I hope it is under £700 but based on the specs (core i5, 128gb SSD, 1080p touch screen) I can't really see if being much under £1000 especially by the time you factor in their pricey touchpad keyboard. Similarly specced ultrabooks go for that kind of money and I don't expect MS would want to undercut OEM's by £200-300.
Arthur tends to be pretty accurate with the Win8 stuff he's posted so far so fingers crossed...
John Lewis will be stocking the Surface from today.
Microsoft Surface RT heads to UK high street: On sale at John Lewis this Friday
According to John Lewis “Demand for Windows 8 computers has been phenomenal with touch screen models leading the way.” Perhaps suggesting why they are the first high street chain in the UK to stock the new tablet.
The Microsoft Surface 32GB with Black Touch Keyboard will cost £479 with a two-year guarantee while the Microsoft Surface 64GB with Black Touch Keyboard with cost £559.
John Lewis says the Surface will be available from www.johnlewis.com from the 14 December and in store over the weekend (15/16 December).
It will be the first time for would-be UK customer to actually get their hands on the new tablet.
PC World will probably have them soon too...
"Dixons is likely to get it [Surface] but is still at the negotiating table," said the source, who claimed the retailer was one of Microsoft's largest customers in the world.
Redmond decided in the first instance to sell the slablet direct via its retail stores in the US and microsoft.com globally, a move that alienated some channel partners. (Source)
It's good to see loads of retailers taking on Microsoft's range of hardware. I'm not particularly interested in either the SurfaceRT (or the current Ivy Bridge Surface Pro) at the moment but it's nice to know that if any other MS devices are released in future (ie a Haswell Surface Pro) there's a good chance we'll be able to demo them in store.
Interesting rumour on Neowin today saying that the Surface Pro may feature Intel's refreshed range of 7 watt Ivy bridge chips that were announced toady at CES. It would certainly explain the delay for the Surface Pro if that's the case so there might be some mileage in the rumour?
Could a recent Intel announcement mean Surface Pro will have better battery life?
The upcoming "Bay Trail" SOC sounds like a pretty useful update from Clover Trail offering double the performance. Hopefully it'll also remove the 32-bit only and 2Gb RAM limitations of Clover Trail .
Power saving through marketing: Intel's "7 watt" Ivy Bridge CPUs « Ars Technica - The new CPUs definitely save some power, but not as much as you might think.
In the end, Intel has saved power in its new Y-series CPUs in the least surprising way possible—not through improvements to the 22nm manufacturing process or aggressive processor binning, but through clock speed reductions and some fancy marketing footwork.
The new CPUs are more power efficient, but not massively so. It's also worth noting that the CPU is but one piece of the puzzle in your PC—the RAM, disk, monitor, and other components also need to be accounted for—this, plus the actual 13 watt TDP of these new Ivy Bridge processors, helps to explain why PCs like Microsoft's Surface Pro (which is rumored to be using these newer Y-series CPUs) still have mediocre battery life.
What this all means is that, though these Y-series CPUs will enable slightly thinner and more power efficient designs in the short term, we're still going to be waiting for Haswell to see big reductions in power usage. Though our Intel rep told us that the TDP and SDP numbers for low-voltage Haswell processors are expected to be about the same as these Ivy Bridge models (unsurprising, given that they're both produced on the same 22nm manufacturing process), remember that Haswell is also bringing a few more power-saving technologies to bear. The most notable of these are the new "active idle" power states that allow systems to go to sleep more quickly, more often, and more transparently than today's PCs.
I'm beginning to wonder if haswell itself is a snakes on plane situation, it has been built up massively and rumoured in devices but is still not released or even firm on the delivery date yet. Vaporware is the term that comes to mind. I could be wrong but the fact they are retrofitting old tech indicates they may have over promised a bit.
The Verge have posted their initial impressions of a pre-production Surface Pro. It actually looks really good, despite the obvious shortcomings.
Surface Pro: an in-depth look at Microsoft's super tablet « The Verge
Microsoft might not be at CES this year, but that hasn't stopped the company's CEO jumping on stage to pass the annual keynote responsibility over to Qualcomm. While its OEMs are out in force with crazy Windows 8 designs and unreleased hardware, Microsoft is preparing its next step in the Surface family — Surface Pro. I got the chance to take an early look at a pre-production Surface Pro unit today, read on for everything you need to know about Microsoft's next tablet.
Similar to the Surface RT, Surface Pro takes advantage of a built-in kickstand and Touch Cover / Type Cover combo to provide a tablet / notebook hybrid of sorts. This time Microsoft has angled the device at 26 degrees instead of 22 degrees, but if you compared the RT and Pro side-by-side it's difficult to tell the difference at first glance. These devices are clearly family members, and Microsoft has made sure they match in ways that allow you to use the same cover on either tablet.
