Why Surface Studio?

Posted on February 1, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 25 Comments

Why Surface Studio?

A new series of Microsoft videos provides an inside peek at its rationale for the design and implementation of Surface Studio.

You can find the entire series on YouTube. Each video is pretty short, about 2 minutes each. But in addition to providing some insight into Surface Studio, they also provide a nice introduction to key members of the Surface team.

Here is a quick rundown of the key points.

It was made for creators. And you have to wonder if that didn’t impact the name of the Windows 10 Creators Update. “You pull the product towards you,” Microsoft corporate vice president Panos Panay [says](Microsoft corporate vice president Panos Panay). “There is nothing on the planet that matches that feeling.” Part of the excitement here is the 1:1 nature of the content users are creating on-screen to what the output will be down the road. And that it supports different color spaces for different types of creating.

“It just works” isn’t easy. “People love to say, ‘it just works’,” Mr. Panay says. “There is technology that has taken a very long time to evolve to where it just works.”

It’s about the screen, not the hinge. While the free-moving hinge behind Surface Studio is often touted as one of its key differentiators, Microsoft’s real goal was to make the screen seem like it was floating in front of the customer. “We wanted to build a machine that allows you to have this sheet of pixels,” Microsoft Devices general manager of design Ralf Groene says, “that you can take towards you. We didn’t imagine a hinge. We imagined the screen floating.”

Microsoft tested multiple designs before arriving at what’s available today. Microsoft distinguished scientist Stevie Bathiche described an early iMac-like design as “super clunky,” while Mr. Groene described a “horrible” Surface Book-like design where the screen would clunk into place.

The specs almost don’t matter. Panay says that customers get the performance and functionality that they expect, and that they shouldn’t need to worry about that. But Microsoft Surface general manager Pete Kyriacou goes even further, stating that customers ultimately “don’t even need to know” about the specs. “They’re just using it as it was intended to be used,” he says. “And all that power is being provided for them, without them having to think about it.”

There is nothing like it in the world. “Put your old monitor next to [Surface Studio], and you will immediately see the difference,” Bathice says. “No computer like that has ever existed in the world.” “It’s a thing of beauty,” Panay adds.

Surface Dial puts it over the top. The unique Surface Dial accessory “came about because of the pen,” Mr. Bathiche says. The first idea was a ruler with multiple buttons, but then Mr. Groene came up with the design for Surface Dial, a device so simple that everyone knows how to use it immediately. “It is contextual and dynamic,” he says. “That’s something that is better than the analog world. It’s something we’ve never really experienced before.”

I’m not normally into the Apple-style marketing video thing, but these are interesting. And I cannot wait to review Surface Studio. Yet, wait I shall. 🙂

 

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Comments (29)

29 responses to “Why Surface Studio?”

  1. 217

    “And all that power is being provided for them, without them having to think about it.”

    Yes, if that was actually true

  2. 9562

    Dude looks like a creep that sells stolen watches in a Brooklyn alley.

  3. 670

    This quote really fries me: "Microsoft Surface general manager Pete Kyriacou goes even further, stating that customers ultimately “don’t even need to know” about the specs. “They’re just using it as it was intended to be used,” he says. “And all that power is being provided for them, without them having to think about it.”

    This is SO APPLE - never quoting component specifications is the height of paternalism. Or maybe they just don't want to explain why on god's green earth they built a $4000 device with a spinning hard drive...

    • 1377

      In reply to dstrauss:

      You forgot the implied price doesn't matter. Or should that be that if price matters to you, you're not really a Surface (or Apple) customer.

    • 1753

      In reply to dstrauss:

      I would guess that a majority of the users of such a device have no idea what processor is in it, or how they compare. They might infer, that i7 is better than i5, which is better than i3, but they will be totally lost, when it comes to numbers of cores, cache, power of the graphics card etc.

      The only thing I find disingenuous with the Surface Studio is that it doesn't come with an SSD as standard. The performance difference is huge and at that price, you shouldn't be making such compromises.

  4. 427

    Echoing everyone else's comments.  I think what everyone is really trying to say is. Couldn't you afford to put even a cheap 1TB or 2TB SSD in the thing so it actually does work like you want it to.  Its like they built the screen and had someone's grandpa pick out the actual computer's components.   I don't need this type of device, but I don't think anyone should be able to buy any new computer in this day in age that doesn't have an SSD at least for the OS drive.

  5. 1294

    I love how Microsoft keeps saying "Specs don't matter" this dates back to the Windows Phone, as everybody kept saying it doesn't need the latest CPU, the OS is lag free, yet with every new update requirements kept doubling.   And yes, I'm happy rocking my L950, I am just saying this "no need to worry about the specs" is stupid, almost expect their customers to be stupid.

  6. 5234

    It's a fancy screen with only modest laptop parts.

  7. 5234

    Who the hell puts an SD card slot and headphone jack on the rear of a desktop?!?

  8. 5234

    The video comes off as a desperate version of Apple's Jony Ive explanation videos.

  9. 10158

    "Specs don't matter" is a red flag in the tech industry, especially when referring to a $3000 device. If specs didn't matter, it wouldn't have such an amazing display, but we're all about those specs now, aren't we?

  10. 5485

    There is one thing that puzzles me still.

    Microsoft is all about "Mobile first, Cloud First".  Unfortunately in this product MS forgot about it entirely.

    I really don't understand why considering it does not seam to be a great engineering problem to fit this idea into Surface Studio. Meaning pairing a Surface Book with a "Pixel Canvas" like this should be a no brainer from a design and product point of view, yet that is not what we get. We get the usual all in one with a "Pixel Canvas" on top. Missed opportunity. Creators create anywhere.

    If MS got a way to mass produce this display tech ("Pixel Canvas") that would be innovation end to end ...

    PS: As for "it just works" ... I think its more of a software problem than hardware one. Windows 10 does not just works quite regularly, at least in the Surface line. 

  11. 5486

    Seems like the 'Studio' is all about the display. A very, very expensive display, with a very, very average PC bolted on. If all you care about is looks, and money is no object, I'm sure the Studio is for you. If you actually want to be creative, look elsewhere.

  12. 3309

    From fooling around with it at the Microsoft store, the form really is easy and natural.  It took no time for me to adjust it into a comfortable position and then "forget about it".

    The screens nice and all, and the specs are alright but I beg to differ... it is all about the hinge.  Without being able to easily lay it into a comfortable position and the CPU being tucked behind the screen (visually) it looses a lot of appeal.

    I could probably get by just as well with the less than a-third priced Dell All-in-one (Dell Inspiron 24 7459 Signature Edition All-in-One).

  13. mortarm

    >You pull the product towards you,” Microsoft corporate vice president Panos Panay [says](Microsoft corporate vice president Panos Panay).

    in case you didn't get it the first time.

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