Microsoft announced a revamped lineup of Surface tablets this morning in New York City, confirming many of the earlier leaks while throwing at least a couple of surprises into the mix. Here are the basics on the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2.
The Surface 2 (the successor to the Surface RT) will start at $449 for a 32GB version. It will come in a new silver/white color. The Surface Pro 2 (running a fourth-generation Intel will start at $899 for a 64GB version.
Pre-orders start on Sept. 24 (tomorrow) and the devices will be available in many markets around the world, including the U.S., on Oct. 22.
The exterior hardware is much the same as the original Surface tablets, with the most noticeable difference (apart from the new color of the Surface) being a two-stage kickstand that allows the Surface to be propped up at multiple angles. So that Skype call won’t involve the other person looking at your torso.
The new Surface Pro 2 promises significantly better battery life. On stage in NYC, Surface leader Panos Panay said it would be a 75 percent improvement over the original Surface Pro. In a news release, the company says 60 percent. Either way, the company is addressing a major complaint about the existing Surface Pro, which has battery life as low as four hours.
Microsoft will also sell a “Power Cover” for both tablets, further extending the battery life, but it will cost $199.99 and won’t be available until sometime early next year.
The Type Cover ($119.99) and Touch Cover ($129.99) keyboard accessories have been upgraded with features including backlit keys for using in the dark. A wireless adapter for the keyboard covers will be available for $59.99, connecting them to a Surface via Bluetooth from across the room.
Microsoft will also sell a docking station for $199.99, also available sometime early next year. Here’s what it looks like when in use. It will work with the Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2.
Microsoft also showed off a new type of Touch Cover for remixing music, offering it as part of a “Surface Music Kit” available as part of a social media contest. No word on actual commercial availability of this kit, but we’re checking.
The on-demand video of the Surface 2 unveiling in NYC is available from Microsoft here.
Here’s the company’s introductory video for the new tablets.