Microsoft took the wraps off new Surface hardware at an event in New York City, coupling it with an update to Windows 10 aimed at consumers and content creators. (Oct. 26)
Window 10 Creators Update
Windows 10 is getting a new major update for early 2017, known as the “Creators Update.” The update includes the addition of new 3D creation tools, live-streaming and custom tournaments for the Xbox app, and a focus on communicating with close contacts by putting “people at the center of the Windows experience.”
Note: HoloLens — a pair of mixed reality head-mounted smartglasses developed and manufactured by Microsoft — is a head-mounted display unit connected to an adjustable, cushioned inner headband, which can tilt HoloLens up and down, as well as forward and backward. The pre-production version of HoloLens, the Development Edition — targeted to developers in the United States and Canada — shipped on March 30 2016, for a list price of $3,000. On October 12, 2016, Microsoft announced global expansion of HoloLens and publicized that HoloLens would be available for preorder in Australia, Ireland, France, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Windows VR headsets
Along with the HoloLens platform, Microsoft announced its first foray into virtual reality with VR headsets for Windows 10. The headsets will start at $299 and run the same Windows Holographic platform as the HoloLens. While no concrete release date has been announced yet, Microsoft reported that HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus, and Acer will be making VR headsets.
Updated Paint App
Microsoft relaunched and revamped its classic Paint app with a focus on 3D. The new app lets users easily turn photos into 3D “memories,” export three-dimensional Minecraft creations, doodle in 3D, and make most anything an interactive object. Microsoft expects there is market for people who will want to view their creative work on the HoloLens or on a multitude of other VR and AR headsets. Paint documents can also be shared work directly to Facebook.
The Surface Studio is Microsoft’s first-ever desktop PC, and its 28-inch reclining touchscreen is something Apple’s iMac just can’t match.
Microsoft announced the newest hardware of its Surface hardware lineup. Surface Studio is a touchscreen all-in-one desktop computer that’s only 12.5mm thick. The displaly is a 28-inch PixelSense display, the graphics card is a GeForce 980M, and the CPU is an Intel i7 processor. The all-in-one is capable of up to 32GB RAM and 2TB of storage. The Studio also has a “zero-gravity hinge” that allows the screen to tilt down at a sharp angle, allowing it to move from a more traditional computer design to a drafting board form factor for drawing and creative work. Preorders opened October 26, 2016 at $2,999. Only “limited quantities” will available for the 2016 holiday season.
The $100 hardware accessory is basically a standalone wireless knob that lets users adjust a whole bunch of different things with a turn. The hardware itself is simple, but nice. It’s got a good heft to it and a premium feel, and it glides smoothly, without offering enough give to accidentally turn too far.
A new input device named Surface Dial was released for Surface products. The device provides haptic feedback and users twist it to select items from an on-screen menu. Surface Studio can also be placed directly onto the display screen for contextual software control. Surface Dial will be available in November for $99.99, and is included with Surface Studio preorders.
Microsoft’s first laptop gets a serious horsepower upgrade, with better graphics and longer battery life than the original model.
Surface Book i7
Microsoft is upgrading last year’s model to include Intel’s i7 processor and a bigger battery. The Surface Book i7 will be available in November 2016 for $2,399. Microsoft says the new model offers 16 hours of battery life, more graphics power and an extra fan.
Xbox Live Streaming
Live broadcasting is built into the Xbox app in the Windows 10 Creators Update. Streaming works as part of Xbox Live, allowing users to interact with their existing Xbox Live friends. Games can also integrate comments and suggestions from viewers directly in-game. Microsoft is also announced its Arena platform — a new feature on Xbox One and Windows PCs that allow gamers to create and play in custom tournaments. The Creators Update adds Dolby Atmos audio support to Xbox.
Included in the Creators Update, communications with “key people” in a user’s life can be done directly in the task bar. Users can drag and drop content to ease interaction with people in their inner circle — spouses, best friends, and family. Microsoft also introduced “taps” — similar to Facebook poke — that lets people send each other stickers of 3D objects as a gentle reminder.
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