Tuesday, May 2, 2017 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Microsoft Surface Laptop

Microsoft (Web site):

Meet the new Surface Laptop. Performance made personal.

Mark Gurman and Dina Bass:

Microsoft has already cracked the professional and creative markets with inventive tablets and a desktop that turns into a virtual drafting table. Now it’s chasing another category many believe is Apple’s to lose: the $1,000 laptop for everyone.

I would have thought so, but the lackluster MacBook starts at $1,299, the $999 MacBook Air hasn’t been updated in 785 days, the $899 MacBook Air was discontinued, and the current 13-inch MacBook Pro (sans Touch Bar) starts at $1,499.

Microsoft set out to make a laptop with better-than-average battery life because students said they wanted a device that would last through a long day of classes. The trick was to design a machine with a bigger battery that was still slim and light. Panay’s team adhered to a “fail-fast” philosophy that emphasized constant experimentation. Fancy prototyping machines were capable of spitting out mockups 24 hours a day; the prototypes were delivered to individual designers, allowing them to constantly refine the design. Working with Intel, the team shrank the motherboard, the circuit board containing a computer’s main components, to provide space for the bigger battery. Intel also helped Microsoft make the machine run cooler.

Andrew Cunningham:

The Surface Laptop ships with Windows 10 S, the new cut-down Windows 10 SKU Microsoft also announced today. Out of the box, the operating system can only run apps from the Windows Store, though it’s possible to upgrade it to a full Windows 10 Pro install for free until December 31, 2017. Afterward, the Pro upgrade will cost $50, the same as it normally will for Windows 10 S users.

John Gruber:

I, for one, don’t find it the least bit odd or surprising that Microsoft has shipped a version of Windows that’s locked to their app store before Apple has done similarly with MacOS. That’s a fundamental aspect of Apple’s dual OS strategy. Microsoft only has one OS, Windows, so if they want to ship a laptop with the advantages of being restricted to software from an app store, they have to do it in a version of Windows. I wouldn’t go so far as to state with certitude that Apple will never ship a version of MacOS that is App-Store-only, but I would bet against it.

John Gruber:

I can see the argument for making the OS App-Store-only by default. I can also see the argument for an iOS-style system where it’s App-Store-only, period. But charging $50 for this feels like a shakedown.

It does. And I can see why this could end up being worse than choosing one or the other. But I think it might actually be a good compromise—and one I’d like to see on iOS. Fully locked down has advantages and drawbacks. So does fully open. A fee that people will think twice about, but which isn’t insurmountable, could be a good way of providing an escape hatch. Anyone who really needs it could use it, but most users won’t bother opening the door to untrusted software.

Update (2017-05-02): Nilay Patel:

All anyone wanted was a MacBook Air with a Retina Display, and Microsoft gave it to ’em.

Ian Betteridge:

Yep. Apple has failed to give people a proper replacement for the hugely-popular Air. Microsoft just delivered that.

Tom Warren:

“The performance on this device is absolutely amazing,” says Panay. Microsoft is using the latest Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, and claims the battery life will last for 14.5 hours as a result. Microsoft claims the Surface Laptop is faster than the i7 MacBook Pro, and it has “more battery life than any MacBook Air on the market today.”

Update (2017-05-03): Daniel Jalkut:

Another alluring aspect to the Windows 10 S lineup is that the most affordable computers will sell for as little as $189. While my understanding is that these computers are licensed, and not manufactured by Microsoft, I wonder if the cutthroat pricing represents a compromise on Microsoft’s part. To allow for computers this cheap, the OEM price for Windows 10 S must be effectively $0. Separately, Microsoft is offering the operating system as a free update to schools that want to update older Windows computers.

Marco Arment:

Apple did finally make the Retina MacBook Air we wanted.

They just called it the MacBook Pro 13” (non-Touch Bar) and charged $500 too much.

Jackson:

The lack of reliable Thunderbolt 3/USB-C docks means that I can’t use my 13” full time with only 2x Thunderbolt 3 ports.

ATP Tipster:

The 12″ is too slow for too many people and the Air’s screen is an abomination.

I don’t think it’s good for the brand for there not to be an affordable laptop for students and such.

The practical result, though, is that people buy the 12″ MacBook and find it too slow to enjoy using. The Air CPU class is special.

Update (2017-05-04): Russell Ivanovic:

The real news here is Windows S is taking on ChromeOS. Not that this shiny laptop from MS will steal MacBook Pro customers.

John Gruber:

Neither allow alternative browsers to be set as the default web browser.

[…]

iOS defaults to Google for web search, Windows 10 S to Bing. But iOS lets you change the search engine to Yahoo, Bing, or DuckDuckGo. Windows 10 S doesn’t let you change it.

5 Comments

[…] Microsoft Launches Surface Laptop […]

There's no problem at all with Windows 10 S. It's a great idea - for a cheap, consumer-level computer, where Microsoft gives away the OS license for free to hardware manufacturers, and at the same time protects them from malware by locking down the OS.

For a premium device aimed at professionals, it's an insult to Microsoft's customers.

CalvinAndHobbs

Well that was horrible! Just cause MS makes a device does not there fore means they "cracked" into any market. Many of the latest devices are interesting but will it sway anyone already on another platform? I don't. They made MP3 players, they made smartphones, and they even opened storefronts, yet history would argue they have yet to crack into those market.

I really hate these types of headlines cause it really paints how ignorant the people are of their history. Honestly, I want MS to kick ass! I really want a true alternative so I can have choice, but so far everything has been the same. Yes people throwing tired headlines too often enough prove to be wrong.

Let's be critical of the companies the produce our tech , to push them to produce products that really are useful and easy to use. Lead us to the future with a sense of wonderment and curiosity. Is MS there yet, not really.

if hackintosh installation would be possible it would make it even more insteresting

@Lukas

"For a premium device aimed at professionals, it's an insult to Microsoft's customers."

Yeah. That's the only really weird part, no? You'd think they'd ship this product with normal Windows, and reserve Windows 10 S for cheap-o devices from them or 3rd party manufacturers.

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