The new Surface Pro


I’ve been waiting for months for the Surface pro 5 to come out. It turns out that there is no Surface Pro 5 but there is a new Surface Pro. It doesn’t look much more than an update but Panos Panay does a great job of presenting it in the best possible light. Interesting to see the techniques he uses to do that:

He starts by speaking of the evolution of the development of China (the country where he is making his announcement). He does it in a personal and pictorial way:

Here is a picture I took 11 years ago. Here is the picture I took from the same place yesterday. I used to come back from China and tell my son…

He is telling a story with two pictures. It’s a good way to introduce a subject. Much better than talking about technical specifications. He puts it in a human context. He engages with pictures. It’s a good start.

Like China surface pro is not a picture. It’s not a moment in time. Is a journey, it’s a motion picture. It is a continued evolution. You have to watch the whole story to understand it’s beauty. This moment, here today in China… This brings us to the next step in that journey right now. I would love to introduce to you the new surface pro.

Great words to introduce the product. “Journey…motion picture…evolution…story…beauty”. Then ground it in the here and now: “this moment here today in China”.

“Today I stand here and our journeys come together in this room”

“800 new custom parts that come to life.”

He is having to work hard but he’s doing a great job.

When talking about the screen he says

The picture is true and real, which is so important when you want to get work done, when you want to create.

Again, great adjectives. Also, he links features to what people want to do and through that creates a desire for the product.

So, good intro, and the screen apparently is “true and real” (ie slightly improved:-). But how do you talk about a new hinge in a way that is engaging? Answer: use a family photo.

Let’s change tune. These are my daughters. They are absolutely beautiful. Now I didn’t just put up pictures of my daughters so you could see them, although they are super-cute. And actually this isn’t about the screen that they are watching, although they like the new screen. It’s about the kick stand. It’s about how versatile the product can be. While my daughters use it to watch movies, way too much, people use it in so many different ways. The newly designed hinge on this product is absolutely incredible. There are over 20 custom parts in just that little hinge right there.

See how he talks about something as dull as a new hinge in the context of a dad’s delight in his daughters?

Trouble is at this point, even though I’d love a new Surface Pro and even though he is doing a great job of putting the refresh in a good light, it’s not enough to keep me engaged. There is nothing being teased. No mystery, revolution or innovation that is hinted at to keep me watching to the end. By this point I get the picture. It’s a bit better. The price is the same but the pen and the type cover are now extra. So it’s a bit better and you pay more for it. That sums it up quite well. Reminds me of the Pepsi advert from The Invention of Lying. A man in a suit stands next to a table with a can of Coke on it:

I’m here today to ask you to continue buying Coke. If you’ve been drinking it for years and you still enjoy it I’d like to remind you to buy it again some time. Its basically just brown sugar water. We haven’t changed the ingredients much lately so there is nothing I can tell you about that. Changed the can around a little bit though. You can see the colours are different there, and we’ve added a polar bear so the kids like us.

He then says how it can lead to obesity. Then finishes with this:

I’m bob. I work for Coke and I’m asking you to not stop buying coke. That’s all.

He takes a sip and mutters:

a bit sweet

I think there is an add somewhere in the film that reads:

Pepsi: When they don’t have Coke

Interestingly one viewer, after watching the plain speaking Coke advert commented:

strangely? that made me want a coke.

The unusual nature of honesty and plane speaking sometimes wins the day.

I may still get the new Pro at some stage. It’s slightly faster, has a slightly more colourful screen, slightly more movement in the kickstand, slightly smoother edges, and a slightly lighter weight. It is better than the Pro 4, just not by enough to get too excited about. I guess two key things are the lack of fan in the i5 version and the significantly longer, but yet to be verified, battery life.


Update 8th June : Ok, it growing on me. “Instant on” is another plus.


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