Apple products are famous for being built sleek, powerful, user friendly and usually on the expensive side. For the better part of history on the creative scene and ever since designers moved on from enormous drafting tables and doodle covered notebooks to using some serious computer hardware, Apple's MacBook Pro was the go-to piece of hardware for all things design.
Apple also never failed on the aesthetics department, their products won the hearts of many and numerous design awards followed suit. In came the IPod, IPhone, Apple TV, different variants of the Mac line, Apple Watch and last but not least, their IPad handheld line. Apple became King and no one could compete with their offerings, ever. This was the common belief in the design world and what's more, "Microsoft", Apple's biggest competitor was always disapproved. Well, from the looks of it things are about to change.
Microsoft just announced its "creatives first" desktop PC, better known as the Microsoft Surface Studio. Although Microsoft offered its Surface Pro line for years now, never did it come up with something so complete as its current offerings. Surface Studio is innovative, functionality driven, design forward and something that looks and feels as if it came out of a designers fantasy book. It is to be expected that this beautiful addition to the industry will be heavily criticized by Apple lovers.
Surface Studio comes in three variants, all sporting an Intel Core processor. The basic model packs a 1TB hard drive, along with a 6th Gen Intel Core i5 processor with 8GM of RAM and a 2GB NVIDIA graphics card. This model retails for $2,999 USD. There also two 6th Gen Intel Core i7 models. The mid-level model comes with a 1TB hard drive, 16GB of RAM and a 2GB NVIDIA graphic card. It retails for $3,499 USD. The top of the line model is packed with a 6th Gen i7 processor, 2TB hard drive, 32GB of RAM and a 4GB NVIDIA graphics card. This model retails for $4,199 USD. All models come with an ultra thin 28-inch adjustable PixelSense touch-screen display, hybrid HD and SD hard drive, NVIDIA graphics card, USB 3.0 ports, Surface Pen, Surface Dial and Windows 10 Professional for the operating system.
According to Panos Panay, Microsoft's VP of Surface, the device was designed with ultimate immersion in mind because it doesn't reveal individual pixels at any viewpoint. Instead, it renders the world in what Microsoft calls TrueColor, or what the user believes the world around them should be rendered as. This was achieved by combining powerful hardware with a display that uses 13.5 million pixels and is capable of 192 PPI density. Among other things, this allows the user to go from one colour space to another, such as going from DCI-P3 to sRGB and achieving this on the fly.
Another cool feature of the display is called "True Scale". This feature allows the user to view the print designs on their screens, at actual scale. What does this mean? It means that what you see is literally what you get. An inch on the screen is the same as an inch in real life.
The computer also comes with accessories called "Surface Pen" and "Surface Dial". These two powerful devices will really make a difference in the way you approach designing. The pen allows for total freedom in drawing and illustrating your designs and with very high accuracy. Combined with the display that can be positioned in a flat working position, it gives designers the freedom of translating their ideas into real designs within seconds. The Surface Dial is an input device that extends the designer's reach by providing convenience at your fingertips. This innovative device has global controls built-in and works with your screen in an intelligent manner. It allows the designer to quickly pull up the colour slider tool, or other useful software tools as well. Though simple in design, it was made to work intelligently by accessing various functions that ultimately depend on the type of usage. Surprisingly versatile for a Microsoft built product. Well, competition is good for the industry, so let's see how this plays out and how Apple responds.