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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

June 19, 2014 at 5:09 PM

Microsoft prepares for Surface Pro 3 launch

As Microsoft prepares for the launch Friday of (some of) its Surface Pro 3 models Friday, it’s issuing a firmware update and getting the word out about launch-day activities in its retail stores.

Surface Pro 3 with Type Cover and stylus pen  (photo from Microsoft)

Surface Pro 3 with Type Cover and stylus pen (photo from Microsoft)

Microsoft is positioning the Surface Pro 3, which is bigger, thinner and lighter than its predecessor, as a full-fledged laptop replacement that also happens to be a tablet.

Microsoft says it will have some Surface Pro 3 tablets available for purchase Friday, although the company did not specify which models or how many are available. The company said in a statement, “Customers can still purchase Surface Pro 3 in-person and online at a Surface retail partner on June 20 as inventory allows.”

Microsoft had opened up pre-orders for the Surface Pro 3 when it announced the new tablet in late May. Those who pre-ordered the 128GB Intel Core i5 version ($999), and received an email saying the tablets will be shipped by June 20, should receive them by Friday, the company said.

Those placing new pre-orders of the 128GB Intel Core i5 machine, as well as the 256GB Intel Core i5 ($1,299) online at MicrosoftStore.com, will have their tablets shipped by June 30, according to the store’s listing.

The basic 64GB Intel Core i3 model ($799), as well as the 256GB Intel Core i7 ($1,549) and 512GB Intel Core i7 ($1,949), will ship by Aug. 31.

[Update June 20: Microsoft announced that the Intel Core i3 and i7 versions of Surface Pro 3 will be available for purchase on Aug. 1 in the U.S. and Canada. As well, the docking station for Surface Pro 3 will become available Aug. 15 in those two countries, with pre-orders being taken now.]

The Surface Pro 3 comes with the Surface Pen — a stylus that also can open OneNote with a click of the pen. But it does not come with the Type Cover — the thin keyboard cover that attaches magnetically to the tablet. The cover costs $129.99.

The Type Cover for Surface Pro 3 can fold up slightly at one end and attach magnetically to the tablet, resulting in a stronger connection between the keyboard and screen. The tablet's kickstand can be bent back to 150 degrees. (Photo from Microsoft)

The Type Cover for Surface Pro 3 can fold up slightly at one end and attach magnetically to the tablet, resulting in a stronger connection between the keyboard and screen. The tablet’s kickstand can be bent back to 150 degrees. (Photo from Microsoft)

On launch day Friday, Microsoft is hosting morning activities at its retail stores (including those in University Village and Bellevue Square). Those who pre-ordered their tablets in the store can pick them up. There will also be food, music, giveaways and the chance to win prizes, including a vacation to Hawaii for four.

All of Microsoft’s retail stores are hosting what the company calls “Surface Summer Celebration” summer-themed activities and giveaways on June 28. Ten of the stores — including the one in Bellevue Square — will host, from 1 to 4 p.m., additional activities, including games, food and the chance to meet local sports celebrities.

In addition, today, Microsoft issued a firmware update for the Surface Pro 3, intended to address the problem of a small number of machines that were having trouble booting up if their batteries died, and to help it run more smoothly overall.

Surface Pro 3 users will see the available update when they set up their machines for the first time. Or, to manually update, according to Microsoft:

  • Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings. (If you’re using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Settings.)
  • Step 2: Tap or click Change PC settings, tap or click Update and recovery, and then tap or click Windows Update.
  • Step 3: Tap or click Check now.
  • Step 4: If there are updates available, tap or click View details.
  • Step 5: Tap or click to select the updates you want to install, and then tap or click Install.
  • Step 6: Restart Surface twice after the updates have been installed; the entire update process should take 10-15 minutes.

Earlier this month, Microsoft also issued an update for the Surface Pen — the stylus that comes with the Surface Pro 3. The update enables the “double click” features that lets users capture and save screen grabs with the pen. To enable the feature, customers must install the June 10 Windows Update, as well as OneNote updates (by launching the Windows Store app, selecting the Settings charm, then selecting App updates and “check for updates.”)

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