The rumors of an all-in-one Surface were true.
Well into Microsoft's Windows 10 event on Oct. 26 in New York City, Panos Panay, head of Microsoft devices, took the wraps off the Surface Studio (pictured), an all-in-one Windows 10 PC aimed at creative professionals. "This product will help you bring your ideas to life," he said. "It is all fundamentally made to immerse you into the content or to the creation that you want to work with."
The PC is powered by Intel's sixth-generation Core i5 or i7 processors and can be configured with up to 32 gigabytes (GB) of RAM on the i7 model and up to 2 terabytes (TB) of "rapid hybrid drive" storage. Prices start at $2,999 for a Core i5 Surface Studio with 8GB of RAM and 1TB of storage.
The Core i7 version with 32GB of RAM, 2TB of storage and a GeForce GTX 980M graphics processing unit with 4GB of memory costs $4,1999. According to Microsoft's online store, the device begins shipping on Dec. 15, but Panay cautioned on stage that it will be "available in limited quantities this holiday."
Surface Studio features a 28-inch PixelSense display with a resolution of 4,500 pixels by 3,000 pixels arranged into a 3:2 aspect ratio. In addition to touch input, the system works with the Surface Pen and the optional Surface Dial rotary controller with haptic feedback.
When pressed, the Surface Dial brings up a new radial menu in Windows, allowing users to access functions and capabilities like Ink Replay that recreate pen strokes. When placed on the Surface Studio's screen—its zero gravity hinge design allows the display to be positioned into shallow angles that resemble that of a drafting table—Surface Dial can be used to access color pickers, radial menus and other controls in compatible apps.
In addition to Surface Studio, the controller is compatible with the Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. Surface Dial, which costs $99.99, is available for pre-order now with a Nov. 11 ship date.
The Surface Book, which made its debut at last year's event, got its first major upgrade. At first glance, it appears to carrying over the same design, but according to the company, it features a redesign that allows for twice the graphics performance of its predecessor and 30 percent more battery life.
Another big reveal today was Windows 10 Creators Update (code-named Redstone 2), featuring a new Paint 3D app and support for 3D models in Office to help popularize the creation of 3D content. The update will also enable mixed-reality experiences via headsets from HP, Lenovo, Asus, Dell, Acer and others that are set to ship next year.
"3D creation is difficult today, and Microsoft is taking initial steps to bring it to the masses [in an approach that] Microsoft calls '3D for everyone'," Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, wrote in a research note sent to eWEEK. "3D creation is a tough thing to simplify, but Microsoft's attempt with 3D phone capture, Paint 3D and ReMix3D.com pipeline is the best effort I have seen to date."
Other new features include MyPeople, which allows users to add a handful of their favorite contacts to the taskbar and promotes drag-and-drop sharing. Finally, Creators Update will include Beam integration on both Windows 10 and Xbox One, allowing users to broadcast their game play.
Microsoft's move to court the creative community may be a shrewd move, according to Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research.
"Workflows and cultures in many creative companies are built around Apple products, and that won't change overnight," said Dawson. "However, Microsoft's timing for these new products is great, coming at a time when Apple has been accused of neglecting its creative community."
Windows 10 Creators Update is scheduled for an early 2017 release, but Windows Insiders can take Paint 3D and some of the update's new features for a spin now.