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On Wednesday, Microsoft unveiled a new all-in-one desktop called the Surface Studio. Think the iMac, but with a touchscreen and support for a stylus.Last week, Microsoft reported that sales from its Surface line soared 38 percent from the previous year, to $926 million. That’s a huge percentage jump compared with the half-a-percent slide in iPad revenue this quarter and a 17 percent drop in Mac sales. But even with the boost, Microsoft Surface quarterly sales hover around the $1 billion mark, well below demand for Apple’s products. iPad sales this past quarter topped $4 billion, while Mac sales were over $5.7 billion.The Surface won over buyers in part because of Apple’s delays in updating its MacBook Pro line, believes Brian Hall, corporate vice president of marketing for Microsoft devices. The last major update of the MacBook Pro was in 2012. Microsoft hopes its new, high-end Surface Book i7, unveiled Wednesday and priced at $2,399, attracts plenty of MacBook Pro users.

"Apple has definitely left their customers behind in the last four years or three years in not having updated over that period," Hall says. "At this point, Apple’s really doing customers a disservice not to have an option for touch[screens] on a MacBook."Apple disagrees. Four years ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook dissed hybrid devices by saying they’re like combining a toaster and a refrigerator. But Apple also introduced the 12.9-inch iPad Pro last year, with a detachable keyboard and stylus called the Pencil, a clear sign it sees a market for people who want to work on iPads and not just use them as entertainment devices.The company explored putting touch into a Mac but rejected that idea "many, many years ago," according to Ive. That was partly due to ergonomics. It doesn’t feel natural to reach out to touch a computer screen, Apple’s executives say. "That wasn’t the right place for that," Ive says. "It wasn’t particularly useful or an appropriate application of multitouch."At least some MacBook fans agree with Apple. T-Pain may be best known as a rapper, but he’s also a bit of a techie. He’s been a MacBook Pro user for over a decade, has built his own souped-up computers since he was young and likes to try out new devices. That includes touchscreen Windows 8 laptops like the Razer Blade. T-Pain considers the touchscreen on the notebook more of "a hindrance" than anything.

"If my screen is dusty, and I’m trying to wipe it off, I click so many things," he says. "It’s too much."When CNET asks if he wants to see a touchscreen MacBook, T-Pain says, laughing, "God no. No, no, no!"Add to ergonomics the fact that Apple’s MacOS isn’t a touch-friendly operating system, though the latest MacOS Sierra software works with the new Touch Bar. Apple has kept the software distinct from its iOS mobile software for the iPhone and iPad, though "Continuity" capabilities let the two OSes better interact, and they allow iOS features like Siri to now work on the Mac."What you’ve seen is tons of common technology shared beneath the two of them," Federighi says. "But where we differentiate is where it matters fundamentally to the user-interaction model and to that fundamental ergonomic."
Because of that — one OS uses fingers, the other a mouse and keyboard — Apple doesn’t have plans to merge its two operating systems."We did spend a great deal of time looking at this a number of years ago and came to the conclusion that to make the best personal computer, you can’t try to turn MacOS into an iPhone," Schiller says. "Conversely, you can’t turn iOS into a Mac…So each one is best at what they’re meant to be — and we take what makes sense to add from each, but without fundamentally changing them so they’re compromised."

Remember the black MacBook that was on sale from 2006-2008? It was the first Mac I’d ever considered buying. It made the company look like a rebel at a time when Apple was anything but. (It was during the height of the "Apple white" design phase — white iPods, white earbuds, white laptops, white iMacs — The Simpsons dedicated an episode to how conformist the Apple brand had become.)And it didn’t hurt that the black Mac was one of the very first to come with the awesome MagSafe magnetic charging cable that kept users from tripping on their wires and slamming their laptops into the ground.But that Mac was made of plastic. It wasn’t particularly thin or light, and it wasn’t the only game in town for people craving a black PC.Besides, by the time I could afford the black Mac, a far more attractive laptop had come along: the Dell XPS M1330. (I got a refurbished model for cheap.) Gaping at the slim design, LED-lit screen and integrated GeForce graphics, my friends and I agreed: With Apple, you paid too much for too little PC.Eight years later, I’m a different person, and Apple’s in a different place. The MacBook has the best battery life, build quality, touchpad and screens of practically any line of laptop, even if Apple stubbornly refuses to update the low-res panel in the MacBook Air. With the Retina MacBook Pro, Apple finally embraced the standard HDMI port for video output and placed USB ports on both sides of the machine. (I told myself I’d never buy a computer without that.)

