows the grams of force coming out of your hand. As you put pressure on the keys, the Touch Cover is actually measures the pressure, it’s 10x faster as measuring that than any keyboard you could purchase today, according to Panay.

Photo: Alexandra Chang/Wired

More Touch Cover love. Photo: Alexandra Chang/Wired

4:51 pm: Touch Cover has an accelerometer built into it, so it knows when you pull it back. You never have to take it off.

The Touch Cover. Photo: Alexandra Chang/Wired

4:46 pm: More on the VaporMg case. Panay is holding up his room key for comparison. VaporMg is melted magnesium molded down very thin. “Every micron matters within Microsoft Surface,” Panay says. “The best part of VaporMg is not about molding to .65mm, the best part is the smoothness and the finish.” The surface finish on the product is “perfect” according to Panay. “When you put it in your hands, it feels elegant. When you touch it, you’re going to want to hold it, I promise you,” Panay says.

4:46 pm: Panay is talking a lot about the kickstand. Now he’s talking about the sound of the kickstand. That’s a lot of kickstand love.

4:44 pm: When you look at this product, every line is calculated and built perfectly on the device. But the challenge: We had to bring creativity and productivity to foslk like yourself. We knew that if we didn’t put the kickstand in perfectly, it would be a good product. When you need the kickstand it’s there, when you don’t, it’s invisible.

4:43 pm: Panay says that we’re going to get to meet the team who made Surface, to talk about the design. “This was built for Windows 8,” Panay says. “It was improtant for us for the Windows software to rise to the surface. It gives you the best epxerience possible when the hardware fades away,” Panay says.

Photo: Alexandra Chang/Wired

4:41 pm: There’s shots of a factory where Surface is being built. “What we’re making here is really special,” someone in the video says. “When you pick this unit up, you visually understand it’s high quality,” another says. “When you’re able to connect some sort of user experience to this all the way to atoms, that’s when you see new experiences evolve,” another says. Rounds of applause for the video.

Panay talks about the Surface. Photo: Alexandra Chang/Wired

4:40 pm: Now Panos Panay is taking the stage to tell some stories about the Surface product. “I’m recognizing an entire team at Redmond waiting for your blog posts,” Panay says. Now there’s a video of the team who built Surface. “We brought some of the best people at Microsoft together to make this awesome device,” Panay says in the video.

4:39 pm: There’s another Surface cover called the Type Cover — it has a key switch that has a 1.5mm travel built into the thinnest package. It’s fully compatable with windows and has a full modern trackpad. This completes the Surface family of products, according to Anguilo.

Photo: Alexandra Chang/Wired

Photo: Alexandra Chang/Wired

4:37 pm: The resolution is 1080p. But there is also a display port, which gives Surface the capabilities of a full-power PC. Anguilo shows off Adobe Photoshop Lighroom running on Surface.

4:35pm: Surface also supports digital ink. Anguilo is demonstrating how you can write directly on a document using a stylus. The ink is being sampled at 600dpi, so it keeps your handwriting really smooth. “It almost feels like it’s writing directly on the screen,” Anguilo says. “The distance between the stylus and where I see the ink is only .7 mm.” The page also doesn’t move underneath his hand when he’s writing — Windows sees the pen and doesn’t take in touch from a hand. The crowd applauses.

Perimeter venting on the Surface Pro. Photo: Alexandra Chang/Wired

4:33 pm: The Surface for Windows 8 Pro is very similar to the Surface Sinofsky showed off earlier. It has the kickstand and a cover with a full on keyboard. It’s a bit thicker though, at 17 mm. It’s powered by Intel’s Ivy Bridge processor. And it features something called perimeter venting, which allows the PC to keep cool.

4:32 pm: Now Michael Anguilo is taking the stage. He’s showing off another member of the Windows 8 family — Surface for Windows 8 Pro. It’s for people who work everyday to create and design things. “It shows the same pride and craftmanship,” Anguilo says. It has a full Cleartype full HD display. It’s a combination of pixel geometry, rendering, and optical bonding technology that makes it so your eye cannot distinguish between individual pixels. It looks like Microsoft’s take on Apple’s Retina display!

4:31 pm: The tablet is built to let you use all of the applications you want — including Photoshop. It runs on the latest Intel processors. It’s also going to work on Nvidia processors.

Sinofsky shows off word processing on the Surface. Photo: Alexandra Chang/Wired

4:30 pm: There’s also a camera on Surface, angled at 22 degrees. Sinofsky is showing off how you can dock the camera next to Word Doc, so you ca have a meeting where you read off of your document.

