Microsoft's fall 2022 Surface event has just wrapped! It was a jam-packed event with three new Surface PCs, a handful of new accessories, and a smattering of new apps and services for Microsoft 365 subscribers. Here's a run-down of all the announcements from the event!
The company says many of the new devices and accessories will begin shipping on October 25 in "select markets," with pre-orders live now.
Surface Pro 9
Top billing at the event was the new Surface Pro 9, which incorporates both Intel 12th-gen and ARM-based Microsoft SQ3 chips in the same product line. Gone is the Surface Pro X, and in its place is a 5G version of the Surface Pro 9. The Microsoft SQ3 on the inside is based on the Snapdragon 8cx Gen3, and delivers big performance improvements over the Surface Pro X.
The Surface Pro 9 with 5G features an NPU (neural processing unit) which delivers clever AI effects natively within Windows 11. Using the NPU, users will be able to enable camera and microphone effects such as portrait background blur, voice focus and voice clarify, and automatic camera framing in any app, enabled at a system-wide level.
The Intel variant doesn't include an NPU, so it misses out on many of those features. On the inside, we've got a 12th-gen U-series processor, which offers up to 50% more performance compared to the 11th-generation chips found in the Surface Pro 8. The Intel Surface Pro 9 is also available in a wider variety of colors, including two new colors that go by the name of Sapphire and Forest.
There's even a special edition 10th anniversary Surface Pro 9, which was designed in partnership with Liberty and features a laser-engraved floral pattern with a matching Type Cover. It's a stunning device and one that commemorates the anniversary very nicely.
Pre-orders are live now, with pricing starting at $999. You can learn more about the new Surface Pro 9 here.
The Surface Pro 9 family comes in either Intel or Arm flavor this year, so be sure to pick the right silicon for the job.
Surface Laptop 5
A new version of the Surface Laptop was also announced at the event, though the updates here are very minor. We get a new Sage green colorway, which matches that of the Surface Laptop Go 2 which launched earlier this year. Design-wise, everything else remains the same.
The changes are on the inside, with new Intel 12th-gen U-series chips at the helm. We also get Thunderbolt 4 support included for the first time on a Surface Laptop, and the device is now also Secured-Core PC certified. Microsoft also touts improvements to the camera and mics for better Teams conferencing, as it does every year.
Curiously, Microsoft has omitted AMD from the line-up this year. Microsoft has included special "Surface Edition" AMD Ryzen chip options with the Surface Laptop since 2019, but the Surface Laptop 5 is the first Surface Laptop since the Surface Laptop 3 to not include these.
When asked, Microsoft issued the following statement regarding this topic:
"With every product and with the goal of delighting customers, we select the right components for the form, scenarios, and customer we envision. It is a deliberate process whereby we work closely with our partners to tune and perfect the overall experience. For this product, we are excited about the 12th Gen processors from Intel. Built on the Intel® Evo™ platform, this chipset will help Surface Laptop 5 to achieve the perfect balance of style and power. This balance has consistently led to Surface Laptop being our most loved Surface device."
Pre-orders are live now, with pricing starting at $999. You can learn more about the new Surface Laptop 5 here.
The Surface Laptop 5 gets a modest upgrade from the prior generation. You'll get new Intel CPUs, Thunderbolt 4 support, and Intel Evo branding this time around along with a small bump in battery life. Choose between two screen sizes: 13.5 and 15 inches.
Surface Studio 2+
It's been four long years, but Microsoft has finally updated the Surface Studio with a new version. Dubbed the Surface Studio 2+, this is a very iterative upgrade for the Surface Studio line, feauturing the same design that the original Surface Studio shipped with back in 2016, but with more powerful (yet still outdated) specs.
On the inside, the Surface Studio 2+ is rocking an Intel 11th-gen Core i7-11370H, and NVIDIA RTX 3060 Laptop GPU. This offers twice the performance over the older Surface Studio 2 with its measly 7th-generation chip, all in the same thermal package which is great to see.
