Microsoft has announced the new Surface Studio. If there was any doubt that Microsoft has taken Apple’s mantle as innovators, and Panos Panay is the new Steve Jobs, read on.
The following review was posted on the Verge Website by Nick Stat on October 26, 2016.
Microsoft’s biggest product announcement at its Windows 10 event this morning was the Surface Studio, an all-in-one iMac-lookalike that breaks from tradition by folding down into a tilted canvas. It’s a gorgeous device, but its hallmark feature could also come off like a gimmick at first glance. On deeper inspection, it’s clear that Microsoft has a grander ambitions for its convertible desktop. The company wants to reorient how consumers think about the PC, from a stodgy platform for office work and games into an art station capable of striking at the heart of Apple’s creative demographic.
Until today, Microsoft’s most effective pitch was to two distinct crowds of customers. There’s the workplace professional who used Microsoft-made software and relied on the Windows ecosystem to do a majority of their job’s daily tasks. Then there’s the hardcore gaming enthusiast who needed expensive, powerful components and the optimizations and developer base Windows enjoys to play top-tier titles.
Microsoft wants to strike at the heart of Apple’s creative demographic
Surface Studio is taking that pitch and expanding it to a third base: the creative professional. This demographic is the designer, the animator, the illustrator — anyone who right now has an iMac sitting on their desk next to a Wacom drawing tablet. These are lucrative customers who spend heavily on software and are eager to upgrade expensive hardware if the benefit is clear. They also bring Windows, and by extension Microsoft software, into new industries.
Microsoft doesn’t have to tell regular office workers that they won’t be needing the Surface Studio for document editing and web browsing. That is obvious. The company does, however, have to communicate to consumers that a $3,000 PC that can’t play hardcore video games is worth the money. The base model of the Surface Studio only comes with 8GB of memory, and and neither its graphics card nor CPU are the latest available, making it an unlikely candidate to push games at the highest frame rates (especially at the Studio’s 4500 x 3000 resolution). That is perfectly fine, as Microsoft is not claiming the Surface Studio is a gaming machine.
Yet it’s clear this very expensive PC cannot do it all. Now, it’s Microsoft’s job to convince creatives that the drawbacks involved are equal to that of buying an Apple iMac — and that this time around, the Windows machine should win out.