UPDATE: One item that wasn't immediately clear in this morning's event was the precise processor and GPU contained in the Surface Pro 2. As reported by PCMag.com, "The Surface Pro 2 comes with an Intel Core i5-4200U processor, up a generation from the Intel Core i5-3317U processor found in the older Surface Pro. The i5-4200U has improved Intel HD Graphics 4400, which leads to better 3D gaming performance on the World of Warcraft demo that was playing on the preview unit (8GB memory, 256GB storage, $1,299) we tried out. "
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Microsoft Surface Vice-President Panos Panay officially unveiled the Surface Pro 2 this morning in New York City and confirmed all the news we've been reporting for the last couple of weeks.
The Surface Pro 2 remains physically unchanged from its predecessor except for an adjustable two position kickstand, now improved for use on one's lap. Boasting 50% greater color accuracy, Dolby audio speakers, graphics performance reportedly increased 50% and overall speed is up 20%.
Panay showcased the speed and processing improvements by manipulating 6K raw video from a Red camera in real time.
Internally, the Surface Pro 2 will house an Intel Core i5 fourth generation (Haswell) processor. Panay affirmed this new processor will yield 75% better battery life and lower heat generation than the first gen model. Four configurations are available: 4 GB/64 GB, 4 GB/128 GB, 8 GB/256 GB and 8 GB/512 GB.
New devices will start shipping Oct. 22, to coincide with the release of Windows 8.1. Pre-orders start tomorrow Sept. 24 8 AM ET.
The Surface Pro will continue to start at $799. Surface Pro 2 will start at $899 for a 64 GB version. Mary Jo Foley reported earlier today that pricing for the other models is $999, $1,299 and $1,799, respectively.
Though I initially missed it while watching the various live blogs, Microsoft also announced a wireless adapter for touch covers, which addresses one of my principle pet peeves. Now you can cradle your tablet while you draw and the keyboard cover will continue to work wirelessly via bluetooth, so you can type the occasional hotkey.
Microsoft is offering 200 GB of SkyDrive free for two years and a "Best of Skype" service with all Surface devices. This includes free international calling and access to Skype wifi hotspots for one year.
Surface Pro and Surface 2 peripherals announced were:
Type Cover 2 in pink, blue, purple and black, 1 mm thinner than original with backlit keys. Proximity sensor detects when you're about to use it.
Touch Cover 2 also backlit and 1 mm thinner and lighter than previous version. The touch cover has much higher resolution sensors than original (1092 vs. 80) and features predictive typing. Both new covers will work with existing products.
Surface Remix Project is an experimental multimedia touch cover with pressure sensitivity that might be interesting to use in conjunction with paint programs. Microsoft showed off the cover in conjunction with a music mixing app.
Surface Power Cover will include a built-in battery that will extend the battery life of Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 devices by 2.5 times!
Surface Docking Station, coming in "early 2014" will work with Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 models only. It will power two monitors up to 384x2160 and includes one USB 3 and three USB 2 ports, a Mini DisplayPort, Ethernet, Audio In and Out and Power.
Additionally Microsoft spent a lot of time unveiling the Surface 2, the replacement for the poor selling Surface RT.
"Lighter, thinner and faster," the Surface 2 is silver magnesium. The Surface 2 is powered by a Tegra 4 CPU and ships with 4GB of RAM. It also features an adjustable two-position kickstand, and upgraded 1920 x 1080, 10.6-inch multi-touch display. Battery life continues to be rated at 8 hours.
The 32GB Surface 2 will retail for $449, while the original Surface RT will sell for $349 while supplies last. A 64 GB Surface 2 will start at $599.