But on paper, these specs are decidedly last gen. Less so on the GPU side, although RTX 40XX series GPUs are just around the corner. Other improvements to the Surface Studio 2+ include the addition of three Thunderbolt 4-enabled USB-C ports on the back, and the removal of the SD card reader.
The display is now also Dolby Vision certified and features an improved camera and mic setup for Teams conferencing. There's also only one configuration available this time around, that being one with 32GB RAM and 1TB storage.
Pre-orders are live now, with a price tag of $4,499. Learn more about the Surface Studio 2+ here!
A huge GPU upgrade makes the Surface Studio 2+ more attractive to content creators and those looking for a future-proof all-in-one desktop this year. The Sudio 2+ maintains Microsoft's iconic desktop design.
Microsoft Audio Dock
The new Microsoft Audio Dock was somewhat of a surprise unveiling, being a unique take on the traditional PC docking experience. It's a premium audio speaker, good for music listening and Teams conferencing, that also happens to include a fully featured docking experience on the back side, allowing you to connect a PC up to monitors and other peripherals.
On the back, it has an HDMI 2.0 port, two USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 ports, and one USB-A 3.2 port. It also supports power passthrough up to 60W, which should help keep your PC charged when connected to the dock. Audio-wise, on the inside, we have a 15-watt woofer and two 5-watt tweeters, which Microsoft says offers multi-dimensional, room-filling sound and deep bass for music and... meetings of course.
It has a few dedicated controls along the top, including a dedicated Teams button, mute button, and volume buttons. This is certainly one of the more weirder accessories coming out of Microsoft this year, but it's also pretty awesome to see Microsoft investing in audio peripherals outside of headsets.
Pre-orders are live now, with a pricing of $250. Learn more about the Audio Dock
Enjoy higher fidelity audio and music while simultaneously connecting additional peripherals and managing cable clutter on your desk with Microsoft's new Audio Dock. The Microsoft Audio Dock integrates a USB hub with pass-through charging and a built-in speaker into a simple solution.
Alongside the Audio Dock announcement was a new Teams remote peripheral known as the Microsoft Presenter+. What is this thing? Well, it's a remote that lets you control your PowerPoint presentations, point and highlight things on screen, and mute/unmute yourself with the click of a button.
It works up to 32 feet away, and has up to 6 days of battery life on a single charge. It's also certified for Microsoft Teams, and has programmable buttons that lets you customize what the buttons do within specific apps. It also comes with a neat USB-C charger that props the remote up when not in use.
Pre-orders are live now, with a price tag of $79. Learn more about the Microsoft Presenter+ here.
Microsoft Adaptive Accessories
The Microsoft Adaptive Accessories were not a new unveiling at this event, as they were announced earlier this year. But, did announce that the accessories would be generally available alongside the new Surface hardware shipping on October 25. So that's awesome. Pricing for the accessories range from $15 to $45, so pretty affordable too.
Microsoft Designer is a new graphics design app with AI capabilities built in. Powered by DALLE-2 technology by OpenAI, users can create unique visuals and graphics just by simply typing in what they want to see in their project. It's a crazy technology, and makes creative tasks and projects accessible to even more people, including those who aren't familiar with graphics and art creation.
Microsoft Bing Image Creator
The same AI-based DALL-E 2 technology by OpenAI is also coming to Microsoft Bing. Users will be able to generate images just by typing in a few keywords. Microsoft says it's working with OpenAI to ensure that generated results aren't offensive, and that the service will continue to evolve over time. It's launching in limited preview in the coming months.
Lastly, Microsoft really wants to highlight the many apps and services it has under the Microsoft 365 umbrella that are designed to help consumers create content. With Clipchamp, Designer, Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, and many more, the new Microsoft Create website is designed to bring all those services together in one big discoverable place.
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