Surface Laptop is Microsoft’s Most Important Surface Release Ever

Posted on May 3, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface, Windows 10 with 203 Comments

Surface Laptop is Microsoft's Most Important Surface Release Ever (Premium)

As the euphoria surrounding yesterday’s Surface Laptop announcement dies down, I’ve received a number of pointed questions about this new device. Key among them: Since Surface Laptop doesn’t create a new form factor, how does it fit within Microsoft’s Surface strategy? Why on earth would Microsoft create a … laptop?

I know the answer. And it’s a better answer than you probably believe.

Quickly, consider what Microsoft has done with Surface so far: It has created a family of market-defining products that have inspired PC makers to pursue these new form factors for themselves. In doing so, Microsoft has improved the PC market enormously, for it, for its partners, and for its customers.

Surface Pro, of course, is the tablet that can replace your laptop. It wasn’t the first 2-in-1 PC, but it did formalize the design, and today we are awash in a sea of Surface Pro clones.

Surface Book is the ultimate laptop because it, too, is a 2-in-1 device, but with a different emphasis than Surface Pro: This form factor addresses the more common usage scenario where touch and pen are only occasionally needed.

Surface Studio? It redefines the All-In-One PC. And Surface Hub is a new kind of collaboration PC aimed at ad-hoc teams, not individuals.

Each of these PCs—and many Surface peripherals—are all innovative from a hardware and usage perspective. They aren’t different to be different; they’re different to be better, and to demonstrate to others that the PC is still the most versatile personal computing device on the market.

But Surface devices have one other commonality: Each was designed to the perfect stage for Windows. The original Surface devices sought to prove that Windows 8 made sense in a touch-first, pen-enabled world. More recent Surface devices take advantage of unique Windows 10 features like Windows Hello, Continuum, and Cortana.

Surface Laptop does this for Windows 10 S.

For the first time, Microsoft is differentiating one of its Surface hardware products purely by the software it runs, and not by the form factor. So Surface Laptop doesn’t break any new ground from a form factor perspective, it’s just another premium laptop. But it’s also the first, and so far only, premium laptop running Windows 10 S. And in releasing this product, Microsoft hopes to inspire other PC makers to similarly adopt this streamlined Windows offering in their own premium PCs.

Let that sink in, because it’s important.

I’ve stated repeatedly that Windows 10 S is not aimed solely at Chromebooks and low-end PCs, that it would also be made available on premium PCs. I’ve also stated repeatedly that Windows 10 S is nothing less than the future of Windows.

This, then, is the lofty aim of Surface Laptop, and the real reason this device exists. It’s not for students, per se, or for education, though it will no doubt find some success with that audience. But Surface Laptop is much bigger than that.

Surface Laptop is a peek at our collective future, a decisive step towards ridding us of the pain of the Win32 desktop mess that has been holding back Windows for years. Surface Laptop isn’t a me-too knockoff, just another laptop. It is the opening salvo in the most important battle that Terry Myerson’s Windows business will fight in the years ahead.

Is it good enough to be aspirational to customers and PC makers alike? The next several months will be telling. And while we may never see the results, we all know that Microsoft will be watching its telemetry data very carefully to see how many Surface Laptop buyers take advantage of the temporary free upgrade offer to Windows 10 Pro. And that they have established some number, some percentage, to a ranking system by which they will determine if the Windows 10 S value proposition is working, or whether they need to make further tweaks.

(Worried about the lack of USB-C/Thunderbolt 3? That’s Microsoft throwing a bone to PC makers, I bet.)

Surface Laptop doesn’t just make sense as a Surface. It makes more sense than any Surface device that Microsoft has ever released.

 

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Comments (203)

203 responses to “Surface Laptop is Microsoft’s Most Important Surface Release Ever”

  1. Padatronic

    I think to be viable Chrome is a must have app for Windows S as Edge is still abysmal! I just tried to use it again in the last few minutes to see if it had gotten any better with updates, but it only took me browsing 3 random websites to start displaying strange performance / stability issues that I don't get in Chrome .


    Is it possible that win32 app's can be repackaged to be delivered through the store without a huge amount of retooling, and if so, does anyone believe that Google would give them a leg up??



    • JacobTheDev

      In reply to Padatronic:

      Yes, Win32 apps can be repackaged for the store, and I don't believe it takes a ton of work. Honestly I'd be surprised to see Google do this, as they seem pretty hostile to Microsoft in general (remember the mess that was YouTube for Windows Phone?).

    • leops1984

      In reply to Padatronic:


      Maybe they can be repackaged - but who is going to do the repackaging? I have an extensive game library, many of those are older games that aren't being updated or supported anymore. Those aren't going to be repackaged. My Twitter client of choice - MetroTwit - the same one Paul uses - hasn't been updated in a long time. There are many cases where even if theoretically an app could be repackaged, no one will do it.

    • MutualCore

      In reply to Padatronic:

      That's too bad. You would think that after 2.5 years Edge would be rock solid already and not a buggy mess. Microsoft just can't get their shit together!

  2. dhallman

    "Each was designed to the perfect stage for Windows. Surface Laptop does this for Windows 10 S".


    I feel like a real downer lately - but the more I read yesterday the less I feel Surface Laptop does this.


    First, being able to upgrade for free to full Windows 10 in the first year removes the unique feature of this laptop right away. And most people will have to. To get at iTunes for the large iPhone audience, for instance. Upgrading Windows S is needed.


    Then word that Windows 10 S is locked to Bing search and Edge browser.


    That is a non-starter for many (not myself, that is how I use Windows, but no one I know does this).


    So imagine any other Surface release where it is unlikely that anyone (or very many) will stick with the feature the device is designed to highlight.


    I kind of punches the whole thing in the throat.


    Edit: I should say that I do not think the Surface Laptop is a bad idea overall. Microsoft is in the hardware business. It only makes sense that they would have a device in the most purchased category of the market they are in. They now have a Surface that goes head-to-head with the best from HP, Lenovo, Apple and others and extends what they were trying to do with SurfaceBook. Windows 10 S many really be a bad excuse for Microsoft to go head-to-head with their hardware partners with a device the market was not really short on. But it fills a hole in the Surface lineup that had to be filled.

    • Chris Blair

      In reply to dhallman: +1 on (normally) using just Edge and Bing. I try to keep my Google footprint as small as possible.


    • Skolvikings

      In reply to dhallman:

      Just an aside, I use an iPhone and haven't touched iTunes in years. It's no longer essential for iPhone users to have iTunes installed.

      • dhallman

        In reply to Skolvikings: I understand that. But many iPhone users have their music and subscriptions with iTunes so the program is required for many people in that ecosystem. Especially students if that is the target market for the device. I understand it is not required if you are not 'all in' with Apple's services. But many are.


      • wolters

        In reply to Skolvikings:

        I can agree with that and while I do cloud backup my photos, I also like to connect to a PC and copy (and delete off of phone) my photos. From what I understand, you still need iTunes for that, at least for deleting photos off of an iPhone from a PC.


        This is one of a handful of reasons I never used the iPhone 7+, 256GB that my work provided.

        • RossNWirth

          In reply to wolters:

          Nope, you don't need iTunes, just connect via USB. I do think a lot of people use iTunes, I don't know how many of them actually need to. Assuming your music has been pushed to the Apple cloud, I think you can stream and manage via phone.

      • jbuccola

        In reply to Skolvikings:

        Unfortunately, iTunes is still required in a number of circumstances - off the top of my head, a complete restore (including passwords) requires it (via encrypted backup) along with device recovery when iOS updates fail. There's even a special little boot icon that shows a lightning cable and iTunes when this happens. Apple Support also falls back to it, as well "do you have a computer nearby with iTunes on it ??"


        So... yeah.

    • wolters

      In reply to dhallman:

      No worries on being a downer. I am mixed on both the EDU and Surface Laptop.


      I came away from yesterday's announcements kind of "eh". What did I really see? OK Microsoft wan'ts to make in-roads into school where Chromebooks rule. I didn't see a single thing really that would make me want to get off the established Chromebooks, if I was a school IT Director. Minecraft and a few features won't change anyone's mind.


      The Surface Laptop is nice and beautiful but it is being over hyped. I think HP has some really nice laptops right now at much lower costs.


      And Windows 10s. All apps must be downloaded from the Windows Store. Doesn't that means the store needs to get a rush of apps and programs out there? Or will there be a lot of Win 32 apps converted over by the desktop bridge? I want to believe this is Windows RT done right.


      I am just kind of cautious from yesterdays announcement as Microsoft has let me down over and over and over with excellent products that they let fade away. Oh the days when I was rocking a Surface Pro 3, Windows Phone, Microsoft Band 2, and Windows Media Center (just to name a few...and RIP Zune.)

