Yesterday, Microsoft sent shivers through the devices world, providing something that only Apple had been able to muster over the past few years. Microsoft announced a reimagined, self-branded notebook, the Surface Book. With Apple’s luster notably dulling and Google continually satisfied with low-end and high volume, the world is ripe for a new media darling. It’s just interesting that the new hardware champion might end up being an old software company.
The march to launch proficiency can be traced back through the past year. It seems Microsoft has been silently putting together it’s “A” team for significant product launches. It was no coincidence that Panos Panay and Bryan Roper led much of the charge during yesterday’s event. Both have received high marks this year, with Bryan (Mr. Fedora) getting his significant acclaim first at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference this past July, providing product demo services (“productivity like a boss”). The event’s delivery wasn’t perfect, though, and Microsoft still has work to do. Who remembers the person that presented the Microsoft Band version 2? I remember she was nice. But, there wasn’t a standout moment, though I was probably more interested in this specific device launch than the others going in.
Still, the winner of the day, was the announcement of Microsoft’s foray into notebooks or laptops. I got a chance to play with the upcoming Surface Book yesterday and I have to say it’s a very tempting device – so much so, that it completely derailed my original plans. Prior to using the Surface Book, I was all set to just give Microsoft my money for the Surface Pro 4. I’ve used the Surface Pro 3 exclusively for the last couple years and know its value to me as a productivity device. Upgraded hardware in the Surface Pro 4 surely would make the most sense for my next daily driver. That was before we learned about the Surface Book.
The Surface Book is a solid device. It’s not perfect (I have a couple suggestions for v2 – which I’ll share later), but for those that love the feel and design of a clamshell laptop, it might prove to be the best option. Microsoft’s partners will spend the next week announcing and showcasing their new visions for Windows 10 hardware – and I’m positive we’ll see some fantastic offerings – but Microsoft has made it more difficult to look elsewhere.
And, if I’m feeling this, what are businesses thinking right now? A lot of businesses have already started deploying Surface Pro 3’s across the company, with the intent to start delivering Surface Pro 4’s when available. Where does the Surface Book fit? Will this cause the business to rethink its mobile device strategy?
While the rest of the industry went gaga over Microsoft’s latest device entries yesterday, I wanted to be a bit more thoughtful about it and put more perspective behind it than just specs, footprint, and knee-jerk praise.
Microsoft has something special going on, for sure. The company is successfully taking advantage of its surprising leadership in this area, while its competitors are attempting to keep up by producing Microsoft device clones.
It’ll be a few weeks before both the Surface Book and the Surface Pro 4 are in the hands of the public. I’ll have evaluation units prior to that and hope to have an honest review ready to help with your business decision.
But, I’d like to start the discussion now.
What’s your take? If a Surface Book exists, why go the Surface Pro 4 route (other than price)? Is the Surface Pro 4 enough to warrant upgrading a Surface Pro 3?