Microsoft Rolls Out New Surface Products, Apple Integrations

Microsoft is launching a host of new Surface products in time for the holidays. The Surface Pro 9, Surface Laptop 5, and Surface Studio 2+ were among the debuts at the fall 2022 Microsoft event. The Surface Pro 9 comes to market October 25 with two models, one with Intel inside and the other powered by Microsoft’s own SQ3 chip, an always-connected 5G ARM processor customized by Qualcomm that features a new Neural Processing Unit and up to 19 hours of battery. The Intel variants start at $999 while the SQ3 options begin at $1,299.

“Essentially, the single Surface Pro 9 [below] represents the merging of two product lines, with the traditional Surface Pro tablet and the Surface Pro X now transformed as the Surface Pro 9 and Surface Pro 9 with 5G, respectively,” writes Digital Trends, noting the “two different versions continue to significantly differ in both their capabilities and even their feature sets: one for performance, and one for connectivity.”

The Intel devices feature 12th-generation Intel Core processors and Thunderbolt 4 ports for what Microsoft says will be a 50 percent performance gain over Surface Pro 8.  “Unfortunately, you can’t have both Thunderbolt 4 and 5G — it’s one or the other,” says Digital Trends.

The Intel starter model comes with an i5 chip, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage, climbing to $2,600 for Core i7 processor, 32GB of memory and 1TB of SSD storage. The base SQ3 edition has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, going up to $1,900 for 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.

Standard across both chip choices are 120Hz refresh-rate screens and an under-display HD camera, Omnisonic speakers, directional microphones “and our custom G6 chip that takes inking to the next level with tactile signals,” blogs Microsoft chief product officer Panos Panay because, after all, “a Surface display is more than a sheet of glass. It’s a canvas, a journal, a notepad, an editing bay and a cinema screen.”

Combined with the new Ink Focus in Microsoft OneNote or the GoodNotes app coming to Windows 11 in early 2023, “digital ink on the screen feels like writing with pen and paper,” Panay adds.

The Surface Laptop 5 “is Intel only, with Core i5 and Core i7 options,” The Verge writes, adding that “the device is also finally getting Thunderbolt 4 support, which is something you generally want to see on Intel models at the $1,000 price point.” The 3:2 ratio screens come in 13.5-inch ($1,000 and up) or 15-inches ($1,300 base). The Laptop 5 supports Dolby Atmos 3D spatial processing as well as Dolby Vision IQ, which adapts screen brightness to ambient lighting conditions.

The Surface Studio 2+ all-in-one [above] gets its first refresh in four years, according to CNET, which lists an 11th-gen CPU, RTX 3060 GPU and newer ports and wireless among the updates. “The standout feature of the Studio line has always been the display,” CNET writes, describing the pressure-sensitive, color-accurate, hinged monitor that “provides excellent positioning flexibility for design work.”

Microsoft also announced tighter Apple integration. “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 rolling out soon,” The Verge reports. Windows is also integrating iCloud, so iPhone users can sync iCloud Photos using an iCloud Windows app.

You can watch the Microsoft fall hardware event here.

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