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Microsoft announces Windows 10 S, Surface Laptop

Microsoft announces Windows 10 S, Surface Laptop

Microsoft has officially announced Windows 10 S, a cut-down operating system locked to the Windows Store, and a high-end Surface Laptop to run it.

Microsoft has officially announced Windows 10 S, the rumoured new entry-level member of the Windows 10 family, along with a more traditional laptop device for its burgeoning Surface family.

Announced at a press event late last night, Windows 10 S is effectively the core of the Windows 10 Cloud Edition rumoured back in February. Where the Cloud Edition was a general-purpose operating system built around regular internet connectivity a la Google's rival ChromeOS and Chromebook devices, though, Windows 10 S has a different focus: education. As a result, it's little surprise to find that Microsoft has locked the device down considerably: Windows 10 S will, just like the Cloud Edition, be entirely unable to install any applications which do not come through the Windows Store - including legacy Win32 applications.

For those who have purchased a Windows 10 S device and who find this restriction a problem, the company has promised an upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for £49 - or free, if you purchase a Windows 10 S gadget between launch and the end of the year. As you'd expect from a cut-down operating system aimed at education, pricing is low: There's no word on how much Microsoft's original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers are paying to licence the software, but it will be available on laptops starting at £299 and upwards - competing directly with ChromeOS Chromebooks, with the advantage of improved offline capabilities and a relatively cheap upgrade path to Windows 10 proper.

The company's initial own-brand Windows 10 S device, however, is priced considerably higher. The first Surface entry which is not a convertible two-in-one tablet-cum-laptop, the imaginatively named Surface Laptop is - entirely unsurprisingly - a plain old laptop designed to compete, the company claims, with Apple's MacBook Pro. Built around a 13.5" PixelSense touch-sensitive display protected by Corning's Gorilla Glass 3, the device comes equipped with an Intel Kaby Lake Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD in its basic configuration with multiple price points available to the top-end Core i7, 16GB, and 512GB model. All models will, the company claims, feature up to 14.5 hours of battery life - 'up to four more hours of battery power than a 13" MacBook Pro,' the company's press material is quick to point out - and include a keyboard covered in suede-like Alcantara for reasons that clearly make sense to Microsoft.

Oddly for a laptop which comes in just shy of £1,000 in its basic configuration, Microsoft is launching the Surface Laptop with the cut-down Windows Store-locked Windows 10 S. As with the cheaper Windows 10 S devices promised from OEM partners, the Surface Pro laptop will not be able to run any legacy applications unless upgraded to Windows 10 Pro - free through to the end of the year, £49 thereafter. As with Microsoft's other Surface devices, each Surface Laptop comes with a one-year subscription to Office 365 when purchased before the middle of October this year.

Microsoft's pricing for the Surface Laptop, available only in 'platinum' finish despite the promise of multiple colours, is as follows: the Core i5, 4GB, and 128GB storage model is £979; the Core i5, 8GB, 256GB storage model is £1,249; the Core i7, 8GB, 256GB storage model is £1,549; the Core i7, 16GB, 512GB model is £2,149. All models come with Windows 10 S pre-installed.

More information on the new Surface Laptop is available on the official product page.

10 Comments

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Icy EyeG 3rd May 2017, 10:58 Quote
If Windows 10S proves successful, I wouldn't be suprised if they discontinued Windows 10 Home all together, finally completing the lock down Microsoft has always intended with "Windows as service", with a paying option to open it up.

I just hope x86 Windows 10S machines aren't locked at bootloader level.
jrs77 3rd May 2017, 11:01 Quote
Quote:
For those who have purchased a Windows 10 S device and who find this restriction a problem, the company has promised an upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for £49 - or free, if you purchase a Windows 10 S gadget between launch and the end of the year.

As you're not stuck to the Cloud-version and/or the app-store the device isn't that bad actually, but at the given pricepoint you can aswell just buy a MBP 13", as I think it's the better package.

And the notion to have a Windows 10 S version for schools and all that, well... try Linux would be my suggestion. Linux is more flexible, safer if configures right, not restricted to the app-store and doesn't cost a dime. All the needed software for education like an office-suite is also available for free. You can easily create a streamlined ISO to quickly re-install a fresh system with all the software-packages needed to make administration even easier.

Anyways, this is a move to counter the Chromebooks, which are equally restricted and jampacked with tracking-tools and in that regard this may be of some interest for people in the education-system with no further knowledge about computer-technology.
IanW 4th May 2017, 08:22 Quote
Why is W10 Home not upgradable to W10 Pro for a discounted price like this?
jrs77 4th May 2017, 09:31 Quote
Because reasons :p

But serious, it has most likely something to do with the hardware subsidizing the OS. You have just spent atleast $1000 on the SurfaceBook afterall.
Gareth Halfacree 4th May 2017, 10:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
But serious, it has most likely something to do with the hardware subsidizing the OS. You have just spent atleast $1000 on the SurfaceBook afterall.

Except that, as is stated in the article, OEMs are launching Windows 10 S devices - including plain-ol'-laptops and two-in-ones - starting at £299, and they're also upgradeable to Windows 10 Pro. Much more likely explanation: let people buy cheap devices that would have been running Windows 10 Home but with Windows 10 S that they can upgrade to Pro for free until the end of the year, then point to massive sales of said Windows 10 S devices as 'proof' of Windows 10 S' popularity (when, in point of fact, it's actually because it's a cheap way to get a Windows 10 Pro device.)
jrs77 4th May 2017, 10:16 Quote
That would be rather sneaky. Good point.

In the long run I think Microsoft wants to kill the Home-Version anyways and make Windows more dependant on cloud-services and the app-store.
Just another reason to look for alternatives in the *nix-world.
Icy EyeG 5th May 2017, 14:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by IanW
Why is W10 Home not upgradable to W10 Pro for a discounted price like this?

Because it's going to be discontinued, that's my assumption.

That's also why they don't offer a 10S to 10 Home upgrade either.
Mr_Mistoffelees 7th May 2017, 10:16 Quote
Everywhere I look I see the same paranoia...

How dare Microsoft launch a cut-down, easy to administer, secure and quick OS for educational establishments.
Icy EyeG 7th May 2017, 11:08 Quote
I do think Windows 10S could be a great thing to have in most bare-bones sold, as long as:

- It's completely free of charge (not counting subscriptions and whatever more), and so no more Windows tax

- the bootloader is unlocked (or can be unlocked easily) and wiping Windows 10S doesn't void the warranty.
Anfield 7th May 2017, 11:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
And the notion to have a Windows 10 S version for schools and all that, well... try Linux would be my suggestion.

Chicken and egg problem.

Kids must learn how to use Windows as that is what they will most likely face at work, work can't move away from Windows as that is what potential employees know.
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