On Wednesday, Microsoft held a Surface event introducing several new products worth checking out if you’re a Mac user. These include accessories and software titles that cover a range of uses. The Windows maker also announced a significant change that will affect all Microsoft Office customers.
Here’s a look at what was announced and what it means for Mac users.
Microsoft Surface event: the Surface hardware
Microsoft’s Wednesday event focused on a nice mix of hardware and software announcements. Although I’m a dedicated Apple Mac user, I have grown to respect Microsoft much more over the years because of its growing lineup of Surface products, which tend to get better with each new release.
The company didn’t disappoint yesterday as it revealed three new computers, the Surface Pro 9, Surface Laptop 5, and Surface Studio 2+. The first of these is getting the most attention because of its NPU (neural processing unit) that promises to provide Al effects natively within Windows 11. Folks are also talking about the special 10th anniversary Surface Pro 9. Its been designed in partnership with London-based Liberty (opens in new tab) and includes an etched floral pattern with a matching Type Cover.
Our friends at Windows Central (opens in new tab) call the Surface Laptop 5 a “modest upgrade” that features new Intel CPUs, Thunderbolt 4 support, Intel Evo branding, and a small battery life bump.
As someone who works mainly outside Microsoft’s universe (and enjoys the Apple Mac Studio), I’m most interested in learning more about the Surface Studio 2+. Unfortunately, the device, which starts at $4,499, is initially getting generally unfavorable reviews because of, according to Windows Central, its “more powerful (yet still outdated) specs.”
Microsoft Surface event: hardware Mac users might like
Beyond Surface devices, Microsoft revealed two additional hardware products this week, and both work with Windows and macOS. The first, the Microsoft Audio Dock, shows the most promise and is designed for meetings, music, and other forms of media. It’s an all-in-one speaker with four ports (HDMI, USB-A, and two USB-C) and a power pass-through to keep your computer charged all day.
The new Microsoft Presenter+ controller provides a range of up to 10 meters and works with popular presentation and meeting apps. No doubt this means Microsoft PowerPoint (on Windows and macOS) and also Apple Keynote. Additionally, it’s certified for Microsoft Teams with integrated controls.
Microsoft Surface event: software Mac users might like
On the software front, Microsoft has introduced a new app for its Microsoft 365 app, Microsoft Designer. As its name suggests, the app helps users quickly create items such as social media posts, digital postcards, and invitations. It’s powered by Microsoft’s DALL-E 2 Al technology that’s intended to make it easier for you to design new projects.
DALL-E 2 is also behind a new feature coming to Microsoft Bing. The new Microsoft Bing Creator tool allows you to generate images by simply typing in a few keywords.
Finally, Microsoft has announced a new Create website that it will use to better highlight its many apps and services under the Microsoft 365 umbrella. It sounds like a great promotional tool; whether it proves beneficial to Mac users isn’t yet known.
Finally, Office is becoming Microsoft 365
One final bit of news came out of yesterday’s event. After 30 years, Redmond is transitioning its No.1 software product away from the “Microsoft Office” name. Instead, the popular bundle will be known simply as “Microsoft 365.”
The title change makes a lot of sense when you consider Microsoft 365 subscriptions have become commonplace in recent years. Nonetheless, retiring the Office name is a big deal.
According to Microsoft, “over the last couple years, Microsoft 365 has evolved into our flagship productivity suite, so we are creating an experience to help you get the most out of Microsoft 365. In the coming months, Office.com, the Office mobile app, and the Office app for Windows will become the Microsoft 365 app, with a new icon, a new look, and even more features.”
Lots of promise
Like most of our readers, you probably already own one of the best Macs (or an older model) and have little interest in checking out one of the new Microsoft Surfaces announced this week. And yet, some of the other stuff Microsoft announced could be worth considering, especially the new Audio Dock and software tweaks.