Microsoft’s Surface Laptop will only run apps from the Windows Store

Alex Kidman 3 May 2017

MSSurfaceLaptop_738

Thin and beautiful, but not exactly low cost.

It was widely tipped that Microsoft would be announcing new hardware at an event in New York overnight and indeed, the company rolled out a new Surface device. Specifically, the Surface Laptop, which is almost exactly what you might think it is, as long as what you think it is a hybrid of Microsoft’s Surface style and a traditional laptop.

In technical terms, the one big difference of the Surface Laptop is that it’s not exactly running Windows 10 as you might currently understand it. Instead, the Surface Laptop runs on Windows 10 S, a heavily optimised version of Windows 10 that will only run applications downloaded from the Windows Store.

Microsoft has been down this path before with the very first generation of Surface tablets. The Surface RT ran an ARM-based version of Windows that could only run specifically written applications supplied through Microsoft's Windows Store. The Surface Laptop will apparently run full Win32 apps, with the caveat being that they have to come from the Windows 10 Store specifically. Windows 10 S is, as per Microsoft’s claims, optimised for power usage and is positioned as a challenger to Google’s Chrome OS, which runs on Chromebook devices.

MSSurfaceLaptop_Angle_738

Microsoft's claim is that by limiting application access, it can optimise Windows 10 S devices for speed, battery usage and security purposes, although it will apparently be possible to upgrade 10 S devices to full Windows 10 at cost if you did need wider application access.

Most Chromebook devices sold in Australia have tended towards the highly affordable, but based on Microsoft’s announced US pricing, that won’t be the story for the Surface Laptop when it launches here.

US pricing starts at US$999 for a Surface Laptop with a Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD for storage, and ranges as high as US$2,199 for a Core i7 model with 16GB of RAM, Intel Iris Plus 640 GPU and 512GB SSD.

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Australian pricing is set to start at $1,499 for the baseline Surface Laptop model, $1,999 for the 256GB/Core i5/8GB model, $2,499 for the 256GB/Core i7/8GB model and finally $3,299 for the 512GB/Core i7/16GB top end version.

That means that the top-end models aren't substantially different from the pricing of the Surface Book with Performance Base that Microsoft already sells in Australia. The Surface Laptop isn't intended as a replacement for the existing Surface Pro 4 and as yet there's no sign of an update to that product line.

So far, there's no sign of the new Surface Laptop in Microsoft’s online Australian store, with US models set to ship from 15 June.

FeatureSpecs
Display13.5-inch
Resolution2256x1504
Pixels per inch201ppi
Front camera720p HD camera (front-facing)
Processor7th Gen Intel Core i5/i7
Memory4GB/8GB/16GB RAM
Storage128/256/512GB
BatteryUp to 14.5 hours
SoftwareWindows 10 S
PriceTBC

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