Looking to do an even better job of meeting the goal of providing a tablet that’s powerful enough to be your only device, Microsoft just introduced the Surface Pro 3 at a press event that was webcast starting at 11:00 ET this morning in New York.  Judging by the presentation, they seem to have come a lot closer.

It’s going to be available for pre-order at Microsoftstore.com beginning 12:01 AM tomorrow, starting at $799, with availability in stores starting June 20.

Some highlights from the presentation:

  • Thinner:  9.1 mm thick–”the thinnest Intel Core product ever made”.  The current Surface Pro 2 is 13.5 mm.  For comparison, an iPad Air is 7.5mm, and a MacBook Air is 17 mm.
  • Lighter:  it weighs in at 800 g (28.2 oz, or 1.76 lb).  The Surface Pro 2 is 2.0 lb.  Panos Panay, Corporate VP for Surface Computing weighed it onstage on a scale against what they contend are the equivalent Apple products you’d have to carry in your bag to have the same functionality, a MacBook Air 13″ and an  iPad Air, which weigh in at approx. 1830 g (64.5 oz or 4.03 lb).
  • Bigger screen:  it now sports a larger 12″ screen with 3:2 aspect ratio.  They’re giving in to the notion that 16:9 is a terrible aspect ratio for tablets.  I lock the display in landscape mode on my current Windows tablets, because portrait mode at 16:9 is just silly.
  • New kickstand: Microsoft coined a new word, “lapability”, which is something the older models didn’t have.  The new hinge supports the original
  • 22º original angle, plus the new friction hinge design enables “canvas mode” positions up to 150º, which is almost flat, and will be much better for typing on-screen.
  • New Type Cover:  now thinner, and with a vastly improved trackpad, which is 68% larger and has 78% less friction.  Sorely needed, since the current Type Cover & Touch Cover trackpads are just about totally useless on the current models.  The cover now folds and magnetically attaches to the bottom of the screen, if you want, for more rigidity.  This will make it much more “lappable” as well.
  • The optional docking station now supports connecting a 4K monitor
  • Enhanced pen input:  the new stylus is intended to feel like a pen, not a hollow plastic shell.  Mr. Panas explained that they went to the 3:2 aspect ratio to imitate paper (yes, Apple has known this all along).  Other pen tricks:
    • Clicking the pen turns on the device, so you can write immediately
    • Double-clicking the pen while looking at the camera image captures (a region of) it in OneNote


I look forward to trying one out, if I can get my hands on one.  Away from work, I’m perfectly happy with my Mac and iPad, but for work, I’ve always been looking for the one device that’s powerful enough to be your primary–or only–machine, and convenient enough to take everywhere and use anywhere.  This looks a good bit closer to that nirvana.

Surface web site:  http://www.microsoft.com/surface

Press release:  Microsoft introduces Surface Pro 3: the tablet that can replace your laptop