Microsoft introduces new Surface models

By Kip Kniskern | Posted September 23, 2013 28 comments

Today in New York, Microsoft unveiled successors to the Surface RT and Surface Pro, with faster speeds, thinner covers, better cameras and resolutions, and a number of new accessories. The new models, and some of the accessories, will be available October 22nd and will be available for pre-order beginning September 24th.

The event, which wasn’t live webcast, but is available now as an on demand keynote, featured Microsoft Vice President, Surface Panos Panay up on stage introducing the new products. While there weren’t any big surprises (Panay’s “one more thing” moment only introduced the new Touch Cover 2), Microsoft did introduce across the board improvements to the original Surface products.

The press release and blog posts on TechNet and The Surface Blog are up, with the full details of the new products.

Microsoft doesn’t seem to have learned much from their disastrous sales of the original Surfaces, sticking to their guns on pricing. The new Surface 2 (the successor to Surface RT) will list at retail for $449, with the Surface Pro 2 listed starting at $899, in 64GB and 128GB configurations with 4 GB of RAM and 256GB and 512GB configurations with 8 GB of RAM. The new Touch and Type covers have reverted back to their original prices, too, at $119.99 and $129.99 (Microsoft reduced the price on the original Type Cover to $79 when it reduced the price of the Surface RT to $349 back in August).

There are a number of new accessories for the new products: in addition to revamped versions of the Touch and Type covers, which are thinner, more rigid, and feature backlit keys, Microsoft also introduced…

Power Cover: not available for pre-order yet, and expected out in “early 2014″, the Power Cover will increase battery life on the Surface 2, Surface Pro, and Surface Pro 2 by up to 50%, and will retail at $199. In another stroke of marketing genius, Microsoft showed off the Power Cover in Zune Brown (image courtesy of The Verge live blog).

Docking Station: The Docking Station, also coming early next year, again for $199, features monitor and keyboard docking, and allows you to connect with an external monitor, Ethernet, speakers and power supply, and includes one USB 3.0 port and three USB 2.0 ports.

Next up is a Wireless Adapter for Typing Covers, allowing you to disconnect your keyboard from the Surface and still use it. Along with a new angle possible with the kickstand (now making the viewing angles “twice as perfect” as Mary Jo Foley said to me via IM), the Wireless Adapter should help to make Surface easier to use somewhere else than on a table.

Also available are an Arc Touch Mouse – Surface Edition, and a car charger with USB port, and a kind of bizarre “Surface Music Kit” that turns the Surface into a remix machine, and supposedly is meant to show off the extensible capabilities of the detachable keyboard interface (if Microsoft can’t sell the Surface, we can’t imagine the tiny fraction of the market that would be interested in such a device is going to help much). You can check out more from http://www.surfaceremixproject.com/

Microsoft is also hoping to sweeten the deal by bundling some of its services with the Surface. In addition to Office, which comes with Surface 2 (as it did with Surface RT), Microsoft is also including “value-added services“:

To help people get the most out of Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, customers purchasing either device will receive free Skype calling to landlines in more than 60 countries for one year, unlimited Skype WiFi on their Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2 at more than 2 million hot spots worldwide for one year, and 200 GB of free SkyDrive storage for two years.

The lesson learned from this event was that Microsoft is sticking with its guns, determined to prove that a market exists for a tablet that does more than consumption, at a premium price. So far, the market hasn’t agreed with Microsoft, with Microsoft writing down nearly a billion dollars on the failed first try at Surface. Will these new models, with new accessories, make a difference?

Posted September 23rd, 2013 at 9:36 am
Category: News
Tags: Surface
  • James

    I’m really impressed by the new models… and I love the new covers (especially the new music cover.. didn’t expect that!!!) and the new colours. I’m definitely gonna get myself a Surface 2 (I already have an RT, and was really impressed by it despite all the negative comments from people that failed to truly give it a try). The new commercial is sick too! :)

  • James

    I’m really impressed by the new models… and I love the new covers (especially the new music cover.. didn’t expect that!!!) and the new colours. I’m definitely gonna get myself a Surface 2 (I already have an RT, and was really impressed by it despite all the negative comments from people that failed to truly give it a try). The new commercial is sick too! :)

  • Brett Hinton

    Kip,

    It sounds like you aren’t convinced that it is going to make a difference. I’m skeptical because I think the audience that would be most likely to purchase a Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2 probably already have one (like me). It’s unfortunate that this wasn’t the original device. If the performance improvements (along with Outlook RT) had been available on the original device, I think the original Surface might have sold better (it’s reputation at least would have been better). I think the new Surfaces sound nice, but am skeptical that they are going to find a robust market demand.

  • Brett Hinton

    Kip,

    It sounds like you aren’t convinced that it is going to make a difference. I’m skeptical because I think the audience that would be most likely to purchase a Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2 probably already have one (like me). It’s unfortunate that this wasn’t the original device. If the performance improvements (along with Outlook RT) had been available on the original device, I think the original Surface might have sold better (it’s reputation at least would have been better). I think the new Surfaces sound nice, but am skeptical that they are going to find a robust market demand.

  • chinch987

    Surface RT is a great device (now proced right $349) but if local MS Stores offer an “upgrade” i’ll happily upgrade mine for the performance boost factor. The “lasts for several days” battery use is just awesome.
    Surface Pro isn’t going to be priced to “hurt OEMs” lets get real, not at this time anyways with newest gen Core i5 chips. I’d love to swap my Yoga13 (and it’s great battery life) for a Surface Pro 2 but the screen size & keyboards are totally different.
    The only question is why MS didn’t release a “cheap Atom” version or 8″ version but to hate or snark at the writedown is poor blogging.

    • SoThenISaid…

      …the likely answer is, Nokia tablet.

  • chinch987

    Surface RT is a great device (now proced right $349) but if local MS Stores offer an “upgrade” i’ll happily upgrade mine for the performance boost factor. The “lasts for several days” battery use is just awesome.
    Surface Pro isn’t going to be priced to “hurt OEMs” lets get real, not at this time anyways with newest gen Core i5 chips. I’d love to swap my Yoga13 (and it’s great battery life) for a Surface Pro 2 but the screen size & keyboards are totally different.
    The only question is why MS didn’t release a “cheap Atom” version or 8″ version but to hate or snark at the writedown is poor blogging.

    • SoThenISaid…

      …the likely answer is, Nokia tablet.

  • http://ghadzhigeorgiev.wordpress.com Georgi Hadzhigeorgiev

    I bought Surface Pro for my wife, counting on something really better to come with Surface Pro 2, so I buy one for myself. Now, I am hugely disappointed :(
    I cannot see any sensible reason to buy one, especially they’ve not done anything to improve the video card. It is massively, massively overpriced and this is definitely no goer for me!
    I think for this as another utter blunder from MS and wonder how much damage they will have to take before realise that the Surface devices should be affordable, not overpriced as Apple.Until they realise that the world will be flooded with cheap Android devices and PC market will be gone :(

    • SoThenISaid…

      …econo cars are so much lighter and cheaper than dump trucks. If you don’t need to haul 10 tons of dirt anyway, why go to Mitsubishi and tell them they should make Eclipse priced heavy machinery?

      • http://ghadzhigeorgiev.wordpress.com Georgi Hadzhigeorgiev

        I said that I was expecting Pro 2 exactly because I wanted something far more powerful on at reasonable price. What we have now is a high price without enough graphics
        power. So generally, I want not 10 tons but 12 and also saying, that I am
        willing to pay a bit more for that, but I am refusing to pay significantly
        more, for not enough. Using your analogyit is going from 8
        tons to 10 tons truck with fancy exhaust and marketing tricks (such as SkyDrive for 2 years, etc.) to sell it, where I preffer 12 tons truck with not so fancy exhaust and no marketing crap :)

        Anyway, this is my opinion, if you are so exited, just go and grab one. Happy Surfaceing :)

        • SoThenISaid…

          …so maybe “massively, massively overpriced” was massively overstating things? And you certainly confused your message by talking about wimpy “1/2 ton” Android tablets taking over the world in the same breath.

  • http://ghadzhigeorgiev.wordpress.com Georgi Hadzhigeorgiev

    I bought Surface Pro for my wife, counting on something really better to come with Surface Pro 2, so I buy one for myself. Now, I am hugely disappointed :(
    I cannot see any sensible reason to buy one, especially they’ve not done anything to improve the video card. It is massively, massively overpriced and this is definitely no goer for me!
    I think for this as another utter blunder from MS and wonder how much damage they will have to take before realise that the Surface devices should be affordable, not overpriced as Apple.Until they realise that the world will be flooded with cheap Android devices and PC market will be gone :(

    • SoThenISaid…

      …econo cars are so much lighter and cheaper than dump trucks. If you don’t need to haul 10 tons of dirt anyway, why go to Mitsubishi and tell them they should make Eclipse priced heavy machinery?

      • http://ghadzhigeorgiev.wordpress.com Georgi Hadzhigeorgiev

        I said that I was expecting Pro 2 exactly because I wanted something far more powerful on at reasonable price. What we have now is a high price without enough graphics
        power. So generally, I want not 10 tons but 12 and also saying, that I am
        willing to pay a bit more for that, but I am refusing to pay significantly
        more, for not enough. Using your analogyit is going from 8
        tons to 10 tons truck with fancy exhaust and marketing tricks (such as SkyDrive for 2 years, etc.) to sell it, where I preffer 12 tons truck with not so fancy exhaust and no marketing crap :)

        Anyway, this is my opinion, if you are so exited, just go and grab one. Happy Surfaceing :)

        • SoThenISaid…

          …so maybe “massively, massively overpriced” was massively overstating things? And you certainly confused your message by talking about wimpy “1/2 ton” Android tablets taking over the world in the same breath.

  • bricko

    Oh great…so MS goes from Epic Fail…..to Epic Fail 2……heh, not much they can do to save themselves from this Wndows 8 fiasco. Metro just may kill them off with the general public.

    • david90531

      Metro is beautiful and amazing. Don’t know how to use it? Go back to your MacOS then.

  • bricko

    Oh great…so MS goes from Epic Fail…..to Epic Fail 2……heh, not much they can do to save themselves from this Wndows 8 fiasco. Metro just may kill them off with the general public.

    • david90531

      Metro is beautiful and amazing. Don’t know how to use it? Go back to your MacOS then.

  • HK

    Can’t wait to buy the Surface Pro 2!!

  • HK

    Can’t wait to buy the Surface Pro 2!!

  • Tommy Havens

    Looking forward to getting Surface Pro 2 and accessories.

  • Tommy Havens

    Looking forward to getting Surface Pro 2 and accessories.

  • david90531

    freakin amazing!! Want one now…anyone with a sense of…sense will get Surface instead of you know what. Although I think the pricing will make it harder to compete with competitions.

  • david90531

    freakin amazing!! Want one now…anyone with a sense of…sense will get Surface instead of you know what. Although I think the pricing will make it harder to compete with competitions.

  • Manu Shukla

    A lot better form there http://www.mobilesbug.com/ older models, what about the battery life

  • Manu Shukla

    A lot better form there http://www.mobilesbug.com/ older models, what about the battery life