Surface Pro has a gorgeous 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD Display that outputs a 1920 x 1080 resolution. I say it's gorgeous because this display is unprecedented on this type of device. Text reproduction and colors were spot on and viewing angles were great for tablet use. Aside from the resolution, Microsoft has packed in 10 points of multi-touch support and active pen input. The pen snaps magnetically to the side of the tablet and it has a small ridge that slots into the charging port. This magnetic charging port has been greatly improved from the Surface RT, it's a lot stronger and it's noticeable when you remove the pen or slot the charging cable into place.
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Performance was equally as impressive as the display and the Intel Core i5 processor is the perfect combination for Windows 8. One of the big complaints in our Surface RT review was the hit and miss nature of Windows RT performance on the Tegra 3 chipset. It's night and day with the Surface Pro. This thing flies. Opening up multiple apps is super fast and despite its tablet-like appearance, this is a full powerful Windows PC. It's a great notebook computer that beats out the competition in a number of ways, but it's also still all about compromise.
Like the Surface RT before it, the Surface Pro isn't the perfect notebook or the perfect tablet. It's still difficult to use this device on your lap and the screen angle isn't adjustable. It's also a 16:9 tablet so using this device in portrait is comical. You could say these are obvious flaws in the product, but if you're willing to forgive both of them for a portable power house with beautifully engineered hardware then the Surface Pro isn't going to disappoint. The question of battery life remains, and it's an important one, but Microsoft has set up Windows 8 with some great hardware here. All that remains is more touch-friendly apps to take advantage of the focus on a new UI in Windows 8. It might seem like Microsoft is using Surface as an encouraging nudge to its OEMs to produce better hardware, but Ballmer has acknowledged Microsoft is a devices and services company now and the Surface family has only just begun.
Edit. Engadget too...
Microsoft Surface Pro hands-on « Engadget
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In making the move from the Surface RT to the Surface Pro, we step up from 1,366 x 768 resolution to 1080p. Same 10.6-inch screen, just a lot more pixel density. And believe us when we say the difference is appreciable. In a side-by-side comparison with the RT, everything looked a little sharper, a little less pixelated. The "S" in the word "Start" on the Start Menu, for instance, is thinner, less jagged than on the RT. It's a difference anyone can appreciate, even people who swear they're not display snobs.
But that optical bonding has a second benefit: it helps make for a more natural pen experience. Unlike with other pen-enabled tablets, where you might see air pockets in between the screen layers, this actually comes close to matching what it feels like to write on paper. In the few minutes we spent writing and drawing, we found we didn't have to apply much more pressure than we would if we were sketching on a pad of paper.
The screen, which makes use of modified Wacom technology, is also smart enough that if you run the pen across the screen without applying any pressure no marks will show up; the algorithms can tell you didn't mean to write anything. Ditto for palm rejection. You might hesitate at first to rest the heel of your palm on the tablet while you're doodling, but you may as well get comfy: the tablet won't register any markings where your hand was.
Additionally, you can flip the pen over and use it as an eraser, the way you would with a number 2 pencil. In OneNote, at least, the pen seems to be aware of what you mean to erase: after drawing an Engadget logo in blue ink, we started to erase it and after a few swipes, the whole thing disappeared from the screen. Clearly, the tablet knew we wanted to completely get rid of it. So, insofar as erasing digital markings can be tedious, we were glad the Surface saved us a little time.
As for the rest of the hardware, this is and is not like the Surface RT we reviewed last fall. It has the same magnesium VaporMg casing, as well as the same kickstand, neat clicking sound and all. It's also compatible with the same Touch and Type Covers as the Surface RT. Still, there's no getting around the fact that this thing is bulkier than its little brother: 13.5mm thick and about two pounds, compared with 9.4mm and around 1.5 pounds for the RT. And, of course, it has to be bigger: it has a Core i5 processor, two fans and a 42.5Wh battery, whereas the RT has a Tegra 3 chip, a 31Wh battery and no fans. You know what, though? Two pounds is still lighter than the Acer Iconia W700, which weighs 2.09 pounds, so for a product in this class, the Surface Pro might even pass for compact.
Speaking of those fans, they're not very obvious. It's almost as if Microsoft realized "fans on a tablet" would have a bad connotation (and it does) and went out of its way to make them discreet. In fact, you could easily miss them if you didn't know where to look. Rather than traditional vents, Microsoft went with a thin opening that rings the perimeter of the device. (The official name is actually the "perimeter vent.") It's a thin little opening, and you won't feel air flowing out of it. If you put your ear to it you'll hear the faintest of noises, but you won't feel any warmth coming out of it. The device itself doesn't get hot, per se, but after a bit of use it did feel slightly warm to the touch. Nothing that would make the tablet uncomfortable to use, but enough to remind you there's a heavy-duty, laptop-grade processor inside.
Performance from the Core i5 processor seemed zippy at first blush: apps close and open quickly, and transitions are smooth. Is it technically faster than other Core i5-powered Windows 8 hybrids? Only time and benchmarks will tell, we suppose. Suffice to say, it appears to perform about as well as other products.
Looks good, now all they need to do is release the damn thing :-)