Microsoft takes on the iMac with new Surface Studio PC

Free ‘Creators Update’ for Windows 10 will bring new 3D capabilities to the desktop

Microsoft has expanded its Surface line with a new desktop PC aimed at taking on the iMac. The Surface Studio is a 28-inch PC that has all its components in the base, similar to Apple's iMac. However, the Microsoft machine can be changed to a 20-degree angle for more creative uses.

Speaking at the launch event, Microsoft product chief Panos Panay said the PC had performance that was unmatched.

The tech giant unveiled the $3,000 (€2,750) device during an event in New York that also saw a revamped Surface Book showcased to the crowd, along with the “Creators Update” for Windows 10 that brings new 3D capabilities to the desktop.

The Surface Book i7 comes with a better battery life, about 30 per cent more than its predecessor. Also, according to Microsoft, it has about three times the graphics power of the current MacBook Pro. Apple is expected to launch a revamped line of Macs at an event on Thursday.


Free of charge

The update would be issued free of charge to current Windows 10 users early next year, Microsoft said. Among the new features added to the operating system is a 3D version of Microsoft’s Paint drawing programme, with 3D editing features also coming to PowerPoint and other programmes that will allow people to create 3D presentations.

Microsoft has also developed a new 3D capture tool for smartphones that will allow users to capture scans of real-world objects and add them to their digital creations. Although the app was demonstrated on a Windows Phone, Microsoft said it was aiming to have the software on all platforms.

Also on the way are virtual reality accessories and headsets that will hit the market in 2017.

For gamers, Microsoft announced the addition of Beam, a new tool that allows players to stream their games to friends as they play. That will go head to head with Amazon’s Twitch service.

Terry Myerson, executive vice-president for Microsoft's Windows and devices group, said the update was tailored for gamers who were increasingly interested in augmented and virtual reality experiences.

Additional reporting: Reuters

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist