The Surface Studio makes a compelling argument for a Pencil-compatible Mac

Growing up, I considered Apple the computer for creative professionals. My teachers in the film and theater industry used them. My graphic design friends used them. My musician friends had even switched over. And I, of course, used my Mac daily for video, writing, and art projects.

Today, I'm not so sure that's true anymore. That's not to say that the Mac isn't still a great computer and the choice of many creative pros, but Apple no longer appears to have the obsessive focus it once had on the high-end pro market. It's been almost three years since the Mac Pro saw an update, and a year since we saw new iMac models. Final Cut Pro X hasn't seen a proper update since February. And while Photos for Mac is a solid piece of consumer software, it's not full-featured enough for professionals.

The rise of Microsoft as creative pro advocate

So you'll have to forgive me for Microsoft's Surface Studio catching my eye during its release announcement Wednesday morning. Microsoft, long content to let third-party manufacturers take care of its desktop computing software, has made a definitive move into not just the desktop space — but the creative professional space — with its new all-in-one convertible desktop.

Yes, you read that right: I said convertible desktop. The computer may look like an off-brand 5K iMac at first, but the Surface Studio has the the same trick up its sleeve as its tablet brethren — its base hinges to let you transform the monitor into a 4K drawing tablet, replete with Surface Pen and the all-new Surface Dial, which rather looks like the love child of a Griffin PowerMate (opens in new tab) and Adobe's prototype Ink and Slide (opens in new tab) device for iPad.

Microsoft made a hard pitch for creative pros at its fall event, hitting both the requisite buzzwords and displaying legitimately intriguing hardware. For the Cintiq crowd, the promise of a 4.5K display that also happens to be a high-powered main computer in its own right — no drivers or cords or extra desk space needed — could be a tempting one, especially given Apple's recent inaction on the Mac side. Of course, that's assuming Microsoft's hardware is as rock-solid as Wacom's Cintiq line, and that creative pros want the buy-in of a Windows computer rather than ponying up $2000 for a Cintiq 22HD (opens in new tab) and configuring their own Mac or PC system.

I wonder about the first problem, but it's the second that clinches me not actually running to my nearest Microsoft Store and grabbing a Surface Studio: It runs Windows 10. I'll give Microsoft credit — Windows is a much better operating system today than it ever was when I was growing up. But it's just not an operating system I personally enjoy using. Nothing against the company or its software; I just prefer macOS.

Short of iOS magically fusing itself with macOS during tomorrow's Mac event, however, I have many doubts that we'll see a multitouch "creative pro" Mac anytime soon. There are many great arguments against a touch-compatible Mac, which I won't rehash here, but the main one is that macOS simply isn't built with touch input in mind. Contraptions like the rumored Smart Bridge touch bar on the new MacBook Pros may be a fine way to meld parts of touch operating systems into macOS, but a true multitouch Mac may never exist.

Enter the Pencil

But what about a Mac with a Pencil-compatible display? Apple could get around the problems of multitouch on the Mac but still offer a huge feature for creative pros. Unlike 3D Touch on the iPhone, the iPad Pro doesn't have a pressure-sensitive multitouch screen. Instead, the Pencil works by having its pressure technology built inside the pen itself; it then communicates that information to the iPad via software-based APIs.

If Apple were to make a Mac that also offered creative pros a Cintiq-like experience, the company wouldn't have to redesign macOS or develop large-scale multitouch panels; it could instead build a convertible iMac or MacBook Pro with a Pencil-compatible screen. (Heck, non-multitouch displays would also be an extra boon for palm rejection.)

That said, for all the love I'd give such a computer, I doubt Apple's interests are particularly high when it comes to convertibles; the company seems more interested in improving the iPad tablet experience than trying to hybridize its Mac line (or force you to draw at a 90-degree angle, a torture I wish on no one). There are also other alternatives for Apple when it comes to integrating multitouch and the Pencil with the Mac, such as the aforementioned rumored Smart Bridge or third-party second-screen software for iPad Pro like Astropad (opens in new tab).

But it's an interesting premise nonetheless — and one I wouldn't have even considered if not for Microsoft's new venture. No matter what you may think of the Microsoft Surface Studio, competition in creative pro hardware is vital for creative professionals; it's how we got tools like the Pencil and iPad Pro in the first place.

Here's hoping Apple's announcements tomorrow give professionals something else to look forward to — even if that something isn't quite a Pencil-compatible iMac.

Serenity Caldwell

Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.

