New York: Microsoft launched a consumer offensive today, unveiling new high-performance computers and an updated Windows operating system that showcases three-dimensional content and “mixed reality.”
The US tech giant announced its first desktop computer, called Surface Studio, a USD 3,000 high-end “all-in-one” device that aims at Apple’s Mac.
“We’re creating a new category that transforms your desk into a creative studio,” Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said at the unveiling in New York.
With a large, 71-centimeter hinged touchscreen display touted as “the thinnest desktop monitor ever created,” Surface Studio adds to the Microsoft lineup of tablet and laptop devices for the premium segment, in a challenge to Apple.
The new PC has an ultra-HD 4.5K display, offering more pixels than most new high-definition televisions which effectively create a “digital canvas” for creating content, the company said.
The new PC will be available in “limited quantities” for the upcoming holiday season, with more units available in 2017.
Microsoft also announced an updated Surface Book — its high-end convertible tablet-computer — which will sell for USD 2,400, adding improved graphics and computing power.
“It’s for the people really pushing performance,” Microsoft vice president Panos Panay said.
The Surface devices allow users to create content onscreen with a special pen-stylus, and Microsoft introduced a new disk device called Dial which attaches to the screen and offers additional controls such as viewing the timeline of a creation.
Microsoft meanwhile announced its Windows 10 Creators operating system would be offered as a free update in early 2017, enabling users to create 3D content and delve into virtual and augmented reality.
The update offers “new ways to create and play,” said Microsoft vice president Terry Myerson.
The update will allow for a 3D capture application for mobile devices and a new version of the popular program Paint for 3D objects.
The system will allow users to add three-dimensional emojis and to create and manipulate content they create or scan.
Microsoft general manager Megan Saunders demonstrated how the capture application can scan a sand castle in three dimensions, and then mix that with other content.