After the dominance of Apple’s iPad, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer dedicated himself to developing a similarly popular tablet product. The result was the Microsoft Surface, Microsoft’s flagship tablet/laptop hybrid. Years later, at their Surface Event in early October, Microsoft released the newest version of this product, as well as line extensions that include tablets, laptops, desktops, and even headphones.

The Surface Pro 6 is the crown jewel of the announcement. While aesthetically it may look similar to past models, there have been significant improvements. The biggest changes are under the hood: the headlining upgrade in the Surface Pro 6 is a new quad core processor that Microsoft claims makes it 1.5 times faster than the previous model. That extra power doesn’t seem to come at the expense of battery, as Microsoft says that it still gets 13.5 hours of life, at least when it’s doing nothing but playing videos in the browser.

It has one USB port, a micro-SD card slot, a headphone jack, and a port for Microsoft’s proprietary Surface Connect charging cables. A notable absence is a jack for USB-C, the rising standard that Apple has embraced with its newest MacBooks, and which Microsoft itself included with the super-small Surface Go laptop it released earlier this year. As you would expect, performance is up sharply and you’d be correct to assume Microsoft spent some time pointing out their products were faster than Apple, and they remain arguably better looking.

During the event, Microsoft also unveiled its second-generation Surface Laptop, which gives a refresh to the original device announced last year. It has a 13.5-inch display and an 8th Gen quad-core processor. It also improved the battery life significantly–the Surface Laptop has almost 15 hours of battery life. Both the Surface Pro 6 and Surface Laptop 2 begin shipping on October 16th.

The other second-generation product refresh is the Surface Studio 2. It hadn’t been updated in over two years, and the look and feel are generally the same as its predecessor. The main upgrades are to its 28-inch display and processor. The graphics performance has been improved by 50%. It includes Xbox Wireless built in as well.

The biggest surprise of the event was Microsoft entering the headphones market. While Apple’s Air Pods may have foreshadowed Microsoft’s entrance into this space, the Surface Headphones are more positioned against high-end over the ear headphones like those from Bose. Microsoft’s new Bluetooth headphones include premium features such as noise cancellation, incredible battery life (15 hours), and USB-C charging in 2 hours. They also are integrated with Cortana and weigh only .64 pounds.

Its clear that Microsoft has leveraged its successful Surface tablet into a diverse line of premium electronics. The Surface Pro, Surface Laptop, Surface Studio all run a full version of Windows 10. With these products and the Surface Headphones, Microsoft isn’t just competing with Apple, but also trying to chip away at Bose’s market share in the headphone market. Aside from odd-omissions like the USB-C charging port on the Pro, each one of these products is a significant upgrade on its previous model. To get started deploying the most up to date technology from Microsoft, contact a trusted partner like Peters & Associates. With 11 gold and silver competencies, we can help you deploy and fully utilize all their products and applications. Email us at today!++