  • Just a point of correction - the Surface Studio makes a compelling argument for Apple to rethink the Mac lineup with the pencil in mind and not just do a half arsed job of just adding some pencil support. For this to happen though Apple would need to care about the Mac and also care about professionals and people who do real work everyday. Apple used to empower and enable professionals and creative professionals, however now it's become apparent that they care most about portable devices than they do for the creators of the content that goes onto said devices.
  • @itpromike
    Please stop with the "people who do real work" comments already.
    People do "real work" on their iPhones. They make work related calls, send work related e-mails or messages etc.
    People also do real work on their iPads. The best example I can think of right now are the staff down at your nearest Apple store. They enter customer's problems into their iPads, communicate with colleagues through them etc.
    The reason why Macs haven't been getting regular yearly updates like iOS devices, may have more to do with Apple not being control of Intel processors and technologies such as USB-C or Thunderbolt, than them abandoning the platform.
  • ever tried to run a 300,000 row spreadsheet on an iPad? or even in Pages on a Mac? Holy smokes it's like running Quattro Pro in 1988. Yes, you can enter data and write blog posts on an iPad, but try to work with real data, like 2.5 million records of data (that ain't big either)!
  • So? How many rows does it take to call it 'real work?'.. I work in a large firm.. most spreadsheets are small, under 500 rows.. many documents, while some large, are less than 30 pages.. Your example is silly and exudes lack of knowledge in 'real work'.. Go back to school. :p
  • I haven't tried your examples (you can run Excel on an iPad, and the iPad Pro is pretty darn fast) but you can't run Xcode on an iPad. So what? You can't replace a tractor with a computer either. There is plenty of "real work" being done on all kinds of different machines - it all depends on your profession.
  • Please don't make up instances that most Windows machines can't do either. Besides, iWork isn't designed for that. But Office, which can do is also on the Mac. And your trolling is nonsense, because I do complex CAD on my iPad Pro using AutoCAD 360. I can also edit 4K video without a problem.
  • Both iWork's Numbers and Microsoft Office's Excel are both designed for editing all kinds of spreadsheets. I'm sure you can edit a 300,000 row spreadsheet on Numbers for Mac, I can't speak for performance because I haven't tried it with something that large, but I imagine it's more dependent on the hardware than the software when dealing with that much data
  • And how can you be "sure" when you admit you don't have the product, fanboy? Btw, If this Surface studio had an Apple logo on it you would be waist deep in your own drool.
  • …because it wouldn't be spreadsheet software if it couldn't open a 300,00 row spreadsheet. And I openly said that I don't know how the performance will be, but I DO know it will open it and you will be able to edit it. Also, I really like the Surface Studio, if I was a graphics designer/artist I would definitely get one
  • You're right - I should clarify what I mean by real work. Creating content is essentially what I mean. The iPad and iPhone can enter data into created content, or possibly edit created content but actually CREATING the content is difficult and in some cases/types of work impossible. To use your analogies, yes you can make calls, or write emails but the applications the developers created to make those calls or compose those emails was done on a desktop computer... Data entry is done fine on iOS devices - creating the entire system from back end data base and related coding as well as front end UI is done on computers where you can manage all the associated files associated with tasks and projects as well as use an operating system made to manage multiple applications and windows and monitors at once as well as interface with storage devices and other peripherals that aren't adequately served by wireless (i.e. not printers).
    This is what I mean when I refer to real work. Pro grade work. Additionally, Apple isn't constrained anymore by Intel than any other vendor including Microsoft. So no, their lack of innovation or forward looking professional level features in MacOS is not a result of Intel's roadmap and likewise their lack of innovation in desktop hardware is not a result of Intel's roadmap. The chips and components used by MS for the Surface Studio are available now and are/were available to Apple. What MS did was cared enough to put money and resources into using what was available to make the best possible product they could. Not just wait for Intels next chip, throw it in a 3 year old design and call it a day. If that was the intention, then yes - that level of incompetence would highly depend on Intel's roadmap.
  • You know nothing about this, so don't even bother! Content is created in iPads every day. As I stated above, I do it with regularity. You obviously don't. Creating content in Windows is difficult, because Microsoft doesn't Evan have a properly working color management system. Companies such as above need to do it all by themselves, and as a result, it doesn't work well across software, platforms, or output devices such as printing presses. This was my business for decades. Has it ever been part of yours at all? Truthfully? I doubt it.
  • I would like to say I do real work on my iPad and I do to a point, it not everything, there are some things that just are easier and more exact to achieve with a mouse, so I end up having to transfer to and fro...So I'd say I do real work... But it takes a suite of computers. You're lucky if your job can be done entirely on an iPad / iPhone... but all jobs are different, a little like opinions. Chill.
  • People use iPhones as a supplement to other devices that do real work. It's used to give their workflows more mobility, but you can do that on Windows without any compromises. Have you seen the Surface Pro, lately? Microsoft has a mobile OS, as well. iOS doesn't run Pro Apps. No professions are using an iPhone as the basis for their workflows. They are using Windows and OS X/macOS for that. Graphics designers aren't using Pixelmator for iOS (or even OS X). You can't even get a job with iOS apps on your resume. The mobile solutions are predominantly marketed as supplements to the full package - typically either web services or desktop software.. No one is saying you can't do great things on mobile devices, but don't act like making a phone call changes that. People make work calls with Skype as well, send work related email and messages (this has been a thing on Exchange for a decade or more)... Also, no one is saying you can't get *any* work done with an iPhone. But to act like it's some high productivity platform - or form factor - is ... laughable. Apple has been paying little attention to OS X as of late. They even butchered the apps they do have on OS X to mimic the Mobile versions. It's abundantly clear where their priorities are. Mobile.
  • Which macOS apps have been butchered? I know the UI has changed on some but I don't know of any functionality that has been removed
