Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet hasn’t exactly been the rousing success Microsoft had hoped for. With estimated sales numbers quite a bit lower that Microsoft’s projections, and the poor reception of Windows RT, Microsoft is counting on the new Surface Pro, which is powered by a Core i5 CPU and runs full Windows 8, to reverse the Surface brand’s fortunes.
Microsoft launched the Surface Pro this past Saturday, February 9 (yes, an unusual day to launch a piece of tech hardware), and we were on hand at the Canadian Microsoft Store in Toronto (the only one outside the U.S., for now) to witness the launch. You can check out our video of the launch below, in which we interview a number of people in line, and capture all the excitement of the second big tech launch of 2013 (the first being the Z10).
When we arrived at around 9 a.m., there were already around 60 people in two lines - one line for people who reserved their Pro earlier in the week, and one for those who didn’t. The first people there were two young men in the non-reserved line who had been there since 7 a.m. From speaking to them, as well as a few other people in line, it was clear that some of the negative coverage that the Surface Pro has been getting from some media did not deter them from lining up bright and early on a snowy Saturday morning. We also discovered that most people were there for the 128GB model, and we were told that the store probably wouldn’t have enough Pro’s for everyone in line.
When people were let into the store at 9:30 a.m., they were also being offered a choice of three accessory bundles to go with their Surface Pro. These bundles came with Microsoft’s ‘Surface Complete’ accidental damage extended warranty, Office 2013 or 365 Home & Student, their choice of a discounted Touch or Type cover, and a free screen protector and sleeve case. While these bundles were actually pretty good deals, individual accessories weren’t being sold at any discount with the tablets.
About an hour later we were told that, not only was the 128GB model completely sold out in-store, but that the online Microsoft store had also sold out. We quickly discovered that a number of other retailers, both in-store and online, had sold out of 128GB models as well. With around 60 people at the Microsoft Store, and an unknown number at other retailers, it’s not clear if the sell outs are being caused by demand, or simply a limited number of units being available to purchase (whether Microsoft created an artificial shortage is a question for another time), but either way it seems that the launch of the Surface Pro has been a success so far.
Stay tuned for our early hands-on video!