I don’t game on my laptop anymore, so I don’t need Windows and all its bloat. I just want a premium machine that can handle dozens of browser tabs, plus some photo and video editing, without breaking a sweat. So last fall, I told myself I’d buy the next MacBook Pro.But a new Mac didn’t show up. Each traditional Apple release window came and went without a new computer. At the same time, Windows manufacturers didn’t stand still: Now, I can’t help but eye the Razer Blade Stealth, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga (with its gorgeous OLED screen), the HP Spectre, and the HP Spectre x360 in black and gold.Know what those laptops have in common, other than being relatively small? They’re black — which means they stand out in a world full of shiny silver MacBook Air clones.But not one of those black aluminum bodies holds a candle to the deep, jet-black finish of the new iPhone 7. Those Windows PCs are a dull, pale grey by comparison.
Nobody does aluminum like Apple. (Nobody says "aluminium" like Apple’s Jony Ive.) With the MacBook Pro, Apple showed the world how to make a strong, light, cost-effective unibody aluminum notebook enclosure that felt like a million bucks. Now, aluminum is everywhere — but Apple kept refining its metallurgic talents until it could produce the glossy, sports-car like finish of the new iPhone.

And I refuse to believe the iPhone is the only place Apple will use that finish. Sure, it scratches, but that jet black finish is like nothing else out there.Rumor has it that in 2011, Steve Jobs himself killed a plan to produce black aluminum MacBooks — but only because Apple’s powder-coating technique wasn’t up to par. Five years later, that’s clearly not a problem anymore. We have the technology.The company announced the latest version of Windows 10, called Creators Update, and a Surface Book hardware update. Microsoft also unveiled an all-in-one desktop PC, dubbed the Surface Studio, that includes the Dial input accessory.If you missed out on the live stream, here’s everything you need to know:

Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group, announced the new Windows 10 "Creators Update" that includes 4K game streaming and augmented-reality features. It will be free for all users in the second quarter of 2017.
The new Surface Book i7 laptop has a Core i7 processor, a redesigned thermal system with a second fan and 30 percent more battery life for 16 total hours. Preorders are available now, and it’ll ship in November for $2,399.

Microsoft Surface Studio is a brand new $2,999 all-in-one desktop PC with a 20-degree folding hinge, forged aluminum chassis, a 28-inch, 1.3mm thick touchscreen LCD Gorilla Glass display, an Intel Core i7 quad-core processor, 2.1 surround-sound speakers, a 2TB HD and Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M graphics.
Surface Studio also features the new Surface Dial input accessory (sold separately) with haptic feedback, shown above. Priced at $99.99 and available on November 10, the dial can scroll, adjust volume, manipulate drawing tools, access shortcuts and manipulate 3D creations.

Promoting "3D for everyone," Windows 10 Creator Update enables users to capture images using any device and manipulate it in the new Paint 3D software. is a new online community for people to share and discover other users’ original 3D creations, including objects made for Minecraft. In fact, you can now export creations directly from the game and also 3D-print them from the site.
In a mixed-reality demo, Taj Reid of the Experience Design team showed how to use the Microsoft Edge browser and a Hololens headset to bring 3D to life. HoloTour on Windows 10 makes 360-degree virtual vacations fully interactive.
HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus, and Acer will all be shipping virtual reality headsets with six "degrees of freedom" sensors. And unlike the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, prices will start at $299.
The Creators Update features a new game broadcasting service called Beam that has social features and an interactive chat to let spectators suggest the next move.
The fight is on between Opera Software and Microsoft, each of which claims that its browser is the best at extending battery life for laptops.

In a blog post Wednesday, Opera fired back at Microsoft for a blog item posted Monday that claimed Microsoft’s Edge browser delivers 36 percent to 53 percent more battery life to users of its Windows 10 operating system over competing browsers Chrome, Firefox or Opera."Like most other engineering teams, we love it when someone picks a fight," the company said in its post announcing the test results.Opera’s testing showed that its browser with native ad blocker and power saver enabled was able to get 22 percent more battery life out of a laptop running Windows 10 than using the Microsoft Edge browser. And it was able to run the laptop 35 percent longer than when using the latest version of Google Chrome.Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Opera admitted in its post that its test is not a direct apples-to-apples comparison to the test Microsoft ran, since Microsoft did not publish its testing methodology. By contrast, Opera described its methodology for testing.These power-saving efforts are important for laptop users, since they could mean several more hours of browsing before a laptop needs to be charged. Opera introduced an experimental version of its power-saving browser in May. At the time, the company claimed that the dedicated power-saving mode could extend the life of a laptop by up to 50 percent compared with other browsers like Google Chrome.


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