The just announced Microsoft Surface looks to be a good device for photographers and digital artists.
One of the commonly skipped over features of the new Microsoft Surface is the inclusion of a pressure sensitive pen in addition to the finger touch interface. Now while there are many pens for the iPad and even one pressure sensitive option that uses Bluetooth to transmit the pressure information to specially written software, it is not the same as having pressure sensitivity integrated into the operating system and so more likely to be supported by a wide range of apps.
Real details on the Surface are few and far between, so we don’t know how many levels of pressure sensitivity are supported. But any number will be a big help and I can’t see any reason why it would be less than 256 levels, which is going to be more than enough more interesting photographic retouching and digital art applications. Note that the pressure sensitive pen appears to only be on the more expensive full Windows 8 device, not on the cheaper one.
Other features look positive for us too. USB 3 as well as a microSDXC port will make connecting cameras easy. In this way the 128GB option model may be ideal as an in-the-field image viewer and storage device, with the ability to do some reasonable preliminary editing as well.
We live in interesting times and not all of that is negative stuff. The Surface just might provide the long awaited competition for the iPad. Competition helps us, the consumer, and if Microsoft gets it right then we may all be better off.
Microsoft can do hardware right. I’ve always preferred their mice over everyone else’s, especially Apple’s, for example. So let’s give them a chance and see what they deliver when the Surface actually ships. I know I’ll be extremely keen to try one out.