How Microsoft Kept the Surface Book's Coolest Feature a Secret

Illustration for article titled How Microsoft Kept the Surface Book's Coolest Feature a Secret

The jaw-dropping new Surface Book arrived with a splash of glitter and surprise. It’s so beautiful, so powerful, so— Oh wait holy shit the screen comes off?! Nobody expected this, and that’s exactly how Microsoft wanted it.

The Surface Book’s coolest feature was also its best kept secret. As Wired’s David Pierce explains in a lovely behind-the-scenes look at the development process, the Microsoft engineers working on the project were under strict orders to keep the detaching screen trick shrouded in mystery. How they did it was relatively straightforward.

“No matter what demo I do,” Panay told his team, “no matter what retail meeting I’m in, no one gets to see it with the top off.” They disabled the function, and even took the key off the keyboard. No one outside of Microsoft employees and the occasional privileged family member saw that the Book’s screen could detach until about a month before launch.

Advertisement

They told no one about it. No one!

It’s hard to keep a secret in the age of the internet. Even Apple, the archetype of a secretive shop, has dealt with big leaks. Surface Book is one of the company’s biggest ideas in years—an nobody had any idea it was coming.

[Wired]

Illustration for article titled How Microsoft Kept the Surface Book's Coolest Feature a Secret
Advertisement

Photos by Michael Hession


Contact the author at adam@gizmodo.com.
Public PGP key
PGP fingerprint: 91CF B387 7B38 148C DDD6 38D2 6CBC 1E46 1DBF 22A8

Advertisement

Share This Story

Get our `newsletter`

DISCUSSION

falconflyer1
falconflyer1

From the reviews I’ve read it’s also its worst feature, impacting balance and usability. Microsoft has done a fantastic job engineering things, but it’s top-heavy and the hinge mechanism makes it difficult to use on your lap. So it’s a great laptop that sits on a desk, a mediocre laptop that sits on your lap, or a iffy tablet with poor battery life when you detach the screen.

Edit: Don’t get me wrong; that’s the nature of two in ones and what Microsoft has done is truly impressive. If that’s what you want, a great laptop that doubles as an okay tablet, this is perfect, if a little high priced, and the engineering is amazing.