Yesterday in New York Microsoft showed the world what they have been working on recently and, in all honesty, I was not expecting much. However, as the presentation entered its final stages they revealed the Surface Studio all-in-one PC and instantly grabbed my attention.
At first it just appeared to be a standard, rather pretty, iMac lookalike but then, with one simple manoeuvre, the Surface Studio’s screen was pushed down and rested in a position similar to a draftsman’s desk allowing the user to lean over the display and use the Surface Pen and the new Surface Dial to interact with the gorgeous 28” touch screen.
I used my last Windows machine back in 2010 before moving to a Mac and I have never been tempted back, until yesterday. Having said that though the odds of me switching OS are still remote, but my tech-lust has certainly been stirred.
The reveal did remind me of an old Patently Apple story that was doing the rounds back in 2010 that revealed a patent from Apple detailing something called the ‘iMac Touch’ that would allow an iMac to be pushed down and interacted with using touch just as the new Surface Studio does. This rumour was followed shortly afterwards however with Steve Jobs statement that using touch screens on desktops and laptops resulted in what he called ‘gorilla arm’ usage; forcing users to raise their arms and reach out for the screen. That might have been the case then but the Surface Studio shows that a change in design can solve that possible problem.
Apple, to increasing disapproval from some quarters, appears to have allowed the form factor of recent Macs to stagnate, relying on aesthetically pleasing but now ageing industrial designs with internal specification bumps to mark their evolution.
It is yet to be seen whether the Surface Studio will spark interest in the markets it is aiming for but it certainly does offer a new idea for desktop interactivity when it comes to computer usage.
Today Apple will get their chance to show what they have planned for the Mac’s future, although probably concentrating on their laptop lines. With rumours of bumped specs, new colours and an OLED touch bar, Apple may find their efforts to impress fall short following the reveal of Microsoft’s Surface Studio. Maybe however it will spur Apple on to possibly blow off the dust from the rumoured iMac Touch patent and get Jony Ive designing once again. I’m pretty sure that shortly after ‘that’ reveal I’ll be shouting quite loudly ‘Shut up and take my money!’ but until then I’ll just have to suffer Studio Envy.