Microsoft Surface is a series of Windows-based personal computing devices consisting of tablet computers 2-in-1 detachables, and an interactive whiteboard known as the Surface Hub.
The first generation devices under the Surface name were introduced on June 18, 2012, while the current generation models currently available are the Surface Pro 3 and the Surface 3, released on June 20, 2013 and May 5, 2015, respectively. The Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book will be available for purchase on October 26, 2015.
The Microsoft Surface line features VaporMg, pronounced "VaporMag", the molded magnesium casing that houses Surface's components paired with a PVD finish, which is a manufacturing process that produces a durable finish. VaporMg allows magnesium to be melted down and molded to the details needed for Surface and allows Surface to weigh 1.5 pounds.
There are also two cameras, front-facing and rear-facing. The rear-facing camera will be angled at 22 degrees to allow proper framing of another person while the "kickstand" is in use. The "kickstand" is a .77 mm thick built-in stand that spans the width of the device and allows Surface to be propped up at an angle in landscape orientation for a hands-free viewing experience. Surface Pro has perimeter venting which allows air to flow out the sides, and helps avoid airflow being impeded by hands holding the device.
The Surface device demoed in the Microsoft Surface Events had a new connection port with five pins. This was acknowledged as a magnetic charging connector during Microsoft’s presentation event by Steven Sinofsky.
Surface and Surface Pro both have screens of 10.6-inch with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Both tablets use Microsoft's ClearType HD display technology and support an ultra-wide viewing angle and auto-adjusting screen intensity. As of August 2012, Microsoft has not revealed the resolution of the displays, but says Surface will have an "HD Display" and Surface Pro will have a "Full HD Display". In announcement talk, Michael Angiulo said that when Surface Pro is held at 17 inches, the eyes will not be able to distinguish between individual pixels.
Touch Cover and Type Cover
Microsoft will offer two keyboard covers for Surface: Touch Cover and Type Cover. Both, when folded up, serve as protective covers that connect to the Surface via a magnetic strip. When opened, the covers are keyboards. The Touch Cover is 3 mm in thickness and has a touch-sensitive keyboard. The Type Cover is thicker and includes a tactile keyboard. The keyboards have a gyroscope and accelerometer sensors to determine, based on position, whether or not to accept input. Both also include a multitouch touchpad.
The Surface will be available with general availability of Windows 8, which will launch on October 26, 2012. The Surface Pro will be available three months after that.
Microsoft Windows President Steven Sinofsky stated at the LA conference that "suggested retail pricing will be announced closer to availability and is expected to be competitive with a comparable ARM tablet for Surface RT and Intel Ultrabook-class PCs for Surface Pro version. OEMs will have cost and feature parity on Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT." Trendforce's Eric Chiou has warned that this price point could confuse consumers and hurt Ultrabook sales.
Several personal computer OEMs whose products have traditionally run Microsoft operating systems have felt anywhere from neutral or positive about the release of the surface device while others have felt sidelined by the perception that Microsoft's new tablet will replace their products. MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor described the product announcement and launch as "mistakes" that would alienate Microsoft's partners and customers. Acer's Stan Shih has said that Microsoft was only introducing its own hardware in order to establish the market and would then withdraw in favor of its OEMs. However, Acer chairman JT Wang advised Microsoft to "please think twice".