  • I think as much as everything in you says "NO, it's a Microsoft product" that the heart will win out. The heart wants what the heart wants. I give it 12 months and Serenity get the Surface Studio. The truth is that Apple is interested in mass market as that is where $$$$$ is. That truth will take time to set in. Apple isn't that company you grew up with. When companies out grow themselves they take on a new persona. "Adults" have to make "business" decisions which are about $$. I don't know much about Steve Jobs but from the fictionalized portrayals of him $$ was never a reason to do something. Tim runs the company in many ways much better than Jobs did when it comes to being the "adult" and showing love for the environment and causes like peoples rights but Jobs seemed to be the "kid" in the room that said **** that! Money be damned. Sometimes you need that perspective. That is what made Apple the creative and innovative company it was. It focused them. I don't think a company Apples size can have that voice unless the founder of that company was still there in control.
  • I think you're idealizing Steve Jobs a bit.
    Remember that he was the one that coined the term "post PC". That focus away from the PC/Mac and towards mobile, started with him. Tim's just continuing along that path.
  • Maybe but it seems Apple is stuck on now on main stream and stranding the rest. Life boat anyone?
  • ha ha Nicolas…..Apple is JUST fine…its ms that is in the life boat…..please go back to WC and see what really is going on. down the ******* with their loyal users even. Nadella has MS and windows in a tail spin.
  • You are both full of crap. Neither company is anywhere near being in a life boat. That being said, MS impressed a lot more people this week than apple did.
  • true, MS did impress more people...
  • Nonsense. Is Bill Gates still in charge of Microsoft? Not for years. So what you're saying is ridiculous by your own writing. The content creation industry is still using Macs to an overwhelming extent, with no evidence that it will change anytime soon. IBM is rapidly moving to replace all of its 100,000 Windows desktops with Macs. They find that Macs work better, and that there's a saving of almost $550 for every Mac they add over a Windows machine. According to IDC, going back decades, that's always been true.
  • I'm talking about some and Steve Jobs not MS and Bill Gates. Bill is the adult in the room. He cared about money. Steve didn't and that is not what the board wants to hear about when you're making a niche product or something that has high r and d costs for a small market.
  • Photoshop runs on a _a_lot_ more Windows machines than Macs.
  • Does it works in the real world as advertised. Even the first iPhone that Jobs presented had to be tweated extensively to make it through the presentation. The future is mobile and the truck is the PC.
  • That's a very good point. Products like this look impressive, but you know in the demo/presentation videos they're made to look like they work flawlessly. As with any product, wait for the reviews and real-world usage
  • Folks, maybe it is time to turn loose of the Windows hatred and give these devices a try? Yes, drivers are always an issue, and you don't get the integration that Apple enjoys of being the sole OEM, but the Surface line, and now the new Studio, is stealing Apple's thunder...
  • "Drivers are always an issue." No they aren't. I've been using Windows since I was 14 and i'm 32 now and drivers haven't been issues for many years. Do you need drivers? Yes. Are they buggy and hard to find? Absolutely not. FUD around these topics are just that. FUD. If you need a driver which many won't need one you just jump to web and go the site of the device maker. Search the item on their product page and hit the drivers link for Windows 10. Once downloaded you click to run and hit ok a few times. Done.
  • Ask Paul Thorrott and Leo Laporte about Surface Pro 4 drivers. That device was buggy as heck for the first 9 months of its life.
  • That was because of Intel Skylake processor. It will go down as one of the buggiest CPU s in modern time.
  • There is one major flaw with anything surface branded….WINDOWS 10. Its buggy, laggy, and downright painful to use. I sold everything windows based and moved to Apple, what a clean, fast superstable group of devices. the one OS/to rule them all mantra does NOT work. I do more on my iPad than I ever did on my surface. Don't get me started on using the surface as a tablet based device on windows 10. Painfull!
  • +1
  • I use it everyday at work. No problems. Nothing. Did I mention I use it all day at work? My home pc. Never any issues. Never any slow downs. I built it so I know everything about it. In fact I've build all my pc's except 1 which was a dell when the Intel P4 came out. There was a slickdeal for the entire pc with a dell p4 3.2 ghz. It was only $400 while the processor alone was selling on for $699 or something. Anyway no issues or blue screens. I agree that the surface was a clust**** because it never worked till about 6 months ago whenever MS and Intel figured away around the bugs in their processor. You notice how Apple stayed away from skylake processors all this time? It's fixed now in cpus I'm sure.
  • That has got to be one of the reasons both MS and Apple stuck with last years CPU. Good performance and stable drivers.
  • My MacBook has been buggy as **** since Mavericks! Posted via the iMore App
  • I will absolutely try the Studio and have no hatred for Windows. I just don't have 20+ years of using it under my belt, and I find some things on W10 clunky when compared to macOS. But I have great respect and admiration for Microsoft's ambitions and where they're going.
  • Using one operating system Windows, Mac, iOS, Android for a long time really wires your brain to work a certain way. What I mean by that is how a mac or iOS does a specific task is different than Windows or Android does that task. It's kind of like in math you can do a math problem many ways and still get the same answer. Over time using these systems we believe that it makes sense to do that thing this one way otherwise your doing it wrong. When jumping to a new system the body rejects it. It says I don't like this. It makes me so much slower. Thing it if you stay with it for a few months you do things just as fast once the muscle memory kicks in. Some things still might seem done in a wrong way but other things will seem better. An iPhone is dead simple to use so they say but I been on Android since day one and I'm lost on iOS and feel Android does the same thing quicker and easier. My brain is programed that way now. I'm sure after a month I'd feel right at home on iOS.
  • Exactly. There's a basic rule in life, people don't like change, but if you can get over the fear and give yourself patience to try something new and go with it for a month or few months, then you'll see how you really feel about the change. I'm quite accepting of change, in the technology world, different manufacturers have different ways of how UI should work, it's starting to get to a point now where they're pretty similar, but I remember the days where each mobile phone by a different manufacturer had its own OS. I went through several different phones and had to get used to each one. It makes me appreciate change and how you can see each person trying something different to achieve a task in a better way. It reminds me of when Microsoft drastically changed the interface on Microsoft Office 2007 compared to its previous version. Everyone was furious, and yeah when I tried it it was difficult to get used to, but after using it for a few months I realized that everything was laid out much nicer and easier to find after I'd gotten used to it, and then appreciated the fact that Microsoft made that change
