And we're in our seats! Welcome to the Microsoft Surface 2 liveblog!
Tim Stevens9/23/2013 2:09:01 PM
The journalists are having conversations and chatting away, sipping on momosas and nibbling pastries. Meanwhile, we're getting rolling.
Tim Stevens9/23/2013 2:09:39 PM
It's a fairly small venue, white-covered seats and stage with blue and purple lighting around. Up on-stage there's a very humorless-looking security guard trying vainly to block a series of Surface tablets.
Scott Stein9/23/2013 2:09:47 PM
All right! Fruit juices at the door, coffee upstairs. Scott Stein here as well. This room is very bedecked in white. White chairs, white curtains.
dan.ackerman9/23/2013 2:09:53 PM
I haven't seen any pastries, I'm just saying.
Tim Stevens9/23/2013 2:10:02 PM
One of them appears to have a speaker connected to it.
Scott Stein9/23/2013 2:10:16 PM
Upbeat electronica. Sounds like one of the new iOS 7 ringtones.
Tim Stevens9/23/2013 2:10:22 PM
There's some light techno playing in the background, a bit too aggressive for this time of the morning, perhaps.
dan.ackerman9/23/2013 2:11:08 PM
But there are waiters with what looks suspiciously like mimosas.
Scott Stein9/23/2013 2:11:29 PM
Now it feels like the soundtrack to a Perfect Dark sequel.
Tim Stevens9/23/2013 2:11:49 PM
Let's start the fun with some predictions. Have any ideas of what you're expecting? Tweet at us! We'll share some of our favorite predictions -- the wilder and crazier the better. I'm @Tim_Stevens. Dan is @danackerman. Scott is @jetscott and Shara is @sharatibken.
Scott Stein9/23/2013 2:12:30 PM
I reviewed the Surface Pro back in January. Feels like a million years ago. I liked it! Keyboard the best part. Battery the worst. But can the new Surface freshen up Windows 8 and the tablet pitch?
Tim Stevens9/23/2013 2:12:38 PM
We also have Sarah Tew here shooting pics. She's weilding a 5D MKII.
Tim Stevens9/23/2013 2:13:17 PM
@ShauryaD44 says " don't lie, you guys are gorging on the food as well. ;-)" -- Untrue! We're all huddled here typing away. No time for carb loading -- not yet.
dan.ackerman9/23/2013 2:14:46 PM
It's funny, Scott. Even after all this time, I think we'd agree that the original Surface Pro is still the best Core i5 Win 8 tablet.
Scott Stein9/23/2013 2:14:56 PM
I had coffee.
Scott Stein9/23/2013 2:15:08 PM
You know...it's true.
Tim Stevens9/23/2013 2:15:14 PM
As Dan Ackerman has just coyly pointed out, the Surface in the center appears to be in some sort of a beefy dock.
stelios9/23/2013 2:15:19 PM
any chance we can watch this live?
dan.ackerman9/23/2013 2:15:22 PM
A few hybrids have really excelled, such as the Yoga series, But there have only been a couple of other non-Atom standalone slates.
john.falcone9/23/2013 2:15:35 PM
@stelios: Sorry, no live video feed today. But we'll have photos popping in soon.
dan.ackerman9/23/2013 2:15:58 PM
Of course, it wasn't the Surface itself that really stood out, it was really the snap-on keyboard covers,
dan.ackerman9/23/2013 2:16:07 PM
something no one else doing an add-on keyboard has really matched yet.
Tim Stevens9/23/2013 2:16:09 PM
The stage itself has a large central display with "Surface" on it. There's a little Start button below there. Makes me wonder whether we can go up and use it as a touch screen. Probably not.
Scott Stein9/23/2013 2:16:33 PM
I'll just say: if battery life were significantly improved and Windows 8 apps grew to a different level of support/functionality, I'd be very excited for Surface 2.
dan.ackerman9/23/2013 2:17:24 PM
I've always wanted to see those touch cover and type cover keyboards migrate to other products, such as Windows 8 tablets from other PC makers.
Tim Stevens9/23/2013 2:17:46 PM
We're basically in the basement of a building here, so cellular connectivity is... poor, to put it mildly. We're all crossing our fingers that the Wi-Fi here stays solid. That it's already bombing is not a good sign.
dan.ackerman9/23/2013 2:17:57 PM
After all -- I would assume Microsoft is mostly interested in Surface as a proof-of-concept, pushing Dell, HP, etc. to make similar products.
Scott Stein9/23/2013 2:19:31 PM
The Surface Faraday Cage.
Tim Stevens9/23/2013 2:20:20 PM
So far we've seen Panos Panay here at the event. Surface researcher Steven Bathiche is also here, sitting in the front row.
Scott Stein9/23/2013 2:20:43 PM
Since the original Surface came out in January (but was unveiled last October), I guess there isn't a lot one should really expect about a new design.
Tim Stevens9/23/2013 2:21:48 PM
If we should go dark... remember us...
Tim Stevens9/23/2013 2:21:59 PM
Connectivity is... suffering. Failing. Falling on its face. People are frantically trying different parts of the room to stay connected. We'll stay online as long as we can, to bring you the news.
Scott Stein9/23/2013 2:22:40 PM
My computer thinks I'm in Houston, Texas. Is that from the Microsoft Wi-Fi routers?
dan.ackerman9/23/2013 2:24:09 PM
And then, our 3G/4G signals will work...
Jason9/23/2013 2:24:56 PM
@Tim I imagine Yackety Sax is playing while people try to find a signal
goosa9/23/2013 2:25:05 PM
@ScottStein It's the new surface teleportation feature?
dan.ackerman9/23/2013 2:26:00 PM
Some day, Tim, people will stop hosting these events in basements.
Scott Stein9/23/2013 2:27:17 PM
So, still electronica.
Scott Stein9/23/2013 2:27:18 PM
With new iPads most likely around the corner in October, how do these Surfaces attack the tablet front before those?
Scott Stein9/23/2013 2:27:21 PM
No event yet.
Scott Stein9/23/2013 2:27:41 PM
And the awkward (or useful) flood of alternative Windows 8 tablets from other manufacturers continues to feel like a vague competition with the Surface product.
Tim Stevens9/23/2013 2:28:15 PM
@jbrianfrancis asking "How many people in audience are using Surface as opposed to Mac?" -- I see one... a decent number of people on PCs. Vast majority are MacBooks. Airs for the most part.
Scott Stein9/23/2013 2:28:43 PM
The consumer non-Pro Surface will be worth watching to see how MS re-imagines it. The Pro feels like the more logical product, always has.
Tim Stevens9/23/2013 2:29:21 PM
We just lost connectivity there for a moment. Things are getting bad. We've tried Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T. All have zero signal. Alas, nobody packed a Sprint modem.