Microsoft has unveiled the Surface Pro 3, a larger and thinner variant of the Intel-powered Surface Pro 2 tablet that it originally launched to compete against Apple’s Macbook Air and the iPad.
All told, the Surface Pro 3 is a beast, the device features a 12 inch-screen so that users can get more done. By comparison, the Surface Pro 2 included a smaller 10-inch screen. On stage, Microsoft compared the Surface Pro 3 to the heavier Macbook Air.
It’s very clear that Microsoft has taken the criticisms leveled at the Surface Pro to heart. Microsoft worked with Intel to make the Surface Pro 3 and it’s the thinnest Intel Core i7 device in existence. The Surface Pro 3 is actually thinner than the Surface Pro 2. Microsoft and Intel say they focused on making the Surface Pro 3 absolutely fanless so that it runs cooler and quieter than the Surface Pro 2. The Surface Pro 3 still includes a full-size USB 3.0 port and a kickstand. That being said, Microsoft has ditched the two-step kickstand and made it user adjustable. That means users will be able to get the screen angle they want without bulky extra cases and kickstands.
Microsoft has moved the capacitive Windows Button to the right side of the display. This willow the Surface Pro 3 to feel more comfortable when used in portrait mode like the iPad Air. That makes sense since Microsoft is angling the Surface Pro 3 as a true laptop and tablet replacement. Most users might work on a laptop on a wider screen but they read books and browse the web in portrait mode.
Pre-orders for the Surface Pro 3 will start tomorrow for $799. The device will go on sale beginning June 20th.
Microsoft worked with Adobe to ensure that Photoshop takes advantage of the Surface Pro 3 hardware too. The company showed off a refreshed version of Photoshop made specifically for touch devices during today’s event.
Originally, launched back in 2012, the Surface line of tablets were built so that Microsoft could have machines that users could purchase to get the core Windows experience without interference. At the time, many industry insiders compared the move to what Google did with the Nexus line that only comes with pure Android. The comparison made sense, especially because Windows device makers have become notorious for including a ton of unneeded software that bogged down the performance of machines running Windows
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that Microsoft has no plans to compete directly against hardware makers like Dell, Lenovo and HP. According to his remarks, Surface exists to push new categories and introduce new form factors for the Windows ecosystem. Surface head Panos Panay, made it clear that all of Microsoft came together to create the Surface line. He called out the Microsoft Office team and Microsoft Studios, the group in charge of creating first-party games for the Xbox 360, Xbox One and Windows devices in general. Panay also made it clear that it sees the future of devices as a marriage of tablets and laptops because both are designed to do specific things. He concluded that Microsoft designs the Surface for normal people. According to Panay, the conflict between the tablet and the laptop doesn’t need to exist if hardware is made correctly.
Since launching the original Surface and Surface 2 devices, Microsoft has continued to iterate on the Surface line. Late last year Microsoft focused on better battery life, a thinner profile and more power with the Surface 2. The Surface Pro 2 included a less power-hungry processor. Microsoft also refreshed the Touch Cover and Type Cover accessories.
The Surface Pro 3 will have its own covers and specific Surface dock. The new Type Cover for the Surface Pro 3 includes a refreshed trackpad that actually makes not using an external mouse for the Surface Pro 3 a necessity. This new Type Cover has a magnet that makes it more stable when used with the Surface Pro 3 in the lap. It’s unclear how much the Surface Pro 3′s Surface Pen or Cover will cost.