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.

Screen Shot 2019-10-02 at 4.29.07 PM.png

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. 

You May Soon See UPS Delivery Drones

Soon UPS may be dropping off packages across the US by drone. The Federal Aviation Administration has granted the UPS Flight Forward subsidiary air carrier and operator certification, which will allow UPS to use drones for commercial deliveries.

Flight Forward is the first company to be approved for Part 135 Standard certification, and will be allowed to operate an unlimited number of drones. The drones along with their payloads can weigh more than 55 pounds and UPS can fly their delivery drones at night.

Screen Shot 2019-10-01 at 6.05.56 PM.png

Earlier this year Flight Forward started transporting medical lab samples and blood for transfusions around WakeMed's healthcare campus in Raleigh, North Carolina. Once it received the FAA certification, it launched a Matternet M2 quadcopter flight under a "beyond visual line of sight" (BVLOS) exemption, which it says was "a first in the US for a regular revenue-generating delivery."

To begin with, UPS is planning to expand drone deliveries to hospitals and medical campuses across the United States. Then It also plans to carry out flights outside of the healthcare industry, "including the transport of special commodities and other regulated goods."

Myself, I’m curious to see the kinds of neighborhoods this program will be successful in. It would not surprise me that a few may or may not get shot at in neighborhoods such as mine.

Dodging redneck bullets aside, it should effect heavily on delivery efficiency and speed. So we’ll keep an eye on the close skies to see if we spot any.

About the Microsoft Surface event live stream on October 2

New Surfaces devices are on the way, and in just a couple days we’ll see just how well they hold up to the competition.   Do they beat Mac laptops? How do they stand up to iPads? We will be watching to  find out!

Here’s what you need to know

Microsoft's Surface reveal event kicks off on October 2 in New York City. The event will begin at 10 a.m. ET and it will be live-streamed. Microsoft has confirmed that the public will  be able to watch the event in either Microsoft's dedicated event page or on Twitter. I would also imagine that a stream will be available on YouTube, but no one has confirmed that

956F550E-C6DE-4D53-B140-7B2DC0A22816.jpeg

October is nigh and Apple’s loyal fans are waiting for a new 16-inch MacBook Pro or iPad Pro with a triple-camera lens. Meanwhile, Microsoft is already poised to launch its next big thing. As far as what Microsoft has in store, this event could be a pretty momentous one. Everyone following this event is expecting to see the Surface Book 3, Surface Pro 7, and Surface Laptop 3 all make an appearance, but that's only scratching the surface.

Microsoft is also expected to give us at least a look at what it's been going on with the rumored "Project Centaurus", which is rumored to be a dual-screen foldable device between eight and 12 inches. Along with Centaurus, we should also be getting a look at Windows Lite, which is said to be an operating system focused on a lighter experience to compete with iPadOS and Chrome OS.

Microsoft is likely to have a few surprises in store that we aren't expecting. If you are unable to watch the event, Windows Central will be covering every announcement live from New York City. 

And as soon as we have all of our information, I’ll be doing a live stream recap some time that evening on the Braehawk Tech YouTube channel.

Minecraft Fans; Minecraft Earth will Launch in Early Access In October

Mojang and Microsoft have revealed that the augmented reality game Minecraft Earth will be available in "early access" for “select” countries starting this October. They neglected to say which countries or platforms would be included, but both iOS and Android should be included.

n85uxqtQ.png

Earth is a bit of a departure from the traditional Minecraft experience, but players can still create their own worlds, in this case the world building is in AR. The cool thing here is you can embark on shareable adventures that have you going up against monsters and other challenges to earn rare resources. It's basically an extension of Minecraft that encourages you to (safely of course) go out into the real world and socialize with other fans, much like the wildly successful Pokemon Go did when it first launched back in 2016.