    • edboyhan

      In reply to dhallman: Just a couple of things coming out of all the commentary here. Windows RT was designed to run on ARM processors. I just checked my Surface laptop it's running Windows RT 8.1 on an Nvidia Tegra processor (ARM).
      Back then apps running on Windows RT were based on the winrt API. At initial release winrt had a few hundred calls. About a year later at Build some MS staffers told me that winrt now had quite a bit more than 1000 calls. The winrt API is the foundation underlying built from scratch UWP apps. MS has continued to add feature support to winrt so that today it is possible to build UWP apps with a much richer feature set than was available back in the Windows RT days.
      Win32 apps CAN be delivered from the store, but they must be processed through the Desktop Bridge (called project Centennial internally) -- this uses technology derived from the App-V product to put the win32 app into a UWP compatible "package" which can be delivered via the store. Very little modification, if any, is needed to the win32 app. Once packaged as a UWP app it runs in a sandbox and performs as usual (if wanted one can add UWP only features to the win32 app going forward). This is the way that MS is bringing the Office 2016 (Office 365) desktop apps to the MS store later this year.


  3. slbailey1

    II saw a comparison cHart between Windows 10 S, Home, and PRO. I see no use for Windows 10 Home. I think Windows 10 Home days are numbered.

  4. wunderbar

    I see a lot of people saying that not having USB-C isn't a big deal today, and while they're mostly right, That's a very short sighted look.


    Most people don't buy computers every year or every other year. A good laptop can last 6+ years nowadays. And while Apple went too far the other way by *only* having USB-C connectivity in the new macbook pro, It's pretty undeniable that within 4-5 years the majority of devices we buy will have the ability to connect via USB-C. That is the future port of everything, and not including one means the device is hobbled in the longer term.


    I don't look at it a "I don't need USB C today so this laptop is fine" I look at it as "I'm probably really going to with this had it 3 years from now when I'm still using this computer."

  5. Ugur

    If the Surface Laptop wouldn't offer an upgrade path to Win 10 Pro, it would have, just like Windows RT gotten shunned by most of the audience and flopped hard.

    If MS really thinks Win 10 S is the windows of the future, then they are extremely misguided and delusional.

    It is only acceptable to most thanks to one being able upgrade to win 10 pro.

    "ridding us of the pain of the Win32 desktop mess that has been holding back Windows for years"

    right..sorry, but win 32/x86/x64 apps are "only" what 99.9999% of all windows users use windows for..


    MS should do the right thing and upgrade and improve win 32/x86/x64 things, do moves like Apple did for their OS and apps where one can have a full fledged desktop app but it just has all in that bundle and does not leak it's files nilly willy everywhere and mess with the registry and all.

    You don't have to cut down app functionality and force all to the app store to do such improvements.

    • Tony Barrett

      In reply to Ugur:

      It's the future of Windows purely by the fact out of the box, it's UWP apps only, which is exactly where MS want Windows to be. Every other attempt has failed, so the odds are heavily stacked against Windows 10 S.

      • skane2600

        In reply to Tony Barrett:

        The immediate future of Windows is in the hands of MS, the long-term future of Windows is in the hands of customers. It would be interesting to see if MS changed direction in the face of customer resistance. The changes MS made in response to customer feedback on Windows 8 were pretty minor.

        • hrlngrv

          In reply to skane2600:

          The changes from 8.x to 10 may have been forced by StarDock's Start8 and ModernMix, which I suspect sold way too well for MSFT's comfort. And in terms of being able to use alternative shells or shell components, Windows 7, 8.x and 10 have been more unchanged than changed.

          Back in 3.x days I used Norton Desktop as a replacement shell, then plain vanilla NT4 and XP until I discovered LiteStep. In the 30-odd years I've been using Windows (OK, I didn't have much use for Windows 1), I've used alternative shells or components for at least 20.

          I'll keep using Windows as long as I can replace what I consider to be MSFT's design mistakes. From my perspective, Windows 10 S may be an indicator that may be ending.

      • Henning Kilset

        In reply to Tony Barrett:


        It is *NOT* UWP apps only. Win32 apps can now be put on the store. This is a way to get big-name software houses to do that. Particularily Adobe.

      • Ugur

        In reply to Tony Barrett: Yeah, that's why the statement in the article came off a bit weird to me.
        Because it's one thing to say "it's the future of Windows MS would like" (even that would be crazy of MS to ever attempt again) and a whole other thing to say "It's the future of Windows".
        Because the future of Windows is in fact not decided by MS.
        MS can suggest a proposal, and if customers doN't accept it and MS insists on it, well, then Windows has no future at all.

        Locked down apps one can only get from the store will never work for the majority of users (unless they are ok with cutting the entire userbase down massively).
        I think what they could at most try if they want to expand these moves would be they offer both win 10 s and pro up front and one can decide any time to switch to the other.


  6. Steven Stolarski

    They have to do this. Remember that these are hero devices and cheaper alternatives will be available. I have two kids in elementary school and bought them their first laptops last Christmas, and guess what I bought them? 2 Acer Chromebooks at $250 a pop, with touchscreens, and android apps. Granted the android app experience needs a ton of work, but my kids are hooked on them, even more so than the X-box. To my kids, a computer is a Chrome browser and Android games. I would have never bought them a Windows laptop, but maybe I would have considered a Windows S device. Regular Windows is too complex for them and too much freedom to do unwise things. A few years back I also wondered what good a Chromebook was. Back then I was thinking "you can't do much with these things :(". Then my kids got older and I was thinking "you can't do much with these things! :)". Except kids are more adaptable, and have found plenty to do with those things, and now it will be hard to give them anything else.

    • chrisrut

      In reply to Steven Stolarski: Interesting - in contrast - I gave my 11 y.o. granddaughter an Acer Laptop with W10 for Christmas - and she is ecstatically playing things like Minecraft, which she adores. I'm not hearing about any push from her peers to move to Chromebooks - so I guess usage occurs in clusters based on what children see around them.
      BTW, she still has an iPad, but it's not getting much use.


    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Steven Stolarski:

      Easily possible to do considerably unwise things with an unrestricted Chrome browser. Put controls on their own accounts, and don't forget to put controls on guest accounts.

  7. euskalzabe

    I get that 10S is the future and I agree with it. However, I won't be part of the painful store-app growing up process. I was there for Windows Phone. I was there for Windows RT. I'm done. My Lumias are collecting dust. My Surface RT is only good for movie-watching on transatlantic flights (it's still unforgivable they won't update it to Windows 10. I hope this changes when 10 for ARM is released later this year). I will do no more paid testing for MS.


    I'll keep buying 10 Pro machines until the store is fully baked and other people have gone through the growing pains. I get that's the future, and it's ultimately better, but I'm not willing to suffer through the transition once again. Let others put up with it. When UWP centennial versions of what I use come out, I'll be happy to use them if they're in a healthy state. Meanwhile, MS will pry win32 out of my cold, dead hands. I know it's bad for me, but I also know transitions are awful. I'm happy to be last in line.


    Lastly, the $50 upgrade offer is perfectly priced I think. The problem is, if that money isn't translated into cheaper devices. If OEMs just fatten their margins and the consumer has to spend $50 in the end, then this will be problematic. If you can get your device $50 cheaper than it otherwise would've been, or with $50 better features/materials (and I know that's a risky proposition that ends up in near scams from the big OEMs - like claiming a 360 rotating screen has 4 positions allowing for "features" like "tent mode"... ahem), that I can get behind.

  8. Daekar

    You know, the more I think about it, the more I can see myself using Windows 10S on a daily driver machine that I don't do nerd stuff on. I could leave my desktop utility machine with full Windows and use a lightweight laptop for most tasks without practically anything installed. If I'm not gaming, I rarely use anything other than Groove, Edge, Office...


    Who knew? If I wait til after the new year, my first laptop might be both ARM powered and only run Windows Store apps.

    • euskalzabe

      In reply to Daekar:

      I'm in a similar boat, and I've done this thought process before. And then what happens is that the laptop where I thought I would only do XYZ on, is the one thing I have with me on a week long trip, and suddenly I want to play some 2D Steam game that's not too demanding... I can't. And it royally sucks. So yeah, this future is possible, but not until the store has a sizable variety of apps and access to services that matter.

    • JC

      In reply to Daekar:

      It would be an expensive media player. I'd wait till a cheaper alternative is out.

  9. bbold

    I totally agree, and I feel that those who don't understand the software focus of this new device are completely missing the point. Many people are going on about the lack of USB C and the 4 GB of Ram base model option, colors only available in the U.S., etc etc. I feel that there is somewhat an angry, hostile and "shellshocked" approach from some users who have responded to stories here on the site. It's sad, but I feel they are probably somewhat justified since MS have left them in the ditch after they invested in products such as Lumias, MS Bands, the list goes on. Let's hope MS doesn't give up on these device form factors, I truly believe they are 'onto something' with Windows 10 S and a big focus on Education. MS needs to learn how to stay the course, improve products, and the biggest factor they need to focus 110% on are developers creating new apps for the Store. That in and of itself has the power to push sales and drive more innovation.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to bbold:

      Maybe PCs have to be sold country by country in Europe, and maybe inventory requirements thus preclude choice of colors in Europe and most other nations, but why not color choice in China, India, Brazil and Indonesia (all with populations over 200 million)? Limitations on color choice does seem to be rather ridiculous, doesn't it?