4:29 pm: Surprise, the cover is a full-size keyboard! People clap and cheer around the room. The keyboard even has a built-in trackpad. With the stand and the keyboard, it’s a full-on PC. No compromises.

4:27pm: The display is made of Gorilla Glass. But Surface still has a cover, and it’s designed to be an integral part of the tablet. It’s a magnetic cover, “Click,” Sinofsky says. It’s not unlike the Apple Smart Cover. The cover is 3 mm, and combined with Surface it’s just over 12 mm thick.

4:26 pm: Sinofsky is showing off the Netflix app on the Surface PC. To stream so well, Surface needs WiFi — it has two antennas — so it provides the best WiFi on any tablet today. Today, when you have your tablet, you have to hold it, Sinofsky says. He’s talking about add-on stands and how heavy and bulky they are. He says that the stand should be integral to a device. And now he’s pulling out a stand from Surface. It’s integrated, and made out of the same material as the rest of the tablet.

4:25 pm: Movies and entertainment look great as well, says Sinofsky. It looks like there’s a bit of a glitch with the Surface he’s using and he pulls out another from the desk on stage. Magic!

4:24pm: It’s great for entertainment, Sinofsky says. He’s running Internet Explorer. It’s 10.6 inch optically bonded wide-screen display. Sorry, I was wrong about the 7-inch!

4:23pm: Surface is super thin, at 9.3mm, just thin enough for a full-size USB port. The edges are beveled away at 22 degrees, so the PC fades into the background. “It feels natural in your hands,” Sinofsky says. It’s the first PC with a full magnesium case, called VaporMG Case. It’s just under 1.54 pounds. The case is one of a kind and is scratch-resistant, and accentuates the unique feel of Surface.

4:23 pm: Just as we have reimagined Windows we have also reminagined the tablet. “We see a tablet that represents a unique vision, for a seamless experience for creation and entertainment,” Sinofsky says. It’s a PC that is a great tablet and a tablet that is a great PC.

4:22 pm: It’s a place to surface ideas, enjoyments, and more. “Let’s now learn more from Steven Sinofsky and the Micrsofot Surface team,” Ballmer introduces Sinofsky to the stage.

4:21 pm: This is the new Microsoft Surface, Ballmers says. And in his hands he’s holding what looks like a 7-inch tablet with Windows 8 Metro on it.

4:21 pm: An interesting video is playing with some crystal reshaping itself on the screen. And the words Surface appear. Looks like the Surface tablet is reality.

4:20 pm: We wanted to give Windows 8 its own hardware innovation. “What is this innovation?” Ballmer asks. “It’s something new, it’s a whole new division of computing devices from Microsoft.”

4:20 pm: Developers will be able to target the most consumers with Windows 8 than any other non-phone platform.

4:19 pm: We see the combination of software and hardware working together in our PC ecosystem, Ballmer says. OEM partnerships are essential to the reimagination of Windows. The ultimate landing point of the PC experience is through our partnerships with OEMs — HP, Dell, etc. OEMs will deliver more PCs this year: 375 million Windows PCs estimated to ship this year according to IDC.

4:18 pm: Our most succseful hardware product is the Xbox.

4:17 pm: Ballmer says he believes that the machine experience can be made better when software and hardware work together. Take the mouse for example: Early reviews of mice were not very positive, Ballmer says, it was so new that Canadian customs quarantined the Microsoft mouse for four weeks, thinking that it was alive.

4:16 pm: A video is now playing that looks back at the hardware that Microsoft has created. They’re mentioning the mouse, keyboards, and xbox. XBox surface makes an appearance, as well as HD computer cameras and Kinect.

4:16 pm: A video is now playing that looks back at the hardware that Microsoft has created. They’re mentioning the mouse, keyboards, and Xbox. Microsoft Surface makes an appearance, as well as HD computer cameras and Kinect.

Excerpts fromAround Microsoft’s Secret Product Event by Alexandra Chang, June 18, 2012 |

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Corey McCarren

Looks pretty cool, glad to have an in-depth recap of the announcement, thanks for this. I think if they can successfully bridge the gap where a tablet becomes as useful as a PC then they’ve got a huge product on their hands.

Chris Cairns

Agree. It actually does look pretty cool. I look forward to trying it out and seeing how it integrates with other MSFT products.

Adam Arthur

Agreed, it could be cool. They seem to have stepped-up their game with the windows phone interface, so maybe they’ve finally realized Apple is not their peer anymore. 🙂

Corey McCarren

I think Windows Phone 7 is a gorgeous operating system, it just lacks several features which should be obvious and standard.