So much for that January promise: Microsoft announced today that Surface with Windows 8 Pro won’t ship to customers until February 9. Additionally, Microsoft will release a new standalone version of Surface RT that features 64 GB of storage but no Touch Cover and a handful of new Surface accessories.
“The response to Surface has been exciting to see,” Microsoft general manager Panos Panay said in a prepared statement. “We’re thrilled to continue growing the Surface family with the availability of Surface Windows 8 Pro on February 9 and by increasing the number of places customers can experience Surface firsthand.”
I already provided the most complete preview of Surface with Windows 8 Pro anywhere, so be sure to check that out for information you won’t find anywhere else. But today’s announcement includes a few additional details:
It (apparently) comes with a Type Cover? Contrary to its previous assertions, Microsoft now says that both the 64 GB Surface Pro ($899) and 128 GB Surface Pro ($999) both come with a Type Cover. The press release notes: “The Surface Windows 8 Pro with Type Cover is available for purchase in the U.S. and Canada Feb. 9 and starts at US$899. Available in 64 GB and 128 GB, Surface Windows 8 Pro with Type Cover provides the power and performance of a laptop in a tablet package.” It's unclear if this is really the case, however. I'll try to find out.
Update: Microsoft changed the PR and it no longer notes that a Type Cover is included. Ah well.
Touch Cover Limited Edition for Surface. In addition to the currently-available cyan, white, magenta, black, and red Touch Covers, Microsoft will release three new Limited Edition Touch Covers in red, magenta and cyan.
Microsoft Wedge Touch Mouse Surface Edition. Microsoft is releasing a new “Surface Edition” of the Microsoft Wedge Touch Mouse, which I panned in my review, though it’s unclear what’s new about it. This mouse will cost US$69.95, which is far too expensive, and will be available wherever Surface is sold. (Maybe that’s the only new bit.)
Surface Windows RT in 13 additional markets worldwide. Surface RT will soon be available in 13 additional markets, Microsoft says, more than double the number of markets in which Surface is currently available. The new markets include Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Surface Windows RT 64 GB standalone. Many (potential) customers bemoaned that in order to get a 64 GB version of Surface RT, you had to get a bundle Touch Cover. So Microsoft will now offer a 64 GB Surface RT with no cover. No pricing information is available yet, but it will presumably fall around $599-$649.
If you’re curious about the slipped release date, I exclusively revealed that it would be February on last week’s episode of Windows Weekly. My sources had previously told me very late January, and then January 27. But the early February slip is due to the PC refresh cycle at retailers. As you may recall, Surface Pro will launch at additional retailers like Best Buy and Staples in the US, and not just at Microsoft Store, so Microsoft needs to accommodate their schedules as well.
Also, I’m sure many are curious about pre-orders. No news there yet.