      As for developers and new Store apps, same chicken-and-egg it always has been. As long as there are more Windows 7 PCs in use than PCs using any other Windows version, wouldn't independent developers be wise to keep selling traditional desktop software?

  10. MattHewitt

    Isn't Windows 10 Pro, with the "only allow store apps" setting turned on the future of Windows?


    Windows 10 S doesn't include on-prem AD support and doesn't allow you to change default search settings or browser settings. Considering there are no browsers in the app store, I don't see the default browser setting as much of an issue. But the ability to change the default search engine for a lot of people is important. Is the future of Windows losing the ability to change defaults on core programs?


    Why wouldn't every power user who buys the Surface Laptop immediately upgrade to Pro for free, flip the switch to allow store apps only? It seems to me they would have a superset of features with all of the security benefits of Windows 10 S.


    Just throwing some ideas out there.

    • Max Daru

      In reply to MattHewitt:

      I'll set up a new computer at work for someone and, as a test, set the browser's default search engine to Bing. I'll check back in a month or two and about 10% of the time the search engine is set to Google. My small sample leads me to believe most people don't care what search engine they use.

  11. Tsang Man Fai

    Paul has realized the real purpose of Surface Laptop w/ Win10S.  I agree that would be the future of W10S.  To fight the uphill battle with Google & Apple, Microsoft need some courage - the courage to prove that Windows Store could be a good platform - at least a store with high quality desktop class apps.  I would be disappointed if they cannot get major desktop apps to join the store in the coming months.  It is critical to Microsoft indeed.  Without quality desktop apps used by 90% of users in the world, people will finally complain W10S.


    There have been so many complaints (especially from MS fans) on why MS would release such a boring device.  Indeed traditional laptop is indeed the biggest market among PCs.  Given the good brand name of Surface MS has made (since Surface Pro 3), it would be unwise if MS still do not release such a device.


    I predict Surface Laptop would be more successful than Surface Book at least, if not SP4.


    Surface Laptop has made the Surface line of products even more complete.  Isn't it?

  12. MutualCore

    Windows RT 2.0 in a better casing. We know how well THAT ended.

    RIP Microsoft...

    • Bart

      In reply to MutualCore:

      Unlike RT, this OS isn't a dead end as Paul explained in previous articles. One can upgrade to Win10 Pro if needed. And there is support for Win32 (through the Store).

      • Nonmoi

        In reply to Bart:

        Not really, you and many others seem to under estimate the significance of $999 MSL - a configuration that has no reason to exist other than play a trick. And, the trick is that even on paper you can upgrade to Win10Pro (and for free within 2017), there is a hardware aspect set in to extremely limited you actual experience once you upgrade to Pro.


        Now, this is MS itself showcasing (to the OEMs) what can be done to Win10S devices and remained price competitive against its peers (or in other hand, have a wider margin). We had no yet knows the basic system requirement of Win10S, but I would imagine if basic requirement allows, many Win10S device will come with 2gb of RAM as its base model, which will be totally not usable once upgrade, especially for product line targeting the lower end. This make sense for both the hardware makers and the Microsoft (for its attention to push Win10S), so I bet you will see an implementation of such as far as the base requirement of Win10S allows it. And the only one who is going to be hurt will be the consumers that don't know better, which are many in the consumer and especially lower end consumer electronic space.

      • wolters

        In reply to MutualCore:

        Unlike RT, this OS isn't a dead end as Paul explained in previous articles. One can upgrade to Win10 Pro if needed. And there is support for Win32 (through the Store).


        So there can be Win 32 apps (desktop) in the Store and they will run on Windows 10s but no "side-loading" unless you get Pro, correct?

  13. ponsaelius

    This advance to Windows 10 S really depends on how many people just upgrade straightaway to pro. At the price point it seems like a Chromebook Pixel without the browser people want to use and no apps. OK limited apps. It is secure because there is probably nothing you can find worth installing with the exception of the new store based office.


    Let's see. An expensive laptop that works like a Google Pixel without Google services.

  14. Oasis

    Why doesn't Microsoft just hire a bunch of Developers and make them do its bidding.

  15. mmcpher

    I haven't seen them in person yet, but I can already feel the coming pressure from my kids (late teens and twenties) to upgrade, which had been mostly absent from them in the recent past. The competition will likely be between the Surface line and the new W10S OEM's. Which is where Microsoft wants it.

  16. Chris Payne

    Ugh, sorry, don't agree at all. Win10S and the UWP may be the future, but if the Surface devices are designed to showcase the power of Windows, you do that with Win 10 Pro, not a hobbled consumer-lite version of Windows. If I'm buying Surface, I'm paying $1k for a professional device, with which I expect to do everything Windows can do.

    You want something that will showcase the future direction of Windows, and the super-ease and speed of use, that isn't tethered by legacy? You come up with something new. Not an expensive me-too laptop. Give me an ultra-light, foldable, put it in your pocket, transparent, real-world priced, brouhaha device that will tell consumers this is the future. That's how you get them to buy in. Not by saddling your showcase device - that is supposed to be the most powerful device in its class - with an OS that won't showcase the power.

    I really don't understand what MS is doing here. Why spend 30+ minutes waxing poetic on how beautiful the device is, if the point isn't even the device itself (as Paul implies), but the future direction of Windows? Why didn't they spend more time about how brave they were to strip Windows of legacy bloat?

    Either their strategic plan is inane or they have no idea how to communicate anything (and the latter has already proven true multiple times over).

    • Attiq

      In reply to Chris Payne: agreed this laptop shouldn't exist.

      Journalists are gushing because they finally have a pretty Microsoft laptop, that's all this is.

      Nothing about this laptop seems specially fitted to windows 10s, aside from the batter life optimization which can be done on any device with the same chipset/battery combo.

      This device should have been a 369 convertible, I think they rushed to make this device so they had a device to launch with windows 10s that's all it is (probably why the event was delayed).

      I agreee with Paul about windows 10s being the future ( its what RT should have been). But this device is just to pad the line up which I don't think Microsoft should do. The surface brand is about innovation. Why not give us a generic surface mini or surface phone then?


  17. Bart

    I can't help but thinking MS is conditioning softwaremakers / consumers / business users to a world without Win32. The OS is here, Centennial Bridge is here, the hardware is now here. MS is setting the stage for the day that IS coming; "We won't support Win32 anymore as of Windows 10 build xxxx".

    And rightfully so. Playtime is over software makers, now get your *rse in gear to bring your apps/software to the Microsoft Store

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Bart:

      I can hardly wait to see the first few bumbling efforts at porting the major statistics packages to UWP. Then the attrocious x.1 offerings, then the only slightly better x.2 or (x+1).0 attempts, finally admitting that MSFT has made it necessary to run statistical analysis software under Linux.

  18. brentboylan

    Once Visual Studio runs on Win10S then we are there. Looking forward to Build to see if there are any hints in that direction.

  19. hrlngrv

    FTHOI, I just searched the Store for software development. Results were 6 games, 69 apps, 17 books and 1 album. The 69 apps include such titles as Baby Learn Behavior, ABCsoft Vietnamese Alphabet, Tomatime, and my favorite of the offerings My Test Paper with this from its description: 'So, you can use the software to implement the hope.' A more exquisite summation of MSFT's goals for UWP would be impossible to find or make up.

  20. hrlngrv

    Let me repeat something I mentioned in a reply below.

    3:2 ASPECT RATIO

    This may be the HARDWARE distinguishing feature of the Surface laptop, letting OEMs know it's OK TO ABANDON, MUTILATE, KILL, BURN & BURY movie screen laptop monitors (and desktop monitors too). At least poll users to find out whether they want 16:9 or (ugh!) 22:9 rather than something squarer.

  21. Bdsrev

    People think USB-C is more important than it is, the lack of USB-C isn't a huge problem. The Surface Laptop 3 should have a couple of USB-C ports, but the Surface Laptop 1 doesn't need one

  22. edboyhan

    On the Thunderbolt USB-C thing. I was reading a Reddit thread earlier today where they were discussing the Surface connector pinouts, and whether it would be possible to create a USB-C/Thunderbolt "dongle" that plugs in to the Surface power connector?

    Short answer: No, but remember the Surface connector is designed to simultaneously deliver power, USB 2, USB 3, DisplayPort, and Ethernet streams if it's connected to a Surface Dock -- so the bandwidth for Thunderbolt through the Surface connector would not necessarily be a problem. MS committed to maintain Surface accessory compatibility going forward -- so that's why the Surface connector is still present. That means if you already have a Surface Dock (as do I), it will work with the Surface Laptop.