  • There is a small amount of people who can't wait to try new operating systems. They want to learn something new. Most (like almost everyone) do not want to learn new things. 1. lazy 2. Time is money and it's for work use and you can't spend weeks learning when you not getting paid for you contract work. 3. People don't see a big enough reason to up end their work flow.
  • Apple has lot of catching up to do and looking at rumors tomorrow's event isn't going to be innovative like Microsoft one today. My god that surface studio introduction was something else, they have nailed the design and looks great, the surface dial looks innovative. If Apple would have unveiled this tomorrow you people would have gloated like there is no tomorrow. Let's see if Apple shows is something awesome tomorrow. Sent from the iMore App
  • There was nothing INNOVATIVE at MS……another touchscreen desktop and an "updated" surface book 2 in 1. NOTHING INNOVATIVE. the touch pad for the F keys to follow what software you are using is Truly Innovative. NEVER BEEN DONE before. Windows 8 on the surface pro was an awesome experience……windows 10 flushed that down the crapper with the removal of touch gestures for the software. MS BORING.
  • Hi Kojackjku, As a user of as well OSX, iOS and the excellent Windows 10, I have to dissapoint you on the truly innovativeness of the touch pad replacement for thee F keys on the MBP's... Seems this route was already developed and abandonned by M$ in... 2010. Here's the link: Cheers, P.
  • Actually the F-keys replacement stuff HAS been done before....
  • I don't think 20+ years experience with an OS really matters. The OS is meant to be the transparent bedrock which the apps you need run on anyway. Anyone who gets the Studio will be getting it for the apps it can run, the peripherals (pen, dial) it supports, and the way it combines the two together. Tool for the job, as they say. If a Microsoft product can give the creative professional something he/she wants that Apple hasn't provided, the switch will come sooner rather than later, I wager. Sure, some things might work differently, but it's not really that much different/harder than learning to drive on the "wrong" side of the road for anyone that's moved from the US to UK or vice versa.
  • It matters to the extent that if you're use to the OS it makes learning the other software your only task. If your not use to it then everything is a learning experience. How to install apps from how to get our install a driver. Years of using a system gives you confidence while starting a new one gives you worry on why the error you got is there. Now if you need to move for Business then many will. If you do this on your own and do contract work you may not.
  • Meh….Not here. As I mentioned before. I just converted from MS to Apple. Apple is such a better system that its laughable. windows 10 is CRAP.
  • There is no believer like a new believer. PS. All-caps is the on-line equivalent of shouting and its rude. How about more actually commentary and less shouting?
  • DUH>>>>>
  • What sticks out most to me is that this is a machine for graphics work that'll be driving a 4500x3000 pixel screen and it comes with a last-generation laptop grade GPU and at the base $3000 it's only got 8Gb of RAM as well. This is going to end up a disappointment.
  • This is a really great point.
  • Not a great point without even trying... You guys always defend Apple with outdated specs saying oh it's all in the experience, optimization etc. Why not see how it performs before being negative at everything not Apple. Smh Sent from the iMore App
  • Not negative: One of my major concerns with this is how well it operates. I have a 4K 21-inch iMac with ostensibly decently hardware, but it slogs where Final Cut is concerned because it has to drive that screen. I'm not writing the Surface off, but concern over specs is valid until we get to stress test.
  • Microsoft has better Graphics APIs than Apple, by a decent clip. So, you cannot really compare performance in Final Cut on an iMac with OpenGL or Metal to a Windows Applications like Adobe Premiere Pro running on a Surface AIO; even if the screen resolutions are similar. Honestly, performance is one area where I do notice a delta between Windows and OS X in my day to day use. I've commented on this a number of times, but I don't feel like OS X performance is all that "great." I'm not sure if it has anything to do with the way Apps are bundled on OS X, or what. Load times are drastically longer than the same app running on Windows on my iMac - even when that app or game is a AAA Title form a major developer and updated for the latest APIs (Metal, etc.). of Warcraft, for example, will load 3x faster and give higher frame rates on my iMac when run in Boot Camped Windows 10 than on Sierra, even though it's completely updated for Metal support, etc. And the load times on the Mac are ridunkulous compared to Windows. At least 5x longer than the Windows version...
  • I don't think Microsoft has a better Graphics API than Apple, especially when you consider most professional graphics/3D modelling companies consider using a Mac as the standard. I'm aware that there are some issues with how the file system works on macOS which results in slower reading, giving you the longer loading times that you're experiencing. It's a trivial difference if you're using an SSD but using a HDD you will see a noticeable difference. The problem with games such as World of Warcraft is that as much as they say it has Metal support, the game has probably been developed for Windows and then ported to macOS, rather than being designed from the ground-up for macOS. Porting usually results in a performance decrease. A good example of this is that many Windows games are ported from the console versions, and as much as they have DX11 support, if it's a bad port it will still run terribly on good hardware
  • This is one case where MS actually beats Apple at integration. Apple has always done a fantastic job of using its control over the hardware to make sure that the OS works extremely well with the hardware. Microsoft's control of DriectX gives it a huge advantage over Apple. Both Apple and MS have to rely on video card vendors for driver support, but Apple is at the mercy of OpenGL while MS can tweak DirectX to work better with the OS.
  • I'd say the same about Apple if they came out with something similar and jammed low-rate hardware into it. They actually do have the same hardware problems, which is why I choose to use high-end Windows desktop builds when I want graphical performance. Which leads to.... Windows performance at high resolutions is a known, quantifiable thing we already have knowledge of. I run 3440x1440 on Windows 10 and you want a 1070/1080 and 16Gb+ to start to get reliable, consistent framerates. The Surface Studio is increasing one number (by a factor of 2.7x the pixels) and running on lower spec hardware. Even the $4200 model doesn't solve the GPU issue.
  • I think you're completely overrating the value of a GPU for creative work. This is not a machine developed to replace a CAD/Modeling workstation. It's for things like Photo, Video Editing, Page Layout, Graphics Design, etc. That stuff is a lot more CPU-dependent than CPU dependent. It's also not a Gaming Machine.
  • Hmmm. Microsoft are talking up AR, VR, 3D in the same keynote - it's not unreasonable for those people working to create in those areas to think that Microsoft are providing suitable hardware for those GPU intensive tasks.
  • Photo, video and graphics design still has quite a big reliance on the GPU (and RAM). If you're editing a full-size RAW photo or 4K video, that's a lot of pixels to push which is dependent on the GPU.
  • While that is true, it just does not compare to the GPU workload created by a modern 3D game engine. This would certainly be a sub-par game machine for the price. I am sad that both MS and Apple played it safe and went with last years CPUs, but for Photoshop similar program, the provided GPU is more than capable. (Which is why the new Mac Books announced are similar.) I would be a little wary of running much 3D rendering, but for every thing but final renders, even huge Autodesk project should work fine.
  • The current imacs with 5k screens runs on an intel iris graphics 6200 vs this Nvidia 965 m. The Nivida crushes the iris graphics.
  • A comparison against the Iris just points out that the 5k iMacs are also lacking in GPU power. Even if we take the top $4200 machine, that's still only a 980M which benchmarks a whopping 100% behind a 1070. This isn't desktop class. This just isn't the premium machine it's pretending to be. The inability to have a 1Tb SSD speaks to the same problem.
  • The souped up 27" iMac can be had with an AMD Radeon R9 M395 graphics processor with 2GB of GDDR5 memory or kicked higher with an AMD Radeon R9 M395X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory. Certainly better than Iris.
  • > Certainly better than Iris. But then again to compete with the Studio, you have to add a $2700 Cintiq....
  • Also lets not forget that if your playing in this price range you might as well spend $1200 more and max out the machine. This is for work. You make your money with this. Upfront cost doesn't matter much or at least that is what i've been told by all the Mac fans who bought macbook pros and mac pros on their release.
  • Which is true…since unlike windows based garbage, 10 years down the road you can still sell a mac for more than a cup of coffee, unlike windows based machines.
  • You say that but I would rather have a cup of coffee than a mac pro. Why the **** make a product others can't upgrade for a PRO market if the manufacture isn't going to bother to upgrade it?
  • You buy me a new MacBook pro and I will buy you 10 cups of coffee. Windows systems with windows 10 is trash....better toss them in the dumpster. I used every windows version since 3.11. ME and Vista were more stable than 10 is even 1 year after.
  • John, Welcome to the world of Microsoft under Nadella. Dissapointment after disappointment. The MS fanboys are running around now, New surface book, new surface studio. Nothing MS announced is brand new technology. NOTHING. At least the macbook pro has an all new, never before done touch bar that changes the F-row to follow whatever it is your doing at the time. That is a KILLER NEW feature. All microsoft has done is made an under powered touchscreen desktop, and an under powered overpriced 2 in 1. Been done literally hundreds of times before. I really do NOT see the big deal about the surface stuff. The original surface/pro was different. Now, they are back to status quo of NON advancement. MS Boring again.
  • ROFL... yea I am sure creative types drawing on their new 4500x3000 Studio will be envious of your touch bar.
  • lmao!
  • Sorry but you are just flat wrong. The touch bar stuff that replaces the function keys was NOT invented by Apple. It was already invented by Lenovo in their X1 Carbon line if I remember (I'm not even sure if they are the first one to do something like that). Sure it was not as functional as the one found in the Macbook pro now, but still, it was NOT invented by Apple. Apple just played his old "take what's already invented, make it better and put it in one of their products" card. And obviously, people will blindly state that Apple invented it. Please, next time do some research before bashing like that
  • Ben Thompson for stratechery put it perfectly "Apple fans, stop being annoying. If this exact product were announced tomorrow you would be ******** your pants." Sent from the iMore App
  • Windows 10 takes any coolness that the surface had, and flushes it down the toilet
  • you, my friend, are a MASSIVE windows 10 hater... you having a bad experience with windows 10 doesn't mean everybody else is having the same experience... It does not mean that the OS is garbage either... that's just YOUR opinion, not a generality. They are waaayyy more people that like windows 10 more than windows 8/8.1. Why do you think Microsoft didn't take long before releasing W10? because the mass of the population was disappointed with Win 8. Your affirmation of "Windows 8 is better than windows 10" is completely opposite of the opinion of the mass. So calm down a bit in you comments and stop insulting people that disagree with you. Your life will be much better :)
  • Suddenly a little touch-strip replacing a row of function keys seems inconsequential ;-)
  • That all depends on how much functionality the touch-strip adds and how much it can increase productivity
  • Actually, I just watched the Apple keynote. Personally, I'd get a lot more use out of that little TouchBar than being able to draw on my screen. And I'd probably never use the Surface Dial accessory. I can definitely see use-case scenarios for both, just not for me. Great to have choices :-)
  • The Surface Studio looks fantastic for graphics designers/artists. If I was in that line of work, I would get one
  • I might also... but I can barely manage to draw a stick figure, not artistic at all. The minimal amount of graphics I deal with are more than adequately handled with Pixelmator ;-)
  • It is apples and oranges. You cannot draw on the touch bar, period.
  • duh... Is it national State-the-Obvious day...?
  • I fell in love as soon as I saw it. I'm not a creative so it's not something I need to run out and buy. But it is definitely up for consideration since I'm going to be looking for a home computer option soon.
  • What's so frustrating about this, Serenity, is that Apple has had all the technologies for this in place for five years, including, not one, but two patented designs for sliding iMac mounts. Their stubborn refusal to even consider this, is allowing Microsoft, of all companies, to move ahead. If this machine was an iMac, I would run to the store for it, and I know I'm not alone in that.
  • I've been looking all over for those previous patents for the iMac! There was a tilt-back iMac concept that used a folding hinge just like that new Surface. Good on you Microsoft! Anyway, Apple didn't have the pencil nor any of the touch solutions for the iPad back then as I remember. What I would like is for the iPad an Mac to merge and allow Java software to run. While sandboxing has helped make secure computers for the masses, it's hamstringing full power computing - gotta have a REAL Finder.
  • It's all about the complete software+OS+hardware package.
    iPad delivers on one of those: hardware. Macs delivers on two: Hardware & OS. Windows delivers on two: Hardware and software.
    Windows is the problem with windows machines. After a few months of a clean install, things slow to a crawl. File Explorer hangs & crashes... FILE EXPLORER! Drivers aren't a problem anymore, now its a matter of keeping the OS stable, and they love to push automatic glitches ...err.. updates.
    Point is- Mac is slipping in hardware and software support, and the OS isn't that great either if you dare step one foot out of the sandbox. I'm sure everyone has their favorite Creative software for Mac, but for my line of work (AutoCAD, Revit, etc) it simply isn't supported. There are crappy excuses for mobile versions for SOME of the software I use on my PC on a daily basis, but they are usually free from the dev, are half-baked from the beginning then never get further development.
