Microsoft announced quite a lot of things at its #MicrosoftEDU event today. The company today announced new hardware, as well as new software to go along with the new hardware at the event. The latest event from Microsoft isn’t as big as some of the previous hardware events, but it’s still pretty huge if you are a Microsoft fan. So let’s get right into it.
This is, obviously, the biggest product launch at the #MicrosoftEDU event. The Surface Laptop is the latest addition to Microsoft’s Surface brand, and it is a pretty slick one. Microsoft’s Surface Laptop runs Windows 10 S, which is a new version of Windows 10 that Microsoft announced at today’s event.
Surface Laptop is a Chromebook competitor from Microsoft, but similar to Google’s Chromebook Pixel device, the Surface Laptop is kind of like a premium Windows 10 S laptop. In terms of specs, you won’t get disappointed as the Surface Laptop packs Intel’s latest and greatest Kaby Lake processors, up to 16GB of RAM and up to 512GB of SSD storage. As for the display, Microsoft is packing a 13.5-inch PixelSense display and the device’s keyboard is also covered by Alcantara which should provide a fairly unique experience. And, oh, the device’s battery can apparently last up to 14.5 hours which is more than any MacBook that’s available.
The Surface Laptop’s entry model starts at $1,000 — and for the entry-level model, you get the Intel Core i5, 128GB of SSD storage, 4GB RAM, and the Intel HD Graphics 620. This is also the first Surface device from Microsoft to come in multiple different colors, as the Surface Laptop will be available in Platinum, Burgundy, Cobalt Blue, and Graphite Gold.
Microsoft’s Surface Laptop running Windows 10 S might be a bummer for some users — but we’ve some good news for you: Microsoft will actually let users upgrade to Windows 10 Pro on the Surface Laptop before the end of this year.
You can pre-order the Surface Laptop from the Microsoft Store here, and it will start shipping early next month.
Windows 10 S
Microsoft also introduced a new version of Windows 10 at the event — and that’s Windows 10 S. The new version of Windows 10 was previously known as Windows 10 Cloud internally, but Microsoft is changing it to Windows 10 S for the public launch — possibly to make the branding less confusing.
Windows 10 S is essentially a version of Windows 10 for students. Windows 10 S is still Windows as you know it, but it doesn’t include some features which also helps to improve the security of the OS. First and foremost, Windows 10 S won’t let you install apps from outside of the Windows Store — which means you won’t be able to install the classic Win32 apps such as Google Chrome or Spotify. But that doesn’t mean you completely won’t be able to install the classic desktop apps as some Win32 apps are available from the Windows Store already. But what about the classic Office apps? Microsoft is also bringing those to the Windows Store, which means you will get the full power of Office on devices running Windows 10 S which is really neat.
And, oh, you will be able to Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro whenever you want which is really great because you are not locked to Windows 10 S and can upgrade to a more powerful version of Windows 10 whenever you want.
Devices powered by Windows 10 S will start at $189, which is a pretty good price. And as these devices are going to be targetted towards Microsoft’s educational audience, that’s crucial.
Office apps on the Windows Store
The Surface Laptop is targetted towards education, and so is Windows 10 S which powers the laptop. But Windows 10 S can only run apps from the Windows Store, which means you can’t run the classic Office desktop apps on the Surface Laptop and other devices running Windows 10 S. Thankfully though, Microsoft also announced today that it’s bringing the full Office suite to the Windows Store — allowing Windows 10 S users to use the full-fledged version of the Office apps on their new PCs.
The full-fledged Office apps will also be available to users running other versions of Windows 10. In addition to that, Microsoft is also going to let users subscribe to Office 365 right from the Windows Store which is pretty neat. Users will be able to choose between a yearly or a monthly subscription, and Microsoft will also provide subscription options for the different SKUs of Office (Personal, Home, etc.).
There were a couple of other announcements by Microsoft at the event, but those were pretty minor:
- There’s a new Surface Arc Mouse with improved design
- Windows 10’s View 3D app will let users place 3D content in the real world
- Spotify is coming to the Windows Store for Windows 10 PCs
- Minecraft: Education Edition gets a built-in code builder to help students learn how to code
- 3D is coming to PowerPoint
- Microsoft Teams is getting new features specifically for Microsoft’s education audience
- You can pre-order it from Microsoft’s online Store from the Store link here.