Microsoft unveils Windows 10 S for its Surface laptops

"It's easy to setup and manage and will have the same performance on the first day of school, as the last", Myerson said at a launch event in NY. But Microsoft's ambitions for Windows 10 S are clearly grander than that, as evidenced by the company's Windows chief Terry Myerson describing 10 S as "the soul of Windows".

Windows 10 S in a new variant of the Windows 10 operating system. The device should also wake and sleep instantly upon the lid being opened or closed.

Windows 10 S only allows apps from the Windows Store. Microsoft's corporate VP of devices Panos Panay says it's the thinnest touchscreen display on any laptop. The whole device is only 14.47mm (0.57in) at its thickest point, and weighs just 1.25kg (2.76lbs).

"A lot of students use MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros", Panay said on stage.

Microsoft's battery life comparisons for the Surface Laptop and Apple's MacBooks at the event in NY today. Panos Panay, the Microsoft executive in charge of its Surface products, was clear about the target audience: students who would otherwise buy Apple's MacBooks. As an incentive, Microsoft is making Windows 10 S available to schools already using Windows 10 Pro for free, with free Office 365 for education.

Microsoft had a lot to say at their event today in NY, so some stuff had to be cut and announced quietly online. The anodized metal case is available in four colors, platinum, burgundy, cobalt blue and graphite gold. The company announced this week its Q3 2017 earnings and one thing that stands out is the sharp decline in year-on-year revenue for Microsoft's Surface division. Microsoft has also shown the laptop being used with its Surface Dial controller, to scroll through pages in an Office document and to change the volume in Spotify, with the dial changing its function based on the app being used.

Microsoft on Tuesday announced a new push to get Windows 10 into more K-12 classrooms, along with a new Surface device targeted at college students.

Microsoft has partnered with a number of manufacturers such as Dell and Asus to produce affordable laptops that will run Windows 10 S very soon. In fact, you should be able to have your machine on and running within 15 seconds on Windows 10 S. Interestingly, the leaked slides suggested these would be both slower to boot and to log into than Chromebooks.

The software giant promises Windows 10 S will ship on laptops costing as little as $189 this summer, and come with a free subscription to Minecraft: Education Edition.

Supporting only Windows Store apps makes it much easier for schools to manage and secure devices, while providing everyone else a big incentive to continue paying for Windows 10 Pro licenses.

- A classroom version of Microsoft Teams will let students (supervised by their teacher) chat and work together online.

Microsoft Surface Book 2 could also outperform the highly praised Google Chromebooks.

  • Arturo Norris