5 key takeaways from Microsoft’s fall Surface event
On September 22, the first official day of fall, excitement was in the air as Microsoft’s Chief Product Officer Panos Panay revealed the latest Surface line up with an event that did not disappoint.
There were eight new product updates including the all-new Surface Laptop Studio, Surface Pro 8, Surface Go 3, Surface Pro X Wi-fi, Surface Duo 2, and various accessories.
With all the information announced, it may be difficult to find the relevant updates for commercial customers. Here, I break down the Surface event into five key takeaways from a business standpoint.
1. The Surface Laptop Studio: Innovative device for the hybrid workforce
You can tell Microsoft had the hybrid workforce in mind while building the all-new 14.4 Surface Laptop Studio. The device transforms from a powerful laptop to a flat digital canvas or to “stage mode” where the screen comes closer to you for presentations or touch-centric tasks. Featuring Surface AI built into the camera and dual Studio Mics, you will look your best and sound crystal clear on all your Teams meetings, even in low light or noisy settings. Graphic intensive programs will run smoothly with the powerful dedicated NVIDIA RTX A2000 GPU (only available through the commercial channel and not through retail). Surface Laptop Studio is the blended culmination of all the Surface devices in one new form factor making it the most powerful Surface to date that adapts to how you work.
2. Microsoft is refining their Surface devices with the help of customer feedback
We’ve been hearing many customers ask for specific features in upcoming Surface releases and with this launch Microsoft shows they are not only listening, but they are acting on that feedback.
- Surface Pro 8 supports Thunderbolt 4, allowing customers to use external GPUs to make this device not only portable but extremely powerful.
- Surface Duo 2 is the thinnest device that supports 5G LTE and has an improved triple lens camera. The new glance bar along the side of the device allows you to get phone, text and Teams notifications without opening the device.
- Surface Go 3 has a more powerful Intel 10th Gen i3 processor and a Microsoft Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI).
- The Surface Slim Pen 2 includes a haptic engine that mimics the feel of pen on paper and has new charging capabilities.
- Surface Pro 8 and Surface Laptop Studio has a removeable SSD for data retention purposes.
- The Microsoft Business Pen was also launched, a more cost-effective inking option for frontline workers.
3. Windows 11: The choice is yours with Surface for Business
The new Surface devices and Windows 11 are designed to help customers tackle the challenges hybrid work presents, making it easier to securely collaborate and be productive. However, Microsoft also recognizes that not all commercial customers will be fast adopters of the new operating system (OS). They are giving organizations the flexibility to choose the OS on Surface Pro 8 for Business, Surface Laptop Studio for Business or Surface Go 3 for Business with either the current version of Windows 10 Pro or Windows 11 Pro (retail models will ship with Windows 11 Home). The choice of OS eliminates costs and time spent reimaging devices.
4. Time-saving Surface for Business Tools: Microsoft Surface Management Portal and Device Firmware Configuration Interface (DFCI)
Launching alongside of the new products is the much-anticipated Microsoft Surface Management Portal: a single pane of glass that allows IT to manage and monitor Surface health, inventory, warranty coverage end dates and easily open a service ticket. The portal will be available in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center in October for US customers who have purchased a M365 license that includes Microsoft Endpoint Management.
DFCI allows for an additional layer of security by locking down certain Surface settings (such as camera, ports, or Bluetooth) at the hardware level all through Microsoft Endpoint Manager. DFCI is currently available on Surfaces with a Microsoft UEFI including the Go 3, Pro 8, Laptop Studio, Duo 2, Laptop 4, Pro 7+, Laptop Go, Book 3, Laptop 3, Pro 7, and Pro X.
5. Surface Adaptive Kit: Empowering everyone to be at their most productive
While the new shiny devices were one highlight of the event, the story that Microsoft is telling around accessibility is powerful and meaningful. The new Surface Adaptive Kit was created in partnership with and for people with disabilities, making it easier for users to identify keys, match ports with cables and open their Surface device.
More than ever, Microsoft has created a diverse portfolio of devices that are intended to empower all the different personas and roles within your organization. All the new Surface devices are available for pre-order and the Laptop Studio, Go 3 Wi-fi and Pro X Wi-fi will start shipping October 5, 2021. Duo 2 will begin shipping October 21st and Pro 8 will be available in 2022.
SHI can assist with simplifying your future Surface deployments with our award-winning services, including our Zero Touch X Deployment services, where we can help remove barriers and get all the new Surface devices into the hands of your employees faster – all without IT having to touch or reimage a device. SHI also has automated Windows AutoPilot enrollment for Surface at the time of order to ensure seamless device deployment.
The perfect pair to the LTE capable Pro 8, Duo 2 or Go 3, SHI Mobile can ensure your distributed workforce stays connected wherever they work. Our innovative SIM or eSIM dynamically picks the best carrier in the area in over 120 countries, eliminating the burden of researching network strength in different locations.
If you are interested in learning which devices will best fit your organization or how SHI can help simplify your Surface deployments, contact us today or reach out directly to your SHI account executive today.
*SHI was honored to receive FY21 US Surface Transformation Partner of the Year and MSUS Partner Award in Modern Endpoint Management for our expertise and achievements in Surface and our Windows 10 Zero Touch X deployment services.