Microsoft has been preparing the launch of the Surface Pro for some time now, and up until now, it was not really clear when the device running Windows 8 Pro would be available. While Microsoft did make a statement that it would be about 3 months after the general availability of Windows 8, it was not really clear if that meant January or February 2013.
A new blog post on the official Microsoft blog by the General Manager of Microsoft Surface Panos Panay confirms a release date of Surface Windows 8 Pro - that is the official name by the way - on February 9, 2013 for North America.
North America? Yes, the launch has only been confirmed for the U.S and Canada and no other country or region. The device will be available online, through all Microsoft stores and at Staples and Best Buy which is a strong indicator that it will do better than the Surface RT released in October 2012 as it was only available through Microsoft directly.
The blog post reveals a couple of details that have been known already, like the availability of 64 Gigabyte models starting at $899 and 128 Gigabyte models starting at $999. Both devices include a pen but no keyboard which costs an extra $119 for a type cover or $129 for a touch cover.
A Surface Pen is included and makes for an amazing experience for writers, graphic designers or even engineers, and with Palm Block technology writing and drawing is fun for everyone on Surface Windows 8 Pro.
Microsoft is making available limited touch cover editions for the launch of the Surface Pro which I think will appeal more to a female audience judging by the colors red, magenta and cyan.
The covers will be available in all eight markets the Surface is currently sold in. Microsoft announced furthermore that it will launch special Surface editions of the Wedge Touch Mouse which will retail for $69.95 in all markets as well.
Last but not least, the company will make available a standalone 64 Gigabyte version of the Surface Windows RT without touch cover. This gives customers the option to purchase a type cover for the device instead, a different colored touch cover, or no cover at all.
Microsoft did not reveal if and when the Surface Windows 8 Pro will launch in other markets. This is one of the things that Microsoft does not get right with lots of its products. Take Bing for example. The English version of Bing is quite good and gets features regularly while localized versions of Bing do not get the features at all or only delayed.
As far as the Surface Pro goes: While I'd like to get my hands on one for testing purposes, I have made a decision not to buy one based on the reported battery life of the device (4-5 hours). If benchmarks show that the battery lasts longer, I may change my mind about that.