avatarby John CallahamDecember 12, 20160 comments

Surface Pro 4 review

Microsoft’s lineup of Surface tablets, notebooks and the recently-launched Surface Studio all-in-one PC have apparently been highly successful this year.  The company claims today that November was actually Microsoft’s “best month ever” for sales of its Surface devices to consumers. As usual with the company, it declined to offer specific unit sales; however, we do know that sales of the Surface Studio have been good enough that new shipments of the AIO have been delayed until early 2017 from the Microsoft Store.

Microsoft even took a shot at Apple during its sales update, stating that its trade-in program for people to turn in their old MacBooks for a new Surface product “was our best ever” during November. Again, Microsoft declined to offer specifics, but it seems like it is pleased that many people who may be frustrated with Apple’s notebook strategy are turning them over to check out Microsoft’s hardware products.

Microsoft also said that the recently released Surface Book with Performance Base notebook is now available for sale in Australia and New Zealand for the first time, following its launch in the US and Canada in November. This version of the notebook has a more powerful Intel Core i7 processor compared to its 2015 version, along with a larger battery that is supposed to last up to 16 hours. In early 2017, sales of the notebook will expand to Austria, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Switzerland and the UK.

The company also offered an update on the Surface Hub, its massive 55-inch and 84-inch touchscreen PC made for businesses and organizations. It launched earlier in 2016 and today Microsoft said sales have exceeded its expectations. It stated that it is ramping up production on the big whiteboard PC  and adding more third-party resellers to try to meet the demand.

Microsoft said that it has shipped units of the big screen PC to 2,000 customers worldwide so far, with an average of 50 units to each customer. However, it added that one unnamed car maker bought a whopping 1,500 units, so it’s hard to tell exactly how many Surface Hubs have sold. In order to give potential buyers a chance to check the device out, Microsoft will launch a “try before you buy” program that will allow some customers to demo one of these big, and expensive, PCs for 30 days before making their decision to buy one or more of them.

Finally, the company announced some new overall improvements for the Surface Hub itself. They include inking support for Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps, the ability to draw and touch on the display at the same time, a way to save whiteboards to Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage service and pre-loading the company’s PowerBI, OneDrive, and Photo apps on each device. Microsoft added that many more third-party camera and audio devices can now work with the big-screen PC.

It sounds like Microsoft is very proud indeed of how its Surface devices have been embraced by both consumers and businesses. We suspect that 2017 could be an even bigger year for the brand, as the company is highly expected to launch all-new versions of its Surface Pro and Surface Book devices next year. The company might even launch a cheaper Surface product that will use a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip in 2017 as well.