- Microsoft launched new, powerful Surface computers and a simple but powerful 3D art studio.
- The company unveiled a HoloLens demo and a comprehensive vision across hardware and software to bring 3D to everyone.
- A new business model is taking shape for Microsoft, and MSFT stock could be headed higher.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) recently unveiled a wave of product updates and initiatives. It appears that the Redmond giant is pushing towards high-end systems on desktop, cloud, and Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR and AR) devices. The old business model (basically licensing Windows and Office) is obsolete, and the new business model is taking shape, which could drive Microsoft stock higher in the days to come.
An impressive 90 seconds video with highlights from a Microsoft event in New York is available on the Microsoft website. Among the highlights, are the new Surface PCs that seem definitely aimed at professional users, and Microsoft's "holographic computer" HoloLens. According to a Microsoft press release, the company unveiled a broad vision to empower a new wave of creativity, with a major update coming to Windows 10 devices, and the introduction of Surface Studio, Surface Dial and a more powerful Surface Book.
"Surface Studio is a new class of device that transforms from a workstation into a powerful digital canvas," claims Microsoft. "Surface Studio delivers 63 percent more pixels than a state-of-the-art 4K TV. Surface Studio works beautifully with pen, touch and Surface Dial - a new input device designed for the creative process that lets you use two hands on the screen to compose and create in all new ways."
The new Surface PCs feature a 28-inch PixelSense Display with 13.5 million pixels, and 6th Generation Intel Core processors accelerated by NVIDIA GeForce Graphical Processing Units (GPU), able to deliver the real-time immersive graphics performance required to run professional applications. Microsoft has also added three new models to the previous family of Surface Book PCs, "making the most powerful laptop in its class even better."
Surface Studio, which is available for pre-order in the U.S. through Microsoft and BestBuy and will begin shipping in limited quantities this holiday with broader availability in early 2017, starts at $2,999. The price is much higher than what average consumers expect to pay for a Windows PC, and places the new Microfoft PCs firmly in the category of professional computers and semi-professional devices.
Microsoft also unveiled Windows 10 Creators Update, which embodies the company's "comprehensive vision across hardware and software to bring 3-D to everyone." The new Paint 3D transforms the popular Microsoft Paint into a simple but powerful 3D art studio that, the company hopes, will empower all sorts of users to create 3D scenes. This is linked to Microsoft's expectations that "mixed reality" - VR and especially AR - will be the next big things in computing. To demonstrate the power of mixed reality, Microsoft showed a proof of concept running on the Microsoft Edge browser on HoloLens for a home design application, which enables users to preview products in their own home before they buy.
In March, Amigobulls covered the launch of the HoloLens Development Edition. The HoloLens, a stand-alone computer embedded in an AR headset, brings high-definition holograms to life, seamlessly integrating with the physical world in mixed reality. The device, which resembles a pair of ski goggles, was chosen by Time Magazine as the number one tech gadget of 2015. "Wear the HoloLens, and holographic images will suddenly appear around your physical environment," notes Time's review.
"The Creators Update will be the most powerful and affordable way to experience mixed reality," claims the Microsoft press release. "Microsoft announced that HP, Lenovo, Dell, Acer and ASUS will ship the first VR headsets capable of mixed reality through the Creators Update. Coming in 2017, these accessories will contain built-in sensors to enable inside-out, six-degrees of freedom for simplified setup and to more easily move around your home as you experience virtual worlds."
The Verge notes that Microsoft sees its future in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and AR. In fact, AI plays a role in Microsoft's push toward cloud computing, and HoloLens is likely to become more and more integrated with Windows itself and the Surface PC. "Every walk of life, and every part of human activity, will be transformed by augmented reality," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, speaking at a Wall Street Journal D Live conference.
In an article titled "Wall Street Reacts As Microsoft Shares Reach All-Time High," The Wall Street Journal notes that the company has seemingly reinvented itself. Microsoft's bet on cloud computing is paying off, as shown by the recently released results. The company's revenue from its Azure business services unit doubled, driving overall profit up, to $4.69 billion, on revenue of $20.45 billion.
It seems likely that Microsoft's recent broad wave of innovation will contribute to this trend, and investors should continue to consider Microsoft as a buy-and-hold tech stock. Looking for great tech stocks? Check out Amigobulls' top technology stock picks, which have outperformed the NASDAQ by over 110%.