    OTOH that doesn't prevent them from developing a new Surface Dock that contains USB-C, and Thunderbolt connectors (albeit perhaps at the cost of fewer or no displayport, ethernet, and USB 3 connectors) on this new dock. This dock would also need a proprietary Thunderbolt controller in it, and perhaps some logic to marry to whatever MS has on the other side of the Surface power connector that mate with the chipset(s) on the motherboard.

    It's certainly conceivable that MS could produce a new dock using the Surface power connector that contains Thunderbolt and USB-C capabilities. Apparently the Surface power connector uses PCI-E lanes in some fashion. I'm not an engineer, but hope springs eternal? (:grin)

  23. Waethorn

    #fakenews strikes again


    http://www.cnn.com/videos/cnnmoney/2017/05/02/microsoft-surface-laptop-aimed-at-students-cnnmoney.cnnmoney

  24. robincapper

    I get why they did a vanilla laptop, besting Mac with touch and pen capability, but really wished there was a (Surface Book like) reveal that the screen was a removable tablet running Windows ARM... : )


    For the next gen of Surface Book/Studio would love a Book that had the same format but with 1080 GPU base and it docked into the Studio screen...

    • Ugur

      In reply to robincapper: I didn't expect or ask for detachable screen for this one, since, well, MS already has such devices. But yeah, since this has touch and pen support, too, it's a shame the screen can't be folded over (which would have increased the usability in touch and especially pen usage massively and well, MS has no device yet which is more lapop like but with screen one can fully fold over)


  25. ivarh

    As a macbook pro user I don't really see the problem with USB-C/TB. At work I got a dock that has all the ports I need, same at home. So my laptop is only connected with one wire in both places. I get charging, external screen and ethernet and several USB A ports in both places. When I am around and about I have one USBC->USB3.0 hub that gives me the connectivity I need. Only problem is that I only have used it a couple of times the last month. The fact that apple have gone USB-C/TB3 means that it allows me to use a Dell USB docking station both at work and at home. Going with the surface connector locks you to microsoft.

    • Chris Blair

      In reply to ivarh: If you happen to see my post, would you let us know whether you can charge and connect your Mac to external monitors via the Dell USB-C hub using a single USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 port on your Mac. I ask because on the PC side I think this requires two cables and thus two USB-C ports on the PC, one for charging and the other for everything else. And a clarification, I think two ports are needed by an HP Spectre x360, 2017 edition. I'm not sure what is required by Dell or other PCs.


  26. Tony Barrett

    In some ways you can see Microsoft's rationale in Windows 10 S. The Surface Laptop is irrelevant and actually a compromise in almost every way, but it's just a platform for MS to show off what this is really about - the operating system. This is what they really wanted Windows 10 to be from day 1, but couldn't. This is the next evolution of Windows 10, and will become the standard in the next 2-3 years. This will also be a logical boost for Win10S on ARM, as it's UWP only by default. By this I mean;

    A subtle move away from win32, but still keeping it there if you want to pay for it (reminds me of what MS did with Media Center in Windows 8 as a way to say it's still there for a fee, but in reality, slowly strangle it)

    A push towards the app store for casual users who don't want to pay the win32 tax, meaning MS take their 30% on sales and increase store revenue.

    A nod to developers to say, look, a UWP only x86 device - get writing for UWP, or port your win32 apps over starting NOW

    A boost for their own platforms, as out of the box, it's Bing and Edge only

    A hefty nudge for MS services and ads, which will litter this O/S (it's essentially free to OEM's anyway)

    A challenge to other big developers, saying if you want our customers to use your browsers - rewrite or port them to UWP, as it's the only way they'll be able to access your software.

    A boost for education? Probably not. That's not really what this is about, but if they can get these things into schools, and kids get used to it, and use Bing/Edge all the time because they can't use anything else, that's what they get used to, and that's what they then look for when buying their own devices. They are tomorrows adults after all, with money to spend.


    In many ways, MS really seem to have given this some thought. Everything they've tried up to this point with Win8/10 etc has failed. They've tried to push it in the direction they want it to go, but nobody is listening. This is probably one of the only things they've got left, and using Win10S is in some ways very clever, in others a huge gamble that could backfire, but at this stage, MS have little choice.

    • skane2600

      In reply to Tony Barrett:

      Sounds like wishful thinking to me. It's a bit like believing that a new refrigerator that drops the freezer section will promote the consumption of fresh foods.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Tony Barrett:

      The one HUGELY GOOD thing about the Surface laptop is its 3:2 aspect ratio. I very much appreciate MSFT kicking its OEMs in the crotch about this. I'm not a fan of Windows 10 S, but I'd love to see Surface laptop sales exceed expectations and most of them be upgraded to Pro. That is a mixed message from Windows PC buyers: THIS is the hardware we want, but this is NOT the OS we want.

  27. YouWereWarned

    Fool me once (Zune/Windows Phone), shame on you. Fool me twice (trust us -- all the PROGRAMS (not "apps") organizations rely on are headed for the Store, any minute now), shame on me. Of course, you also must trust us that these same programs will be easily ported to ARM and/or UWP, and be equally speedy and robust, as on Intel. A painless process for developers and users.


    Nope, not gonna happen. I'm laughing so hard it hurts....


  28. Chris Blair

    I disagree, respectfully, that this is Microsoft's most important HARDWARE release ever. I would rather put the Surface Pro series, especially the Surface Pro 3, into that category. But I do agree that if, big if, Windows 10 S gains traction that its announcement is a big deal.

  29. Tirith

    This laptop, speaking a someone in Corp I.T. this is perfect for my C-Level charges. The last think I want an executive to-do is install software. And 70% of their time is spend in the Office suite and the rest in a browser. It looks stunning, and I can sell them Edge, as they are fair from power users. The Battery life is also quiet good, even if its a bit Polly-anna, Sure we use software deployment tools, and application whiteblack lists. but that is a second layer applied on top of windows. This is a better solution right out of the box.


    If these turn up in the "Channel" like the Surface Pros are, we will likely start buying them for our Executives.

    I can also see buyting these for our Marking staff, depending on how quickly Adobe Products show up in the store.

  30. pwrof3

    Paul, you also said Windows RT and the full screen live tiles were the future of Windows.

    Forgive me if I'm skeptical.

  31. abdulla77

    Although.. if this is the most important hardware release, then what on earth is Microsoft launching in Shanghai later this month?? A new Surface Pro 5? Wouldn't THAT be the most important hardware release? Or some other hardware?

  32. napkatz

    I think the ability to opt for Windows 10 Pro for $50 is important. Essentially, for those who don't find Windows 10 S to be a good fit, the hardware itself isn't thrown under the bus. This is very different than the ARM/RT debacle.


    Still, the state of the store will determine whether Windows 10 S has any legs.

  33. MacLiam

    OK, I sort of get your point, but MS has introduced a number of Grand New Strategies in the past that haven't been as successful as the company probably hoped they would be. I fear Windows 10 S may be the latest such initiative. Whether it actually succeeds or not will probably depend on the ability of company staff to talk about it supportively on the fly rather than relying on canned and over-rehearsed speeches like the ones we heard yesterday.

    After 24 hours of reflection I am still on the fence, but I'm probably going to end up buying one just to show my approval of the designers' efforts to push established devices and capabilities in new directions. But I need to convince myself that I can resist the temptation to upgrade to 10 Pro just because it feels like no-cost valued added on this specific model. I have other 10 Pro machines, including a Surface Book that I very much like, so it's not like I would be slamming the door on some beloved software that I have used for 10 to 20 years. The test would be to let my use of this laptop evolve in emerging channels and see if it lives up to its promise.

    I am definitely appreciative of the tight device security that Microsoft provides, and I see the Store restriction as an enforcement policy that just make it that much harder for bad actors to hijack average commercial machines.

    Port type and count don't mean jack to me. At home I can use a dock or USB multiplier with adapters if I need to hook up more stuff. At the coffee shop I'm traveling light and working on a focused task. If I need additional ports there, I'm not working smart enough.

    So: maybe. If I pull the trigger I will report back come summer once the device is in hand.

  34. Nonmoi

    Now, if this is what MS is intended to do (software defined hardware in consumer market), does it mean that SP4 is still likely to get a hardware refresh in the near future (I am thinking Build, next weeek) as before?


    I guess we will be able to find that out soon enough, won't we?

  35. Tony Barrett

    I'd argue that MS haven't defined anything new, they've just taken existing product types that have come and gone, re-packaged them at extreme prices and tried to re-launch the PC as a desirable device. By creating products at the premium end of the market they take on Apple and attempt to make the PC aspirational again. They take the cream of the profits at the high end where sales are lower, and let their OEM's fight for the scraps at the bottom end of the market.

