By christening their next Windows 10 iteration as ‘Creators Update’, Microsoft today unveiled its 3D ambitions as well as new hardware. Of course the Surface Book got a refresh, but there was a surprise announcement with the Microsoft Studio – a desktop aimed at, you guessed it – creators.
For the first half of the event, it was all about 3D. Including the 30-year old faithful tool of Windows, Paint. Yes, Microsoft Paint will now support 3D objects and the company really have made it cooler than ever to use MS Paint, in the world of several powerful alternatives. Productivity tools like Microsoft Powerpoint also got cool 3D updates and everything will be tied with Remix 3D community.
The other big platform getting a boost with this update was gaming. Microsoft is teaming up with its OEM partners to provide VR headsets starting from $299 for an enhanced 3D experience. We also got a glimpse of Beam, a tool which lets you record and share your gameplay with your friends and family.
With this new Windows 10 update, Microsoft wants us to ‘cut through the noise’ and stay focused on messages we receive from people who are important to us. Not only will a better integration with Android and Windows Phones is in the works, but there is cross-integration of email, messaging and other apps for your favorite contacts.
This might feel like a ‘People Hub’ which other platforms have also offered over the years, but none have been particularly successful. We only know that the update will be launched some time in Spring, with Windows Insiders program users getting early access this week. And yes, it’s a free update for existing Windows 10 users.
The second half of the Microsoft event took off when Panos Panay took center stage. The crowd responded with a huge cheer, signalling everyones excitement to really see what new hardware had Microsoft designed. The first of the 2 products was the refreshed Surface Book, which will be powered by a new Intel i7 processor, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M 2GB GPU and a 30% bigger battery.
Design-wise, it looks pretty similar to last year’s model with the Surface Pen attached to its side. Panoy stated that the Pen was his favorite gadget in the world and he’s seeing creators use it in many different ways already.
Pound for pound this is the most performant laptop on the market.
The other launch was a bit of a surprise – the Surface Studio. Another offering aimed at the creators, with not only the Pen but also a Surface Dial along with it. It’s hard to describe the Dial, which looks like a chunky hockey puck, but does a lot of cool things on the Windows 10 OS.
If you’re working with the Pen for doodling or highlighting, the Dial doubles-up to give you context menus and other options like changing colors while doodling, swap brush styles or redo and undo. You can essentially put the Dial on the screen of the Microsoft Studio where it gets duly recognized and the palm rejection technology at work will differentiate the input from your resting arm on the screen.
The entire setup of the Microsoft Studio feels like an AIO (All-in-One) PC, which is squarely aimed to take on the 5K iMac. But with cooler tools like the Pen and the Dial. Oh, but it’s not cheap either. It’s available for pre-order today for a sum of $2,999, before launching in “limited quantities this holiday season.”