Microsoft Surface event: the biggest announcements

Microsoft has concluded its Surface 2022 event, where he showed off his new Surface Laptop 5, Surface Pro 9 and Surface Studio 2 Plus. The company also introduced new accessories and software, including a Designer app powered by Dall-E 2.

In case you didn’t catch today’s live event, you can read the featured announcements here. We’ve also reviewed all three devices, which you can check out on our site.

The logo remains unchanged.
Picture: Microsoft

Surface Laptop 5 is Intel-only

The Surface Laptop 5 will hit shelves on October 25 for just $999. Its predecessor, the Surface Laptop 4, also started at this price. The Laptop 4 was a great product, but a big part of that was the AMD chip inside, which was designed specifically for the Surface line. The AMD model we received for review beat Intel’s best chips on many of our benchmarks. It also offered one of the best battery lives we’ve seen on a laptop that year.

For the Laptop 5, in a consequently disappointing turn of events, Microsoft eliminated the AMD option. Where buyers could choose between AMD and Intel models of Laptop 4, Laptop 5 is Intel-only, with Core i5 and Core i7 options.

There are two other notable changes to the Surface Laptop 5. There’s now a green color option (available on “select models only”, Microsoft says). The device also gets Thunderbolt 4 support, which is something you typically want to see on Intel models priced at $1,000.

Otherwise, the Laptop 5 has much of the same look and design as the Laptop 4. It will come in 13.5-inch and 15-inch options (both with a 3:2 display) and support spatial processing. Dolby Atmos 3D.

A user types on the Surface Pro 9 in laptop mode in an upscale coffee booth.

New surface with a new Arm chip.
Picture: Microsoft

Surface Pro 9 gets fancy colors

Like the more traditional Surface Laptop 5, the detachable, kickstand-equipped Surface Pro 9 will be released on October 25. Intel models will start at $999, while Arm models will start at $1,299.

Previously, the main way to customize the Surface Pro line was the keyboard cover. This traditionally comes in a bunch of different colors, but the tablet itself has remained the same boring grey. This year, however, aluminum himself now has multiple color options, allowing you to really commit to your chosen hue.

There are platinum, sapphire, graphite and forest options available. Microsoft has also teamed up with design studio Liberty to create an SKU with a limited-edition floral design in honor of the Surface line’s 10th anniversary.

The other big new thing is that the Surface Pro 9 will come with an Arm option as well as an Intel option. The Arm models will be powered by Qualcomm and Microsoft’s SQ3 chip. The SQ3 will have a few exclusive extra features, including 5G support and a new Neural Processing Unit. The latter will allow, among other AI tasks, features such as video backgrounds and portrait blurring to be handled externally by the Pro’s CPU and GPU. Microsoft claims that this unit is capable of over 15 trillion calculations per second.

Like the Pro 8, the Pro 9 has a 13-inch screen with a 120Hz refresh rate and pen support.

A user draws with a pen on the Surface Studio 2 Plus at a standing desk.

Sound familiar?
Picture: Microsoft

The Surface Studio 2 Plus has more ports

Microsoft has refreshed its Surface Studio 2. (Remember? That’s it 28 inch PC of 2018.) It looks almost exactly the same, except the company has stuck three new Thunderbolt 4 ports on the back. Of course, I’ll take it.

The chips inside have also been modernized. The 2 Plus is powered by 11th Gen Intel Core H-series processors and Nvidia’s RTX 3060 GPUs. Microsoft claims the chips will lead to “up to 50% faster” performance.

If this device is ringing up your alley, you better start saving — it starts at $4,299.99.

Here's Microsoft Designer in action.

Here’s Microsoft Designer in action.

Apple and Microsoft team up for music, photos and TV

Picture: Microsoft

Microsoft didn’t just have eyes for Android and its apps at the Surface event – it also announced new, refreshed Apple integrations. An Apple Music app is now available for the first time on the Xbox platform, and next year dedicated apps for Apple TV Plus and Apple Music will be available on Windows, with preview versions coming soon.

Windows is also getting easier to use for iPhone owners, with new iCloud Photos integration for the standard Photos app that syncs your photos. All Windows users need to do is install Apple’s latest iCloud Windows app to get this integration.

Microsoft’s adaptive accessories finally have a release date

A selection of Microsoft adaptive accessories used by two people sitting at a desk and using a laptop.

Picture: Microsoft

Adaptive Accessories were first announced in May and are designed to address common issues that can prevent users from getting the most out of their PC, especially if they have difficulty using a traditional mouse and keyboard . Now, Microsoft says they’ll be available for purchase on October 25, but didn’t provide us with pricing details.

Microsoft Designer makes art with AI

A GIF showing a software user interface for Microsoft Designer.  The user types a prompt into a box and the software generates an image that matches it.

Picture: Microsoft

Microsoft Designer is a new graphic design application added to the Microsoft 365 suite. It is powered by OpenAI’s Dall-E 2, a text-to-image generation program.

Edge journalist Adi Robertson has already describes Dall-E 2 as “an image search tool for images that don’t exist”. As demonstrated in the GIF above, an artist can describe an image or graphic they want to use, and the AI ​​can create the image. You can also ask Dall-E 2 to blend two images or select parts of an image for Dall-E 2 to modify.

Those who want to try Microsoft Designer can register now for free web preview access. When ready to deploy, Designer will be available in a free version, with additional premium features limited to Microsoft 365 subscribers.

Designer will also be integrated with Microsoft Edge, where it will provide “AI-powered design suggestions to visually enhance social media posts,” according to Microsoft.

Microsoft’s new Teams accessories

Microsoft audio docking station

Picture: Microsoft

Although less sleek than the Surface Studio 2 Plus, many people may appreciate new hardware designed to work for desktops using Microsoft Teams in a hybrid workplace. The pill-shaped audio dock is an all-in-one speaker solution with a 60W passthrough PC charger and four different ports (HDMI, USB-A, and two USB-C) to go with the two front microphones, Teams button, and mute button. The other element is a new Presenter Plus portable remote that integrates with Teams to make presentations more familiar whether you’re streaming them or in person. There is no price or release date available for either.

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