    I can't see why people are gushing over this laptop, because that's all it is, an expensive laptop in a pretty case running a crippled version of the O/S designed to push people to MS services and the app store. Sure, if it's not enough for you, you give MS some more money, and you can have the 'full' Windows 10.

    By making out it's aimed at the education market (which it's not really, only the O/S is), MS can claim to be listening to the K-12 market, and yes, we know they want to try and stop the Chromebooks relentless march, but I really don't think this is the right product. It still has many of the inherent Windows design problems and limitations that schools have been trying to move away from.

    Ultimately, Windows 10 S is the next logical Windows step for MS, and it wouldn't surprise me if MS make it the standard Windows 10 version before not too long. It's logical by the fact it's the first big step to removing win32, it will encourage devs to write for UWP and/or re-package win32 apps for the store, and obviously every store sale gifts MS 30%. Giving users an option (at a fee) of having win32 capability is just Microsoft's way of easing Windows forward to where they want it to be. If people can't see this, they're not looking very hard.

    • skane2600

      In reply to Tony Barrett:

      Windows S doesn't increase the market size for UWP apps at all, so it's hard to see how it will motivate developers.

    • Randall Lewis

      In reply to Tony Barrett:
      Microsoft did not claim the Surface Laptop was aimed at the education market. They even highlighted OEM devices running Windows 10S at price points of $189 and up. The Laptop was discussed as a device for university students, and I can see it attracting some customers there. Paul is being a bit simplistic in his conclusion that this device is "makes more sense" than any Surface device. That is true if Microsoft regarded Surface as he does, but it has been clear for some time that Microsoft has several goals for its Surface investments.


  36. JanesJr1

    I wonder why Win 10S, with or without Surface Laptop, might not have appeal to businesses. Why NOT have a simple deployment/management technology that's both cheap (like Chrome) but powerful? Office plus browser plus containerize any proprietary win 32 apps.


    I know, you'd probably also need Adobe and some others in there. Maybe you'd let the chiefs and creatives have Win 10 Pro, but restrict the support staff and field people to 10S. But wouldn't the simpler, more powerful alternative to Chromebook have appeal to many businesses, and put some wind into Win 10S adoption, just like school districts?

    • VancouverNinja

      In reply to JanesJr1:

      It does. The light bulb flashed for us yesterday and we are looking to move our sales force to the Surface Laptops with S as it will be much easier for us to manage. We have them on Surface Books right now. Our sales force is spread out internationally - it just makes more sense.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to JanesJr1:

      Larger enterprises with application servers accessed via VMWare or Citrix remote desktop clients or the like already have secure application provision. If you need a company network connection to access the data you need, you already have a network connection to access remote desktop programs. Why screw around with something like Windows 10 S rather than even thinner clients like Chromeboxes?

      Maybe Windows 10 S appeals to SMBs, but that remains to be seen. Kinda tangential: how many businesses adopted Windows RT tablets or wrote their own line-of-business Modern or UWP apps?

      • 880510

        In reply to hrlngrv: In reply to your tangent. Not many (and I get around). It seems to me that most LOB apps tend to be web based at this point, also, often available through Citrix / or some other remote app. Just a comment on that comment. My tangent to your tangent...I do think Paul is onto something with his Progressive Web app commentary.


  37. DWAnderson

    Why is the offer to upgrade to Win 10 for free only temporary? I would think that would encourage people to upgrade to avoid the possibility of having to pay later even if they may never need it. If the real value is a test of how many people upgrade to Win 10, why no? allow the free upgrade forever (at least for devices sold in 2017)?

  38. Ugur

    I wondered: How many here have actually tried to turn a regular full win 32/x86/x64 desktop app into a packaged for the store (centenial or however it is called now) app?

    I tried so a few months ago and back then it was such a cumbersome process that the only thing it did for me was make me wonder if MS actually does want people to do that.

    • curtisspendlove

      In reply to Ugur:

      I haven't fully thought through this, but what I'd like to see is a build target added to Visual Studio. Even if you need to add some config and such, I feel like it should be part of the pipeline instead of a separate tool.

      • Ugur

        In reply to curtisspendlove: That too, but i'd go even much further. One should not even need to use VS at all. If one has an already made windows desktop app/exe, one should just be able to select the folder with the files in it and select the main exe and hit a button and it should turn it automagically into a centenial app.

        They should also get with the main engine makers like Unity and Unreal so they support this out of the box to deploy as centenial apps like they already allow to deploy as regular windows desktop exe and UWP (via visual studio project in way too cumbersome way)


    • siko

      In reply to Ugur:

      I tried it today with an app I think should really enter the store. Not being the developer, having only the installer downloaded, I was able to easily package it for the store....


      Once developers (post Build 2017?) finally realize the store has great benefits FOR THE USERS, it might fill up quicker than the last person laughing here finishes...


      MS is on to something since RT, better keep paying attention!

    • skane2600

      In reply to Ugur:

      I haven't tried it but looking at the process it does seem very convoluted what with virtualization and all. It sounds like there weren't able to parse and interpret a program's installer setup files but instead had to intercept installer actions and convert them. Actually, I'm just speculating on how the bridge works.

      • Ugur

        In reply to skane2600: Yes, exactly. I will try it again soon now that they renamed it and a few months passed since i last tried it, but yeah, last time i tried it it was a horrible procedure that made me really question whether MS seriously thinks this is a halfway acceptable way of making people jump through to get it done.
        (And note: i have deployed apps and games to pretty much all major platforms, so i'm used to all sorts of hassle, but yeah, something like this should be doable easily in a simple UI if not even automatically via a button click, not involve any such hassle on this level they had going there).

        It felt like a pre alpha technical internal proof of concept preview to show that it is doable, not like something to be shared to the outside world as actual usable solution.


        • skane2600

          In reply to Ugur:

          Yes, and while it's not unreasonable to think that major software vendors are running Windows 10 Pro and have processors that support virtualization, there are still a lot of small Win32 projects that never required a Pro version to create or maintain. It was the same situation with WP development - you had to have the Pro version to emulate a phone.


          In a way it seems like MS feels they have to glean some extra profit from developers even if it undermines their goal of getting developers on board.

  39. anchovylover

    Good Lord these are expensive here in Australia even allowing for the exchange rates. The base model i5, 128GB is $1497! Next i5, 256GB at $1998! Then i7, 256GB at $2448 and i7, 512GB at $3297! Good luck moving many of these MS. Damn!

  40. dorana

    Windows 10 S is not going to succeed until they sort the lack of apps in the app store. In my view there has been more main stream apps been pulled this year from the store and than created. And that is even with over 400m install of Win 10 globally, there is clearly something wrong when it comes to getting software vendors to develop modern apps for the store.


    So until this is sorted, Win S is not going to succeed, even in the education market. And BTW the education market needs to be a top priority for MS, because these are the people who will be making the decisions what platforms and software packags we use in the future. And as governor of a school I'm already seeing a swing towards other platforms (IOS and Android) because of the availability of apps

  41. jwillis84

    I still think of Microsoft as a hardware drivers company with a language side business.. everything else is kinda "fluff" in a fashionable sense. Spring, Fall, Winter and Summer screensavers have never really meant much to me. Legacy program support, Classic legacy UI and rigoursly "tested" hardware drivers with "available" hardware on the market was and is far more usable. Cloud seems rather like Lotus 1-2-3 all over again, its the commodity "me-too" play that may or may not work out. -- the Surface (whatever) has always been too rich for my tastes or pocketbook. I'll take the HP 11 G5 chromebook anyday as a super light weight, Windows laptop once "liberated". The HP Folio13 i5 is still the "primo" laptop for ports (SDHC, USB2 and USB3) and compatibility and still runs all versions of Windows just fine. HP also learned a hard lession with USB-C and all its myriad charging problems.. a good old fashioned, microslim power brick is far more stable and reliable.. and charges the battery in very reasonable times.. not overnight. USB-C is just a "flaky standard" and can lead to too many leaky or firebranded battery problems. Sure you can flip the cable, but its also delicate and can get twisted, yanked or destroyed fairly easily... and its a terrible SSD or Nand flashdrive port... and for phones.. hey WiFi transfers are easier and faster than the USB on many phones.

  42. glenn8878

    Is the laptop a touchscreen? So far, doesn't impress with the specs. It lacks specs. It's just pedestrian. Doesn't look much better than the Surface Pro. It fills a category, but that's basically it.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to glenn8878:

      As mentioned in the article, it's distinguishing feature is Windows 10 S the preinstalled OS.

      Tangent: knowing what hard plastic keyboards look like after I've used them for a month, there's no chance I'd buy one of these until they come with a nonfabric keyboard.

      ADDED: per https://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/pdp/Surface-Laptop/productID.5102691100, 10-point multi-touch screen. However, what REALLY caught my eye: 3:2 aspect ratio. The death of movie screen laptop monitors could not come too soon.