    I've tried the windows 10 touch-screen experience with a Lenovo Yoga, true it doesn't support a real stylus, but I've also used an older Dell with a real stylus (up'd with an SSD and Win10), and neither is as good as the iPad + aPencil when the software is good. I really do hope this Surface Studio can push devs to solve that problem, but there has to be a market for it. My iPad apps are crap bc no one is buying iPads to use them, but no one is buying iPads to use them bc the apps are crap!
    I really feel Apple became a "toy" company a few years after the iPhone was released. They saw the potential for the 90% "muggles" to spend their starbucks money on silly apps and services, rather than support and develop for the professionals, like Ren said.
    I still wish they would do both. They could have the Muggle Division and the Applyte Division. Similar yet separate Hardwares and Operating Systems to make us all happy. They have the money to HIRE the people to make this work. But instead they are refining what others have already done.
    Macbook "Magic Function Bar" :: Razer Switchblade UI. As seen on the Razer Blade Pro & Deathstalker Ultimate, both of which I have owned sine 2013.
    Did I win the Rant award for this article? Sent from the iMore App
  • I've run windows for years. Stop lying. There is no such thing as PCs that slow to a crawl, as if all sorts of junk doesn't get left behind when you install/remove/run/use/etc. mac apps. Why do you think apps like AppClearner and DiskCleaner or whatever it it's called exist? To dejunk your Mac. This product, by Microsoft, is marvelous. Windows 10 is every bit as good as macOS Sierra - arguably better; and definitely getting much better attention and development, these days.
  • I hope you were being sarcastic. What possible reason would I have to lie about the countless hours/days I've lost to windows problems? And I've been running Windows for years, too. Never the same install for more than 2 years, though. When start ups go from 30 seconds to 5+ minutes, and File Explorer starts crashing, and Outlook can't remember my preference settings, and OneNote crashes requiring a full reboot, and OneDrive constantly has sync errors and AutoCAD & Revit & Excel take minutes to start and crash too often, all running on a Samsung 840 EVO + 2TB HDD storage + 1tb scratch disk, with an intel Xeon 6 core, OC 3.8Ghz & a Titan X, & 16GB RAM... yeah, time to reinstall, there's no fixing it. I ran all the hardware tests I can, all good. I monitor thermals at all times. And I don't make a habit of installing/deleting for the fun of it. I get what I need and use it. And never, ever visit "questionable" websites.
    I got a Win10pro update about a year ago that forced me to completely reinstall Windows. I spent 1 day on tech support with no result, when they said they were escalating it and would call me with in 72 hours, I just blew it out in the morning and got back to normal by the end of the day. It turned out to be a screw up with a system font that changed with the update. A system font costed me 2 f'n days.
    If you have a perfectly running machine, that is running just as fast on day 500 as day 1, then consider yourself lucky. Even iPhone performance declines after several months of use. It's not just windows, but it is the worst, IME. Sent from the iMore App
  • No, they don't slow to a crawl after some time, All you need to do is install windows 10….it crawls right from install. My surface was crap after windows 10. On windows 8 it was fast, stable etc. But windows 10 made me switch to full apple because of its terrible user experience both on desktop/notebook, and tablet use. Lets not even go near windows mobile where that was another massive farce that suckered me in only to have my devices left behind, yet again! MS is run by a bunch of nimrods at present.
  • Not my experience. I've been using a surface pro 3 provided by my work and it's lightning fast. Posted via the iMore App
  • Good for you....NOT my experience. My wife and I both had surface pro 3s. and once winedohs 10 was installed on them they were horrible to use....edge is crap, all the notifications/advertising is mind numbing...etc...its trash...a joke of an OS, and MS should be ashamed to have released it. 8 was much better in every regard.
  • Yeah, the notifications are very confusing in win10. I get a popup in the bottom right corner, But if I can't click on it within the 5 seconds before it fades away, it usually doesn't show up in the Action Center. WTF?
    And one more annoyance / indicator of loss of performance - my cursor will freeze or drag or lag or ghost (slides across the screens when my hand isn't on the mouse) during that first 5 minutes or so, and at random times of mild load.
  • Often the problem is in between the keyboard and the chair which is why your experience does not match that of others.
  • yeah…sure. No problem! I built computers, coded programs for businesses etc, Its NOT the utensil between the keyboard and chair. Its the POS windows 10 OS…Its a massive step backwards. Windows 8 was AWESOME, and I would still be using Windows based machines if they stuck with that….However, windows 10 is garbage, and its no more stable than millennium Edition. We all know how awesome that OS was. The only year that MS released 2 OS's……ME was so ****** that they had to then released 2000 to get back their reputation….Now that this JOKE of a CEO is running things, he does not care how bad 10 is making MS look as long as he gets his cloud bonuses in his pocket.
  • I see what you mean about your SP3 being faulty, it's CAPS Lock button is clearly sticking.
  • I don't know what your doing to your PC with Windows 10 but no problems here. Use my dell Laptop everyday for 10 hrs plus and never a blue screen or any issues. File Explorer can hang if your have network shares that take time to refresh but if not it launches instantly. I do have an SSD only on my PC. That sure makes everything faster. I'm not sure if something with your software you have loaded like a bad drug interaction or a defective pc.
  • Nothing too intensive as I am sure it would take a half hr to edit a simple photo on the surface pro 3. anyways Nicolas...please move back to windows central....thanks!
  • The SP3 was not perfect, but her are comments from an artist says you are full of crap and this was back in 2014:
  • I don't give two sweet ***** what artists say….or if you think I'm full of **** or not. I know what my personal experience was…..As mentioned, I was a microsoft user from 3.11……I used every version, mobile and desktop. And windows 10 is shat, both on mobile and desktop. thanks!
  • What a well thought out and expressed opinion. I bow to your superior ability to vomit text.
  • True, every PC is different, but I'm experiencing issues on both my desktop and my laptop. My desktop is a custom build, laptop is factory from Razer. Both have their own issues, but overall system performance is the bottom line.
  • Probably a solid machine, but they have copied and exceeded Apple at one very bad thing.
    $3K for an i5 is lame and offensive!
  • Well,Apple must work up now, for Microsoft to come up with something like this ;means that Apple has been sleeping. Next is the Surface phone watch out. So what are Tim Coooks views on the Surface AIO? Isaiah Heart.
