It’s been a rather eventful week with Microsoft and Apple announcing new devices back to back. Much anticipation has been built over the next MacBook and its new design, and Microsoft is bringing us closer to a 3D future with its new line of products and devices.
At the October 26 Surface event, Microsoft made some key announcements which include a Windows 10 creators update expected in 2017, a new Surface Book 2 PC, paint 3D, Windows VR and the fairest them all – the Microsoft Surface Studio PC. The Windows 10 creators update will include a lot of tools like paint 3D for 3D animation, integration with the Windows VR headset, and a new people bar that helps you keep in touch with your favorite contacts. The Surface Book 2 comes with turbocharged graphics performance and an impressive 16 hours of battery life.
Fitted with an incredibly thin 28-inch LCD touchscreen with display resolution higher than that of a 4K TV, the Microsoft Surface Studio is designed for top-notch productivity, and creators and graphics professionals will find it a very resourceful too. The screen is coupled to a zero-gravity hinge that allows you to move the screen from desktop to studio mode, and a base that houses all the performance components (Core i7 quad-core processor, 32GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M graphics) and I/O ports.
The Surface Studio comes with support for Microsoft’s Surface Pen and the new Microsoft Surface Dial. The Surface dial is a standalone wireless knob that lets users adjust a whole bunch of stuff just by turning it. It pops up a contextual menu and lets you select various options depending on what you are doing (photo editing, toggling controls, etc.)
Apple took the stage the following day and unleashed an all-new MacBook Pro with a fresh re-design and a secondary display. The new pro is faster and more powerful and still spots an even thinner and lighter body than older models. The Touch Bar, a multi-touch enabled strip of glass built into the keyboard for instant access to the tools you want, seemed to be the best feature of the new Pro. The touch bar has a retina display bar and replaces the row of function keys on the keyboard. It changes automatically based on what you’re doing to show you relevant tools including system controls for volume and brightness, interactive ways to adjust or browse through content (photos, music, etc.), intelligent typing features like emoji and predictive text, and more.
The new MacBook Pro is also the first Mac with Touch ID. The Touch ID is built right into the power button which is also placed on the touch bar. It has a sapphire glass cover and includes a new T1 chip with local secure enclave for Apple Pay security.
Apple has also replaced all the old I/O ports with 4 USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The PC can be charged using any of the 4 USB-C ports. The trackpad and keyboard have also been revamped vigorously.
Apple also announced an ultra-thin 13-inch MacBook Pro which they said will attend to MacBook Air users. It just might be that Apple is finally pulling the plug on the MacBook Air. Anyway, the new Pros come in 3 distinctive models; a thinner 13-inch MacBook Pro with the traditional function keys priced at $1499, the 13-inch model with the new touch bar priced at $1799, and the 15-inch model which costs $2399. Apple has started shipping the model with the function keys, while the other models will start shipping in the coming weeks.
The Microsoft Surface Studio will start at $2999 and will cost more based on hardware configuration.
Social media is overflowing with comments from Apple users, and a vast majority seem to disapprove of the new MacBook Pro mainly because Apple ditched the old USB ports (the SD card reader and the magnetic charging connector) for USB-C ports and this will now require users to buy dongles and connectors before they can connect peripherals to the new Pro. It also seems like more people would have preferred a full touchscreen display to the miniature display on the touch bar. Meanwhile, Microsoft is getting a lot of thumbs up for their new products, especially the Surface Studio. In the words of Twitter users, “Microsoft is the new Apple”.