  43. hrlngrv

    Windows 8 RT: the future of Windows.


    MSFT's customers will decide the future of Windows. It'll be interesting in October to see how Surface laptops have sold for a quarter.

  44. Chris Blair

    One of my portable PC requirements is that it must support the use of a digital pen. I don't use a pen with my Surface Pro 3 every day, but do so often enough so that it has become important to me. Thus, I don't understand why Microsoft did not use a 360 degree hinge in the Surface laptop. Without it, the pen (and dial) have much less utility. I tried using a pen on my SP3, with its keyboard in the laptop position, but was not very successful. You really need a "surface" on which you can rest your palm in order to use a pen for serious work (writing equations, sketching 3D shapes, taking hand-written notes, etc.). So I'm afraid I'll wait for the SP5 (or get an HP Spectre x360) before I put my SP3 into retirement.

  45. Simard57

    a/o now there are 400+ Million Windows 10 devices out there and it has a ways to go to overtake Windows 7 as the most used OS. Windows 10 S will begin its life as a sliver of the Windows 10 piece (I wonder if the stat counters can differentiate it in the wild?).


    Windows 10 S will have to grow significantly in order to entice companies like Google to package their apps into the store. IF it is true that Windows 10 S can be managed more easily (less expensive to maintain) AND be more secure, the enterprises will take notice and increase demand for it. The challenge there is the legacy Line of Business (LOB) apps - to address this Microsoft needs to make a strong Cloud offering (Azure or AWS - wherever the customers are) to provide a place of those LOB apps to run without forcing the enterprises back into the Windows 10 Pro/Enterprise upgrade. Alternatively, providing enterprises with their own Centennial Bridge offering to permit them to repackage these apps for their future use.


    I wonder how long this Future of Windows will take to play out. It may take a 5-10-15 year time frame.

  46. JerryH

    Interesting take. I am going to buy one of these to replace my aging Surface Pro 3 that I used exactly once without the keyboard attached. But I will immediately install Windows 10 Pro as Chrome, Paint.Net, Visual Studio etc. (and potentially Office too if it remains relegated to the store for education) all require real Windows and not the toy Windows RT 2.0 that ships on the Surface Laptop.

  47. Waethorn

    "I’ve also stated repeatedly that Windows 10 S is nothing less than the future of Windows"


    Pretty sure you said the same thing about Windows RT at that time.

  48. JudaZuk

    But there is no point to use Windows 10 S, unless you are a school and give them to a kids. If you need the computer for actual work, you need to upgrade to Pro most of the time. So why not buy a cheaper and more powerful computer to begin with, that come with Windows 10 Pro ?

    Why pay $999 for a laptop that is limited both in hardware and with software? I'm still not getting why a normal consumer would want this, or for that matter a professional.

  49. michael.dice

    If I bought a Suface Laptop, why would I not opt for the free upgrade? If I'm running Windows 10 Pro and only ever install software from the store, are there any other differences between this and Windows S?

  50. woelfel

    I was thinking the same exact thing yesterday.

  51. ibmthink

    From a hardware point of view, the most important thing about Surface Laptop is that it uses a 3:2 display, its the first Windows Notebook by a major manufacturer with this aspect ratio (pure Notebook, not a Detachable like the Surface Book).

    3:2 is a great aspect-ratio, and its time that the Windows OEMs and display-panel manufacturers see this as well. Hopefully, if this device is a success, we see more Windows notebooks with taller displays. 16:9 has its place on TVs and big monitors, but for Laptops, 3:2 would be better.

    • JudaZuk

      In reply to ibmthink:

      Yes, that is basically the only redeeming factor of the Surface Laptop, ..the screen aspect ration, and sure the battery life if it is actually true. Everything else seems to be a compromise Proprietary charger, proprietary dongle "docking station", low on RAM , no dGPU option, fabric around the keyboard that will get stained and messy no matter how they protected it, no USB-C and and Windows 10 S that does not even allow a different browser then Edge , because there are none in the store, not even Edge is in the store yet. The opening angle is very limited, you forget about "tent mode" or tablet mode using it to write on in any good way at all .

      I just don't get who this devices is for, people that have more money then sense, and that prefer to look at a pretty computer over actually using it?

  52. Dave_D

    I can't wait to check out the Surface laptop but will probably not get it. It doesn't interest me. To me it is another high end laptop. I like my Surface Book. I like writing on my screen and a laptop will make that awkward. Computing devices are personal preference like you said bags are in your review of the Surface Book bag. I don't think that adding Windows 10 S makes it a differentiator but I also don't have a problem with Microsoft making a laptop either.


    As for Windows 10 S, Microsoft is still going to have an app gap problem. As you like to point out the Windows store is crap. For Win 10 S to succeed Microsoft is going to have to convince Google to bring Chrome and Apple to bring iTunes (to name a few) to the Windows Store. If not people will take the upgrade to Pro. If that happens, then the Surface Laptop is just another high end laptop running Windows and there are plenty of those on the market. If the first thing that people do is upgrade to Pro, I don't see OEM rushing to install Win 10 S on their high end laptops.


    The idea of a safe OS running apps in isolation is long overdue and taking away the Registry Crud that plague Windows would be nice. If Microsoft can convince app builders to bring their apps to the store then Win 10 S has a chance to really succeed. If they rely on the early telemetry to see if people are upgrading, I think they are going to be disappointed. The people that are going to rush out an preorder the laptop are going to be power users that can't live off of Windows Store apps a lone and the first thing they are going to do is upgrade. It will be the casual user, who goes to the store to purchase it, who may give 10 S a try. That is of course they don't care if they can't use Chrome or Google search. Microsoft also runs the risk of confusing users, "What do you mean I have to pay $50 to run 'insert Win32 app here" (I understand they can upgrade for free till the end of the year). Kind of like Windows RT, though not as bad since you can upgrade. The casual user is not going to see the beauty of Win 10 S.


    For me it is not an issue I can't use Win 10 S until it can run Visual Studio or SQL server. Hopefully this will fuel UWP apps or Centennial apps. You are right the next few months will be interesting.

    • lvthunder

      In reply to Dave_D:

      I could see Apple repackaging iTunes way before Google would repackage Chrome. iTunes at least brings money into Apple with the Store and Apple Music. Google makes the same amount of money if you browse with Edge or with Chrome.

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to Dave_D:

      Yeah, the lack of Chrome will be a problem particularly among consumers. In education and enterprise, where consumer choice is less of an issue, they might get by with a (presumably) improved Edge browser.

      I don't think iTunes is as big of an issue. It's been years since you needed iTunes to activate a device, backup your data, buy and manage content, sync photos, etc. iOS devices are designed to be more or less fully functional without a PC. We have two iPhones and an iPad. The last time we used iTunes was once in 2015 to burn a CD. The last time before that was to restore an iPhone 4S. Are there still millions of iTunes users on PCs? Sure. But they, and the rest of the computing world, will move forward anyway.

      • jimchamplin

        In reply to Chris_Kez:

        Only issue will be playing tunes while using the PC. I realize that I'm in what seems like a quickly shrinking minority, but I still use my Mac mini or my Lenovo Ideapad as the places I play most music.

        I'd love to see the numbers for iTunes users on Mac and PC, to see how many actually still use it to listen.

      • Dan

        In reply to Chris_Kez:

        The Edge browser is a no-go at most corporations as it doesn't have the functionality needed to work with legacy applications. Enterprises fall back to IE or use Chrome/Firefox.

  53. emanon2121

    I can see the entire Surface line adopting 10S with a free upgrade to 10 Pro within the first 30 days. If Microsoft can get 10S to be the majority of Windows install its a win win for OEMs and Microsoft. OEM can save themselves the costs of a Windows license and Microsoft could potentially make more per windows copy going through the store.

    • rfog

      In reply to emanon2121:

      Not first 30 days but until end of year.

    • Ugur

      In reply to emanon2121: If MS would want to try to lure some people in to Windows S on the pro devices, at best/most what they could do would be on first boot it let''s you choose whether you want S or Pro and then when you go with S it will still bring up the option to upgrade to pro (like they showed in the educe presentation when one tries something not enabled on S like using desktop applications from outside the store), and that option would have to be available forever on pro devices while they went with the default option of running S.

      If they would try something like it coming with S by default on the pro devices and it being a time limited window for upgrading to pro or it would cost additionally to upgrade to pro (and that price was not deducted from the pro price compared to now), it would instantly turn the pro devices into flops.

      It was received as ok now for this edu move as the device costs 999 in base version and because there's the upgrade path forever to pro and even free for the rest of the year.
      But if they would try that on pro pricing level devices and on top with limited timeframe for the upgrade, yeah, complete no go to the far large majority of (potential) users.