  • Not a Pencil compatible Mac. Apple's take on this would be a desk iPad Pro. macOS is built for a click UI and iOS is built for touch. Apple has been very careful to maintain that distinction. To give an iMac a touch screen, they would have to redesign macOS with a UI for touch targets, not cursor clickable targets. That's exactly what iOS was designed from the ground up for. A 27" iPad Pro on an iMac G4 like hydrolic arm would give creatives the tool they need for desktop class professional work. As a photographer, I already use my iPad Pro for professional work. Apple has gradually developed iOS and the iPad to be powerful enough to get to this point. The pencil was the latest step. All that's left is to scale the iPad Pro to a desktop suitable size and give it an arm and we're in business.
  • > To give an iMac a touch screen, they would have to redesign macOS with a UI for touch targets, not cursor clickable targets. That is total BS. They could make a Apple Pencil compatible machine without adding capacitive touch. The pencil is just as accurate a mouse/trackpad and would require zero UD redesign. (Apple does not want to do it because it is expensive and even Apple fans would not pay $5K for a Pencil compatible iMac.) So many people like to pretend that touch and pen are joined at the hip, but they are not.
  • Wait. You're proposing Apple build a stylus based computer? Yeah, why not just go back to Palm Pilots and WinCE? Apple already makes a touch computer. The iPad Pro was designed from the ground up specifically for touch. It's now powerful enough for professional applications. It just needs to be scaled up to a size suitable for use on a desk like the Surface.
  • A creative professional can draw and paint everywhere with everything, on canvas, on paper, on tablet, on iPad, on sand, on walls... Drawing tools and media don't matter much to the creative pro given that it is the inspiration and the hand capabilities along with training which are essential... Actually many are against such digital tools because of the mismatch between their expectations and programmers' anticipation on what may appeal to them. Many still prefer drawing and painting with natural tools because they find digital tools too restrictive. But the display resolution matters to them because this is what reproduces the real world on screen. Naturally a 5K display is more valuable for them than a digital drawing canvas, samples of which exist since more than two decades. So Apple addresses a more essential issue with the 5K iMac.
  • +1. This is probably the most important thing for graphics designers/photo editing, to see what an image truly looks like, and for this you need the right display for the job. Apple wins on this one
  • How does it win? What don't you see with this display? You can shift the color space of the screen with a click of the screen. You get 1 to 1 when working on documents. The screen is over 4k. Something like 4.5 k or a bit higher. You comment sounds like fanboy disbelief that only Apple can make a great product.
  • The Surface Studio display is impressive, but Apple still has the better screen at 5K, and even though it might not seem like that big of a difference you would notice it when working with high quality photos and content. You want to see an image at the most detail the screen can possibly show to get the best idea of how it will look, and like I said, Apple wins with this
  • Is the display on the 5K Mac WCG or just normal sRBG/calibrated like a normal 1080p iMac. There is more that goes into that than simply the "display resolution." 4K vs 5k at that display size is simply not something the average "digital artist" should be worrying about. This is like an end user complaining that their 32" TV is only 1080p instead of UHD.
  • This only makes sense if those artists assume everyone else will have a display of that resolution to view their work. What does it matter if you like a 5K display, if 80% of the planet will be viewing it on 768-1080p displays? The artist should be focused on what the end user sees, not on what they see. Does it matter if a picture looked great in studio lighting to you, when it looks like poo user normal lighting when hanging on someone's wall?
  • > So Apple addresses a more essential issue with the 5K iMac ROFL.. So you are saying that all other things being equal, you would choose a 5K screen and a separate drawing tablet over a 4.5K screen with integrated digitizer? If that is true, you have not credibility at all.
  • There needs to be a poll: "How many people own a Windows 10 computer?" Then "How many are laptop/tablet/convertible" and "How many are desktop?" Then "How many on desktop have a touchscreen" and "How many on laptop/tablet/convertible have a touchscreen?" Then finally add to those: "And how many people actually touch their touchscreen on an *at least* daily basis, beyond just simple swiping? I'd bet you'd get < 3% of desktop users with the capability and the discipline to use it daily. And of that 3%, 95% of them are photo/graphics/video editors. To each is own, but I don't have need for a $4000 28-inch Windows desktop PC / Windows tablet mash-up fingerprint magnet on a kickstand. Nor would I have a need for a $4000 27-inch iMac / iPad mash-up fingerprint magnet. I can much more quickly and easily wipe fingerprints/palm prints off a Surface Pro 4 or iPad than any desktop.
  • Are you coming from a MacOS background? I own a MacBook and a work provided Surface Pro 3. With the latter I'm constantly interacting with the screen and my productivity on it is far greater than on the Mac Book. Granted I need to clean my screen on a daily basis but I'm happy to do this for the better ergonomics that the Windows PC provides.
  • ROFL.. 20 minutes in just about any coffe shop in a college town will disprove those numbers. Touch screen laptops are the norm now outside the Apple world. Once you have a touch screen laptop for more than a week, going back a forth between the keyboard, touchpad (or trackball in my case) and the screen becomes completely natural. Non-touch laptops now just feel old and obsolete. I will never own another one.
  • Once you draw on the display, the resolution of the display and that of the pencil become correlated. Drawing in high resolution requires a big processing power as Apple has successfully addressed with the iPad Pro. Hands-on reviews of the Surface Studio will reveal how natural its pencil interaction is, whether it is laggy, skippy, sluggish or not. A tool promoted as "for creative pro" must be the fastest and the most natural considering the pressure sensitive variations of the brush size, brush shape, transparency and color etc. all must occur in real time.
  • Here is the review your looking for.
  • I have used it. Pencil is pretty natural, and there is nothing skippy or sluggish about it. Wonderful machine
  • I love my iPad Pro, I think it's the right approach to touch screen computers, touch friendly interface and apps made specially for touch are key for great user experience. I just hope Apple won't stop on current screen size and go as big as 27 inches one day, of course with additional iOS enhancements.
  • Keep waiting. This Windows computer is everything you mention. 1.touch friendly interface and apps made specially for touch. (MS is making the apps).
  • except the fact that windows 10 is NOT touch friendly interface....they had that in 8 but ****** it up with 10 to the point it is better using a mouse and keyboard .....get your facts straight before coming here and spewing crap!
  • Talk about spewing crap. Win 10 works just fine using just touch. You can switch to tablet mode anytime you want. That make nearly all the of the system components, especially the Start menu and the task back work in a more touch-centric way.