Full specs from Microsoft press release below:
• Surface 2
- Powered by an NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor, making apps run faster and smoother and increasing battery life to up to 10 hours for video playback
- 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD display now renders 1080p video for enjoying shows and movies, and its full-size USB port has been upgraded to USB 3.0 for up to four times faster file transfers
- Camera resolution has also increased, with a 3.5-megapixel front camera and 5-megapixel rear camera, both capable of capturing 1080p video and featuring improved low-light performance, making face-to-face conversations with your favorite people crisp and clear
- Even with these and other upgrades, Surface 2 is slightly thinner and lighter than its predecessor
- Surface 2 will ship with Windows RT 8.1, bringing improvements in key areas such as personalization, search, multitasking, built-in apps, the Windows Store experience and cloud connectivity
- The new Xbox Music allows you to stream millions of songs for free, and an updated Video app and great games from the Windows Store such as “Halo: Spartan Assault” will ensure that you never run out of ways to play
- When it’s time to get serious, Surface 2 is pre-loaded with Microsoft Office 2013 RT — including Outlook RT; simply click in a Touch or Type Cover and get to work
- Surface 2 is available in 32GB and 64GB configurations and will start at $449; full specs can be found here: http://www.Surface.com/pre-order
• Surface Pro 2
- Surface Pro 2 is the successor to Surface Pro and, like its predecessor, is a true laptop replacement, capable of running virtually all your Windows software including the full Microsoft Office suite, as well as apps from the Windows Store
- The portability and simplicity of a tablet when you want it and the power and flexibility of a laptop when you need it
- Powered by a fourth-generation Intel Core i5 processor, which, combined with other improvements, delivers increased performance and up to 60 percent longer battery life than Surface Pro
- Starting at $899, Surface Pro 2 will be offered in 64GB and 128GB configurations with 4 GB of RAM and 256GB and 512GB configurations with 8 GB of RAM; full specs can be seen here: http://www.Surface.com/pre-order
• 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 Wi-Fi on their Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2 at more than two million hot spots worldwide for one year, and 200 GB of free SkyDrive storage for two years.
- Be sure to check out the Inside SkyDrive blog for more SkyDrive news later today
New accessories - Today’s announcement also includes seven new accessories that will make Surface even more flexible, more portable and more productive:
Touch Cover 2
- Thinner and lighter than the original Touch Cover, measuring only 2.75 mm thin, Touch Cover 2 features backlit keys for even better readability
- More rigid, registers keystrokes with greater accuracy and features updated sensors that support a variety of gestures across the entire keyboard
- Estimated retail price of $119.99 and will be available for pre-order on Sept. 24 in all markets where Surface devices are available for pre-order
Type Cover 2
- Type Cover 2 features the same super-thin, lightweight design of the original Type Cover, but it’s now backlit and will be available in Cyan, Magenta, Purple and Black in the coming months
- It’s also more rigid, providing a better lap-typing experience, and is designed to be noticeably quieter when striking keys
- Estimated retail price of $129.99; available for pre-order on Sept. 24 in all markets where Surface devices are available for pre-order
- Power Cover delivers the same great typing experience you get with Type Cover while extending the battery life of your Surface 2, Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 by up to 50 percent to help you make it through that late-night meeting or the entire flight
- Estimated retail price of $199.99; projected release date of early 2014
Docking Station for Surface Pro
- The Docking Station for Surface Pro lets you quickly connect Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 to desktop PC peripherals in a single step, taking you from laptop to desktop in an instant
- While Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2 is docked, it can connect with an external monitor, Ethernet, speakers and power supply
- PC peripherals connect via its one USB 3.0 port and three USB 2.0 ports
- Estimated retail price of $199.99 and has a projected release date of early 2014
Wireless Adapter for typing covers
- The Wireless Adapter for Typing Covers connects magnetically to any Touch or Type Cover, letting you type from anywhere in the room using Bluetooth technology, so it is even easier to connect Surface to a TV or monitor and type from another location, such as the couch
- Wireless Adapter for Typing Covers will have an estimated retail price of $59.99
- Available for pre-order in the U.S. and Canada beginning Sept. 24
Car Charger with USB
- Car Charger plugs into most cars’ power or lighter ports and charges Surface without the need for an additional adapter
- Also features a USB port to allow simultaneous charging of a phone or other device
- Estimated retail price of $49.99 and a projected release date of early 2014
Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition
- This special-edition Arc Touch Mouse has been updated to match the look of Surface, and like other Arc Touch mice, it is designed for comfort and flattens for portability
- Connects via Bluetooth 3.0, freeing Surface’s USB port for use by other devices
- Estimated retail price of $69.99 and will be available for pre-order in the U.S. and Canada on Sept. 24; distribution in additional markets is projected to begin in the coming months