    • JudaZuk

      In reply to emanon2121:

      I can not see any home user or professional downgrading to Windows 10 S , why would they? to be forced to use Edge and Bing? So they can make sure they can not use any of the program they use every day?

      It is one thing that Windows 10 S is great for education, for younger students, where you really want to lock things down. As long as the tools you need is there, that is how it should be But if you are a student in collage , this is not an option if you do anything that require things like AutoCad, MathLab, Development, video editing, and demanding image processing etc.

      If you study something that only demand you hang in café s and libraries and type text documents, fine.. but then there is no reason to limit your options anyways


      • Chris_Kez

        In reply to JudaZuk:

        Thousands of professionals work through apps and web-based tools all day, every day. Assuming Microsoft can continue improving Edge, then they can meet the most common usage scenarios for huge number of people (e.g. browsing, email, messaging, basic Office-type tasks). Does it fit your needs? No. If you literally cannot see how anyone could live and work without Windows then you need to get out more.

      • euskalzabe

        In reply to JudaZuk:

        10S would be perfectly fine for all if "AutoCad, MathLab, Development, video editing, and demanding image processing etc" had UWP versions. Unless and until that happens, however... it's not viable.

        • Henning Kilset

          In reply to euskalzabe:


          For the umpteenth time on this thread - WINDOWS 10S DOES NOT ONLY RUN UWP APPS. Store apps and UWP apps are no longer the same thing.


          A Win32 app can be packaged up and put on the store.


          https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/bridges/desktop

          • skane2600

            In reply to Henning Kilset:

            He probably misspoke. But the important thing is that the programs and program categories he mentioned are not available in the store and so far there's little indication that they ever will be. If you are well known vendor with a good following there's really no motivation for "bridging" your Win32 program just to give MS a cut.

            • Chris_Kez

              In reply to skane2600:

              I wonder if MS has reconsidered the 30% cut, or is thinking about other ways to make the store more attractive. I think the iPad has been held back by the Apple Store policies. There's a big install base, tons of great developers, and the recent iPad's are way overpowered for the simple iOS apps that are common in the store. It seems like there could be a big market for slightly more robust productivity apps, but the store is built for free and cheap apps. If you want build a business around a productivity app, people need to be able to try it first; and you need to be able to charge for updates so you can make it a compelling long-term service. And you can't toss out 30% every time.

  54. Waethorn

    Correct me if I'm wrong here, but doesn't Windows 10 S still include all the Win32 libraries and legacy code anyway? The problem with Windows isn't necessarily the Win32 apps you run on it - it's the bulk of old code, and legacy computing methodologies that Microsoft still puts into it for backwards compatibility. This is the problem with Windows 10 and x86 computers today - it's still just evolutionary steps over Windows NT from 20 years ago, and even more, from the IBM PC 10+ years before that. And Microsoft wants ARM architecture to work like x86, which is just baffling.

    • skane2600

      In reply to Waethorn:

      Windows has been MS's cash cow for decades. The day they abandon backwards compatibility will be the day their OS becomes just another commodity. They should have created a new OS for mobile that was finger-touch oriented shortly after the iPhone appeared. The phony "one Windows" approach is not furthering their future goals and it's undermining their legacy advantage.

    • rfog

      In reply to Waethorn:

      Microsoft removed some backward compatibility in Vista and they had to add in next updates because almost all applications stopped working. From Windows Source, there are a lot of code hacks to make old programs still work because they are not well done but worked due MS bugs, or MS changed the API (for example to resolve some bug or security issue) but the program manufacturer din't updated the new way. And I'm not talking about little developers, I'm talking about Autocad, Borland (old Borland), etc..

      • Waethorn

        In reply to rfog:

        My point is, if this version of Windows can't run Win32 apps, the Win32 libraries should be a component that's removed from the OS image altogether, much like .Net Framework. The whole "Windows Features" list should contain the same for Windows 10 Pro features. I don't know why they can't just make one checklist of features, starting with Windows 10 S (or a lower-end variant that doesn't include the business features like Hyper-V or Azure AD features - think Windows 10 Home just without Win32) and make features available behind a paywall. Here's how I'd do the whole Windows thing:


        1) One install of Windows 10 with no Win32 support nor libraries. No extra business features like the S variant. This would be a stripped down version of Home with a reduced price.

        2) Have 1 list of all features of Windows 10 Pro, including Hyper-V, Azure AD, local domain join, Remote Desktop Server....basically anything that makes Windows 10 S and Windows 10 Pro unique, with the addition of Win32 libraries.

        3) Any feature the user wants that isn't available in their SKU, ask for an upgrade payment. Once Windows is upgraded to that level (S or Pro), it won't ask again for payment for other features in that feature set, but the user controls what features are enabled and installed. It doesn't need to be complicated. Things like .Net Framework would be free, but might require Win32 libraries. Dependencies should be mitigated. If one checkbox is checked, dependencies are checked too. If a choice or dependency requires a SKU upgrade, ask for money. If not, just install it.

        4) Win32 should be an on-demand component, just like the rest, thereby cutting down on the OS image size. Backwards compatibility should be an option at this point, not a mandatory feature.

        • skane2600

          In reply to Waethorn:

          There's isn't all that much price to reduce for Windows Home is there? Display, CPU, RAM, disk, and keyboard make up the majority of a laptop's cost. That's why Chromebooks can't really beat Windows laptops on price alone - everybody's cost is about the same and not paying a Windows license has little impact on the end-user price.

      • Waethorn

        In reply to rfog:

        Hmm....I may be overthinking this. Centennial apps are Win32. Removing the libraries would cause them to break, but then, why doesn't Centennial just bundle in Win32 support into the wrapper instead of having it in the underlying OS? Doesn't it stand to reason that by having those libraries outside of the wrapper would make it feasible for a hacker to break the system more easily? I mean, you're talking about one security flaw in the wrapper, and you have a Windows Store app compromising the entire system. I'm not sure of exactly how the Win32 isolation works for Centennial apps though, since the documentation is a bit lacking.

  55. rfog

    This is a new "embrace and kill" Microsoft strategy. They want to gain Edge and UWP quote, but I think they will lose, as they lost with Windows RT.

    People will buy this laptop, but once they will see how limited the OS is, will return it or update to PRO version.

    Windows S is a new DOA from Microsoft.

  56. navarac

    Who in their right mind is going to pay £1000 - £2000 for a "hobbled" laptop (albeit a lovely machine) and then keep it hobbled? I don't see the store getting better with useful apps anytime soon.

  57. chaad_losan


    The problem is 100% of users will hit he upgrade to pro button ASAP on startup. The windows store has almost zero applications that matter. Even Microsoft has yet to release a version of office that is downloadable from the windows store. Yes I know this is coming. But when MS itself has yet to port, even with centennial, it's most important software. You got to wonder why other companies would bother to make their apps available on the windows store.

    The Mac App Store has been a spectacular failure. Some companies like Bare Bones have removed apps from the store due to it's restrictions on what the apps can and cannot do. Of course it does not help that MS keeps changing the API and from windows 8 to windows 10. Creating an ever moving target. I don't know what it will take to get away from Win32. I suspect that developers will be using Win32 for another 20 years at the very least.

    • siko

      In reply to chaad_losan:

      For day to day stuff I'm 100% store and that includes office mobile with a office 365 subscription.

      I think you'll be surprised how quickly the windows store will fill up if you consider the existence of the Windows Desktop Bridge (effectively making win32 apps available via the Store).

      Windows 10 Store :D

    • Adrián Iriarte

      In reply to chaad_losan:

      Totally agree... Even tough I think this strategy is aimed to increase the number and the quality of the apps in the Windows store, but I think they should have created a real competitor of the iPad Pro for 400€ like the nexus 4 was to increase the quality of the android software.


      Those efforts to create that "cheap" surface should be a long term invest when the Store would have grown in 2 years. For god sake... basic apps arent in the Windows store... No medium user can deal with W10s

  58. RonH

    General Question...


    Can Microsoft take ANY free Win32 program and make into a store app?


    for example: Chrome.


    legal issues?

    technical issues?

    • euskalzabe

      In reply to RonH:

      That's what I'd also like to know. I seem to recall last year's build, I think, where you could just drop in an installer and the converter would make a UWP installer, basically. If it's that easy, this should be no problem. The radio silence on this since then, however, suggests otherwise. Sadly.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to RonH:

      In all likelihood MSFT would be as free to repackage Chrome into a UWP package as Google would be to provide free-of-charge Windows VMs on all Chromebooks/boxes.

      Legal issues? Ya think?!

    • chaad_losan

      In reply to RonH:

      Technical and legal. a mile long

    • robsanders247

      In reply to RonH:

      No, from a legal perspective it's the original developer that gets to decide how the app is distributed. Technically this may be feasible, I don't think the process would be much different from wrapping apps for App-V for instance, but the redistribution part would be where Microsoft needs the support/blessing of the original developer.