  • I guess you never used windows 8 with touch… 10 does not HAVE GESTURES, Charms centre etc that windows 8 had that made it awesome for touch. windows 10 works, because you can use your finger instead of the mouse. It is not nearly as intuitive as windows 8 for touch which was really optimized for both touch and keyboard/mouse use….so NO windows 10 is NOT designed for touch….Please…I spew the truth as I USED THEM ALL!
  • Clearly you have not spent much time with Windows 10, while I have to agree 10 has lost a lot of functionality over Windows 8.1. Windows 10 mirrors Windows 8 touch functionality in tablet mode even though it loses some gestures most are still there from the Windows 7 and some from Windows 8 just confusing jumping from such a touch focus Windows 8 to an OS that supports both (keyboard and mouse/ touch) in their own kind of ecosystems via a button in notifications.
    Windows 10 brought back microsofts famous ***** proof design by removing the more complex (kind of unknown to people who don't explore/learn the OS) gestures and making the desktop screen standard again. So I have to agree with you that Windows 8 was great (I still use it on my surface pro instead of upgrading to 10) but Windows 10 is designed for touch even though you say it's not (convertible tablet/laptop kind of way) but you can lock it into non-touchscreen mode or touch screen tablet mode from the notification button on the task bar. Windows 10 was designed for non-touchscreen desktops and touch devices with removable peripherals (keyboard/trackpads) to fit in with new technology and old why it was a free upgrade for everyone new computer or old, instead of being touch based only like Windows 8 (which still annoys me when it switches to desktop for almost everything, but makes up for it with quick swipe from the left to switch programs in full screen.)
  • Im really happy that Serenity Caldwell is not fan based blind. She tell the truth when it's truth. That's one of the reason why i like her article, follow her articles & and trust her products reveiw.
    Thank u so much Serenity ❤️
  • If anything I'm kinda jealous that their all in one doesn't have that chin. So hoping tomorrow we see an iMac with out that chin.
  • I think reading this should settle this once and for all.
  • Microsoft doesn't compete with Apple, the lower specs of the Studio clearly reveals that they have no such intentions: lower resolution, old USB, no Thunderbolt. All they want to do is to end that "convertible" frenzy by releasing a good old PC. Certainly Studio is not a "convertible" at all. Both Surface Studio and Surface Book designs are already patented by Apple since 2010 and 2013. There may even be an undisclosed agreement or at least a consensus between the two regarding these patents. So, nothing new, nothing to be excited about...
  • This post misses the point. You complain about the ports. 1. Lower Resolution.. 4.5 k instead of 5 k. People using it don't have a problem with the resolution. 2..Old USB. USB 3 is fast enough. You don't need to hook anything but an external drive or hook it up to a network which is gigabit. 3. Why do you need thunderbolt. This isn't designed to hookup multiple screens side by side. The screen already is so big it's like 2 monitors side by side. 4. Certainly Studio is not a "convertible" at all. Both Surface Studio and Surface Book designs are already patented by Apple since 2010 and 2013. There may even be an undisclosed agreement or at least a consensus between the two regarding these patents. (This is called Fanboyism where you say we had it first. You know that the best most innovative things Apple has ever made was all from taking something and making it better. MP3 players existed before the ipod. Smartphones existed before the iphone. Sour grapes my friend. If this was announced at todays event you would be saying how great it is.
  • I hope iMore realise how lucky they are to have you Serenity. I feel like you're the only one of the iMore team who gives an honest, insightful, opinion on the great things Apple's competition are producing. There needs to be more of this sort of article on iMore. I have a lot more respect for this piece than a certain EiC's snarky, smirking piece about the Pixel.
  • So let me get this like the Mac OSm yet the OS is not geared to touch and you want more touch like the Surface Studio, solution? Get a Surface Studio. I used to be all in with Apple, dont miss it at all and the lack of innovation coupled with stupid decisions makes me wonder why people follow them blindly.
  • The same way I feel about windows/Microsoft....they ruined their touch interface from 8 and moved to 10 trying to be everything with one OS that does not work, it's slow, laggy, buggy etc....then we have windows mobile...that is a total waste of money there. did that for 3 years and not going back, then there was the one drive space rape debacle, the the many promises rallied from the MS brass about islandwood, and other "projects" that were supposed to bring "universal apps" to the ecosystem to increase user base etc....there are more apps leaving than ever before. At least with phone 8 there were new apps coming in....Then, there is the Continuum LIE......Continuum does NOT have the power of a desk top in your mobile device. It is a GIMMPED half baked version of RT, it does not run legacy windows programs....there are no apps being developed for it, its a joke. Please....I would rather follow apple blindly.......then be LIED TO repeatedly by Microsoft as I took for years and years in the past. windows phone 7 (the last update of windows phone), windows 8 (no really, this is the last update to windows phone), windows phone 8.1 (ok, here is an updated last update to windows phone, but not all windows 8 phones can run it, to bad for you consumer you have to buy yet another phone), thennnnnnnn we have the ALMIGHTY windows 10 mobile. Before release Joe Belifore was on stage, strutting around and the words out of his mouth were....and tweeted by both him, NUTELLA, and MS corporate was and read this slowly and dramatically like He said it...." EVERY WINDOWS 8.1 DEVICE WILL UPDATE TO WINDOWS 10 MOBILE".....however, the lie just went right thorugh his teeth....since....NOT every device was able for update. At least half of the available windows phone models at the time were left out of the update for some reason or another. Just another in a long line of **** from MS. NO THANKS, Apple will take ALL MY MONEY!
  • It's not slow, and it's definitely not Laggy. Windows runs on 8" Tablets with Atom CPUs and 2GB RAM. It doesn't lag, and it's definitely not slow. People have displayed those underpowered machines running software like Photoshop. You are not on good rational foundation with those criticisms. Continuum isn't meant to replace a Windows Desktop OS. If you really need that, then you should consider a Surface tablet, and not try to use a phone as a desktop. A phone isn't even spaced for the kinds of workloads you would really *need* a desktop for, nor are those ARM processors really powerful enough to drive that (despite the marketing from Apple, you'd be better off with an AMD desktop/laptop). Universal Apps work for what they were designed for, utilitarian-type applications that perform set tasks. Similar to apps like Facebook, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, Sticky Notes, Open Live Writer, etc. You will never see something like Photoshop as a Universal App. The platform wasn't made for that. They have a Bridge to integrate some UWP functionality into desktop apps to cover that, and those apps are not designed for smartphones (and, as such, will never run on them).
  • I have to agree! I've finally seen the light I hope!
  • Serinity is by far the most fair here. She is doing a great job. Posted via the iMore App for Android