Microsoft launches Surface Studio at Windows 10 event

Microsoft unveiled its Surface Studio device and a host of new 3D tools at its Windows 10 event Wednesday.

The Surface Studio is an all-in-one PC that boasts a 28-inch ultra-HD 4.5K touchscreen display. Microsoft is touting the 12.5 mm thick display as the thinnest LCD monitor ever built. With 13.5 million pixels, the display also offers 63 percent more than a 4K TV, according to Microsoft.

The Surface Studio can work with Surface pen, touch, or a new Surface Dial device that was unveiled at the New York City event. When the Dial is placed on the screen it brings up a set of tools specific to the app that is open, such as changing the color or the size of a digital brush tip.

The Surface Studio’s hinged display can also be adjusted, turning it into a sort of digital drafting board.

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“This is really a new way to create, a new way to produce,” said Panos Panay, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Surface Computing, at the event. “It’s meant to turn your desk into a studio.”

Priced at $2,999, the Surface Studio is available now for pre-order. The device will be available in limited quantities this holiday season, with broader availability early next year.

Microsoft also introduced three new Surface Books powered by Intel Core i7 processors. The devices offer twice the graphics processing power as the original Surface Book, it said. Priced from $2,399, the Surface Books are available for pre-order now, with availability starting Nov. 10.

Away from hardware, the tech giant showed off its free “Creators Update” for Windows 10, which will be available early next year. “We’re expanding on our vision for mixed reality,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group. “This includes 3D for everyone.”

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As part of the update, Microsoft showcased a new 3D version of its Paint app and technology that uses smartphone cameras to capture 3D renderings of objects. The company also plans to integrate 3D across its most popular apps over the next year, such as PowerPoint.

The update will also let people send 3D images to 3D printers, as easily as they send documents to regular printers today. The idea is to also let people post 3D creations on social media easily.

Additionally, Microsoft announced that HP, Lenovo, Dell, Acer and ASUS will ship the first headsets capable of mixed reality through the Creators Update next year. Mixed reality combines virtual reality and augmented reality, where a digital “overlay” appears over the physical world.

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“I believe that the next 10 years will be defined by technology that empowers creation,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, during the event. “I am inspired by the 'Minecraft' generation who see themselves not as players of a game but as creators of new works that they dream up.”

However, Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research, warns that Microsoft faces stiff competition from Apple, whose products are widely used by creative professionals. “Though today's products are a good start, it takes a long time to change deeply-entrenched perceptions, and Microsoft has its work cut out in trying to convince potential customers that its products are more than just the workhorses they've always been for many,” he said, in a statement. “Workflows and cultures in many creative companies are built around Apple products, and that won't change overnight. However, Microsoft's timing for these new products is great, coming at a time when Apple has been accused of neglecting its creative community.”

Apple is expected to launch new MacBooks at its own event on Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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