  59. DocPaul

    It's a mistake to make the upgrade to Pro only temporarily free. If Microsoft wants people to give 10S a chance, then they shouldn't add the pressure of a deadline by which to ditch it without a $50 penalty.

    • skane2600

      In reply to DocPaul:

      I imagine they're aren't doing that because so many people would just upgrade to Pro greatly reducing the use of Windows S. BTW, you can already get a Windows 10 Pro laptop for the same $189 price point that MS said was the lowest price for a Windows S PC.

  60. DadCooks

    Too expensive, too little memory, too little processor, too little storage. Even the "upgrade" to Windows 10 Pro is a joke on such a low power laptop. And this is for education? MS expects students to spend this much? School districts have so much money to spend more than $1000 per laptop? I don't think so. Way too much sizzle for a piece of fake shoe leather.


    Paul, I am afraid your posts this week do not sound like the objective person you can be. Did Microsoft send you a dead fish? Please get back to the real world.

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to DadCooks:

      First, are you honestly not aware that this is a "hero" device meant to generate awareness while the vast majority of education devices will be lower cost offerings from PC vendors? Did you miss that part? Microsoft announced W10S devices would be coming from Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Samsung and Toshiba.

      Second, lots of college freshman will be buying $1000 laptops.

      Third, as far as it being too expensive you must have a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of Surface as a premium device that is not meant to compete too closely with Microsoft's partners. If Surface were a "good value", it would literally no longer be "premium".

    • bbold

      In reply to DadCooks:

      Don't buy the product then. How is complaining here constantly going to change things? Get over it and move on. Go buy a $200 Dell Windows 10 S device or a $2500 2017 MacBook Pro and let's see your gripe list then. I, for one, am excited and believe that this is the most important device MS has released in some time. I can see that the Education focus and extra safety and security of the software make this one special device for many.

  61. siko

    Thanks for sharing. I thought to not include a USB-C-Type port, is a stab in the direction of foolish Apple to cross it's own users and give them no choice. MS is not hurting anyone by not including them... and yes, there will be takers :)

  62. RonH

    I think the the average person could get one if these and not realize that they can't run Win 32.


    My wife has a SP4, and other than office win 32 apps, there are no others programs installed.


    She uses the mail and calendar apps, and Edge. I have also loaded up her music in Groove.


    Windows S will also force MS into updating Edge to work with all web sites and have feature parity with other browsers.


    I personally like the UWP apps from Microsoft. Yes, they need more functionality, but I find that they do what I need 95% of the time. Hopefully the next update in the fall will help.


  63. thisisdonovan

    Sounds like Paul has been drinking the Microsoft Kool-Aid once again.


    As much as windows 10 S makes sense from a theoretical perspective, its success is directly tied to whether or not the windows store is a success. Paul has stated multiple times that the windows store is a barren desolate wasteland. It's currently not a success, nor are there any indications that that it will become one.


    Microsoft needs this to succeed, but it's got its work cut out for it, and I just can't see the public buying into it no matter how much Microsoft needs them to.



    • euskalzabe

      In reply to thisisdonovan:

      I think Paul gets excited, like any person would about a certain subject. I however, like you, have learned to read between the lines and identify when he is being more objective or when he's being hopeful. There's a bit of both in this article. His future idea is great, better for all, but implies overcoming the great store-growing obstacle. I've gone through that process twice with WP an W RT, not doing it again. I'll buy in when the market is conquered, not before the big battle.

    • Roger Ramjet

      In reply to thisisdonovan:

      One aspect that makes this different, and more likely to happen (aside from a bunch of inside games Microsoft must be playing) is that with 10S, you can approach the store build out by vertical segment. You have specific value propositions for specific developers who are focused on specific things, e.g. obviously, education. Going to the store is now a no-brainer for developers  targeting K-12 or Colleges, so that is checked off. You can go down the list in that way, Healthcare, Government? At each step along the way there will be side leakages. Folks might put things in the store for their College student customers, but it could be useful to a bunch of Engineers, Architects etc. At some point you get critical mass and it goes into a tornardo. This stepwise approach always has a better success rate than the big bang, even if you are a "software giant", when you are fighting entrenched network effects.

  64. harmjr

    Paul, come its not more important then the revolution of the Surface Pro line up. Yes this Mac book competitor will kick ass but it does not invent or change the game. So yes they this may sell and so does the iPad Mini and iPad Pro but the WOW factor is definitely missing to me they might as well added a touch bar! By the way this was and education event they released a premium device that is way too expensive for a classroom. Talk about no child left behind. That free upgrade to Windows Pro should be free for life with any Windows 10 S purchase no mater what device its sold on. The only positive thing I can take from this is your complaining about Surface Book paid off and maybe that 3:2 Surface Monitor will be released next fingers crossed.

  65. Polycrastinator

    I think virtually all users will switch to Pro as soon as they get the laptop. There's a chicken/egg problem here, no one can use S until there are apps in the store, no one will put apps in the store until S has become a major part of the user base. Microsoft needs the developer buy in before S comes out, and it doesn't appear that they have it.

  66. Billzeal

    I think many buyers won't think twice about Windows 10 S. They will just use it not knowing its limitations compared to Pro. And thats a good thing .As you well know using the Internet is where the unsafe part of computing comes in. Does Windows 10 S deal with this differently?

  67. StudBen

    I plan on getting one checked it out already at my local Microsoft Store, I'm fine with the Surface charger but I really wish they just threw in at least one Type-C port it could have taken the place of the mini display port, if they didn't want to add any extra ports.

  68. dstrauss

    I would bet that 90% of these will upgrade to Windows 10 Pro during the free period through 12/31/17. Hopefully R3 will bring more of the Win 10 S aspirational components to plain Jane Windows 10.

  69. skane2600

    So it's the first premium (sort of) laptop running Windows 10 S. So What?

  70. janerikSH

    They say the upgrade from 10 S to 10 Pro is a one-way road.

    Still they say that schools can get 10 S on all their 10 Pro pc.


    Whould be nice if it was possible to switch back to 10 S if the apps get into the store

    • euskalzabe

      In reply to janerikSH:

      I think it would be possible, but it means wiping out the device. Belfiore mentioned after the reveal that once you go from S to Pro, if you install any win32 app it'll mess with registry and other things, so they can no longer guarantee 10S performance. This should be fixed with a 10S clean install, of course, but it's unclear if they'll allow for this to happen. Which they should.

      • YouWereWarned

        In reply to euskalzabe:

        While they could expend great energy and make things like the registry be self-healing in reverse (i.e., File History for registry), the difficulty of managing upgrades in the forward direction, alone, seem enough of a handful for the current organization. Seriously, OneNote on phone uses your credentials to download the current sync state, then announces it doesn't HAVE credentials to sync device-to-cloud. Who is writing this stuff?

        I'll say it again, to no avail -- the complexity of the current Windows paradigm seem on the verge of baffling its creators. Or at least the new guys who are writing too much final code.

    • JC

      In reply to janerikSH:

      And get a refund of $50 in the process.

  71. JerryH

    BTW, WAY off-topic here - but that picture. After being trained by my company for years to always work in an ergonomically correct position (they go as far as to tell us to use laptop computer stands that put the monitor and the proper height, carry external keyboards, etc.) - it is PAINFUL to see that poor woman working on that notebook at such an awkward angle. Both a sore neck and back are the obvious short term results.

  72. MixedFarmer75

    So S is for future. This will make more sense when the other part of the story is told at Build. At least I hope it will. They have to have a plan to to bolster the functionality of this device by getting more developers on board the UWP train, or the PWA train. Spotify was maybe a hint at that. I want this to work, but am skeptical. Still have the original Surface RT. Liked the idea back then, too.

    • bbold

      In reply to MixedFarmer75:

      Agreed. The most important thing that MS can do now is to start making deals with app developers (esp big ones, such as Apple and Google) to try to get those dang apps on the WS. There must be some kind of deal that can be made, surely.

      • jimchamplin

        In reply to bbold:

        I have a feeling that if MS went to Apple and showed them that their plans are to phase Win32 out in the next five years, Apple would build a UWP Apple Music app and drop it in the store. If their services customers are going to be buying machines that won't run iTunes out of the box, might as well go where the services customers will be.

        Google just has it out for Windows apparently.

  73. paulz

    Be honest: What real utility does this laptop have out of the box for any professional that does more than travel and blog? For that matter, what utility does it have for the average student? Well, it can run powerpoint so professors can use it to lecture seems to be the only viable answer to that. A $1000 powerpoint machine isn't really all that compelling. A SP4, or any of its knockoff brethren, can do that (better) and are far more useful for other tasks that may come up beyond that.


    This thing is disappointing. The fact that you're drooling over this really highlights your severe lack of perspective for who uses what kind of machines for which purpose, especially after you crapped all over the Surface Studio which is an honest to god dream machine for creative professionals.

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