Microsoft refreshed and expanded its Surface device family on Tuesday, revealing a new Surface Pro 6, a new Surface Laptop 2, a Surface Studio 2, and even headphones. Panos Panay, chief product officer at Microsoft, introduced the updated Surfaces at an event in New York City. The unifying themes: Helping you focus. And black. All black. 

The event kicked off with Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of modern life and devices, who made an obvious assertion: We’re all pretty busy. Mehdi defined three dynamics that shape Microsoft’s strategy: Life and work are blurring; there is a constant battle for attention with digital devices; and people want to pursue their passions. “We see these opportunities and we get excited about what we can do,” Mehdi said. 

It starts with Surface, Mehdi said, but Microsoft also wants you to be able to interact with content anywhere, on any device, even if it’s iOS or Android. Then there’s peace of mind: Can someone be present at the dinner table? Finally, Microsoft wants to help you unlock your creativity, Mehdi said.

Panos Panay reemphasized the mission when he came onstage after Mehdi to introduce the new Surface products. The theme for this generation of devices is “focus,” Panay said. “For people to get into their flow, technology has to fade into the background.”

Why this matters: Ever since Microsoft announced the press conference in early September, questions have hung in the air. A year after launching the first Surface Studio and Surface Laptop, how significantly would the company overhaul the second-generation design? Likewise, how dramatically would it revamp the Surface Pro? The answer to all of these: just enough to keep up with the times. 

An updated Surface Laptop 2

Remember what made the original Surface Laptop so special: light weight, an optimized design, and killer battery life. (The tradeoff? Windows 10 in S Mode, though you could switch to Windows 10 Pro, too.) That’s the same premise of the latest iteration of the Surface Laptop, now with improved components.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 Mark Hachman / IDG

Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 2, now in all black.

It is incredibly quiet, Panay said, and it has a signature keyboard, with 1.5mm of key travel. Other features include Instant on and Windows Hello. The display has 3.4 million pixels, with a best-in-class contrast ratio, and the thinnest LCD on a laptop. Naturally, it has a quad-core, 8th-gen Core CPU that’s 85 percent faster than the original Surface laptop’s. And yes, it ships in black. It’s still about 2.76 pounds.

(The original Surface Laptop offered a choice of 7th-generation Core i5 and Core i7 processor, with 4GB to 16GB of RAM and 128GB to 512GB of storage. The original Surface Laptop included a 2256×1504 display with touch, a capability that Macs lacked.) Microsoft quickly listed the specs of the Surface Laptop 2, and they’re apparently similar, with up to 16GB of memory and up to 1TB of storage.





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