Windows 10 November 2019 Update

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Earlier this week, Microsoft announced the November update for Windows 10. The latest November 2019 Update will mostly focus on performance and quality enhancements. 

The update will also include an improved Calendar system, a new search feature for File Explorer, a new notification management option and a new feature that will allow a voice assistant to run on the Windows 10 lock screen.  Perhaps the oddest part about this update is that it will be delivered as though it were a service pack and therefore won't require a restart of the entire system. 

There should also be some improvements made on battery life for Surface systems and other laptop machines. Microsoft will also be adding some changes in the Windows processing system, providing a more even distribution of load between multiple processors.

To install the new update now, users will need to sign up first with the Windows Insider program to join the early access program.

Microsoft Surface Event Recap

This morning, starting at 9:00 AM Central time, Microsoft launched its Surface event, most of which was no big surprise, however there were a few things toward the end that were actually surprising, and one that had me outright excited.  I wanted to recap what I learned this morning here, and I’ll be doing a live recap on youtube later this evening.  So, this morning we learned about the following new products in the Surface line; 

SURFACE LAPTOP 3

The Surface Laptop 3;  for the first time, comes in two sizes: 13.5 and 15 inches, starting at $999 and $1,199, respectively.

There’s plenty more that’s different than just a new size. The 13.5-inch model features Intel’s 10th Gen processors and USB-C charging. In addition, for the first time, you can decide between having an Alcantara-covered or an all-aluminum keyboard. The 15-inch model is the first Surface product to feature an AMD processor.  

The specs: The new chip is an AMD-based Surface Edition of the Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7, with an extra core on the graphics processor over the standard Ryzen chips. It can be paired with up to 32GB of RAM, which is 16 more than the maximum you can get in the 13-inch model. Strangely enough though, the storage options top out at 512GB. (The 13-inch model can be equipped with up to 1TB of storage.)

The Surface Laptop 3 is available for preorder now and will ship October 22nd.

SURFACE PRO 7

The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 starts at $749, and Microsoft is releasing several configurations that quickly ramp up in cost. If you want a Type Cover keyboard, it will cost an extra $129.99.

The Surface Pro 7 looks like last year’s model, but it has a few tweaks that might make it worthwhile for you. Notably, it charges via USB-C instead of its previous Surface Connector. 

The specs:  The Surface Pro 7 includes Intel’s latest 10th Gen processors, and you’ll be able to pick from a dual-core i3 version or quad-core i5 and i7 models. The base model starts with just 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and you can go all the way up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage.

The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is available for preorder right now at Microsoft Store and will ship October 22nd. 

Microsoft Surface Earbuds

Microsoft dives into the truly wireless earbud game!  The company just announced the new $249 Surface Earbuds, which are the second product in its portfolio of headphones after last year’s Surface Headphones. The Earbuds are similar to the many other wireless earbuds that are available already, but Microsoft has included some productivity-specific features with them that you won’t find anywhere else. For instance, these are functional with the Office 365 suite.  For those occasions when you’re on the go and may need to dictate corrections and edits to Word documents or spreadsheets.  They’ll be available later this year.

SURFACE PRO X

Microsoft’s all-new Surface Pro X  costs $999 for the base configuration with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage; or you can get 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage for $1,499. Its optional accessories include the Type Cover that’s made uniquely for the Pro X for $139.99, and the new Surface Slim Pen for $144.99. Microsoft will sell a bundle of the two together for $269.99, saving you around $15.

Microsoft will launch the Surface Pro X on November 5th. The company said that these might sell out quickly, so you may want to preorder sooner than later if you want it to arrive by the holidays.  It is available for Preorder in the Microsoft Store. 

Compared to the Surface Pro 7 that uses Intel processors, the Surface Pro X hosts the new SQ1 processor engineered by Microsoft and Qualcomm. Microsoft says that this machine should be three times faster than the current MacBook Air, and it features built-in LTE so you can stay connected practically anywhere.

SURFACE NEO

The first big surprise of this event is Microsoft’s new Surface Neo. It’s a multiscreen device that features two 9-inch displays held together by a sturdy 360-degree hinge. (The screen itself isn’t foldable, fortunately.  Looking at you there, Samsung Galaxy Fold.) Microsoft says that this product is still in development, and it’s targeting a holiday 2020 release date.

Microsoft has engineered a new keyboard for the Neo that can rest on top of the display. It features a Touch Bar-like interface called the WonderBar above it, and when you slide it up toward the hinge, a on-display trackpad section is revealed.

It runs new software called Windows 10X, which has been engineered specifically for multiscreen devices like this one.

WINDOWS 10X 

Microsoft has developed a new version of Windows 10 called Windows 10X. It’s made specifically for multiscreen devices, like the Surface Neo. Microsoft says that it can run all apps.  It sounds as though they’re expecting an influx of devices like these to hit the market.

SURFACE DUO

Microsoft has announced an Android-powered foldable tablet/phone. This is the product that had me most surprised and excited.  It looks similar to the upcoming Surface Neo, but it’s smaller, has phone functionality, and since it runs on Android, it has access to the Google Play Store.

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The Duo has two 5.6-inch displays merged by a 360-degree hinge. It allows greater cross-functionality between Windows 10 and Android than we’ve seen before. It’s coming holiday 2020.

Now at first, when I saw the Surface Neo, my first thought was “shut up and take my money”.  My friend and partner in crime Nathan Alvarez, however, slightly disagreed with me.

But that was all until I saw the Duo, and at first I thought “Wow, this will be my next phone, so long as things go smoothly over the next year.  A lot can happen in a year.  After settling down for a second, though, and thinking about it, there was something conspicuously missing.  When I watched the Apple event earlier this year, I noticed that when they unveiled the new iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, Phill Schiller went on and on about how great the camera was, but not much of anything else was said about Apple’s new flagship phone.  In contrast, during this part of the Surface Event, I noticed that not a single thing was said about a camera on the upcoming Surface Duo.  In fact, I didn’t even catch a glimpse at a camera lens during this product’s promo video clips.  My first reaction was me really wanting this form factor, I’ll be honest, I was pretty impressed.  But after thinking about it, if there is a lack of a camera, that would be a deal breaker for me.  As I’m sure it would for a lot of other people.  I realize, though, that the demo model they showed off today was only a prototype, and as I said earlier, much can happen in a year.  

So that wraps up this year’s Microsoft Surface event, and I’ll have more to say during a live recap on YouTube later this evening.