Microsoft launches 12" Surface Pro 3 with Intel Core CPUs

|By:, SA News Editor

Microsoft's (MSFT -0.3%) 3rd-gen Surface Pro tablet (live blog) has a display that's 1.4" larger than its predecessor, and also features a more business-friendly 3:2 aspect ratio (was 16:9 previously). The display's resolution has been upgraded to 2160x1440 from 1920x1080.

In spite of the larger screen, the Pro 3's weight (~800g) is lower than the Pro 2's (~900g). Its most powerful model runs on an Intel (INTC -0.1%) Core i7 CPU (high-end), and revamped Type Cover accessories sport a bigger/improved trackpad. At 9.1mm thick, Microsoft declares the Pro 3 the "thinnest [Intel] Core product ever created.

Adobe (ADBE -0.3%) VP Michael Gough has used the event to show off an upcoming touch-optimized version of Photoshop designed to be manipulated with the Pro 3's stylus.

The Pro 3 starts at $799, albeit for an Intel Core i3 version; the Pro 2 (64GB model) was priced at $899 at launch time. Citing its form factor and display size, The Verge declares the Pro 3 is "designed to destroy the laptop."

Though no iPad-killer, the Surface Pro has carved out a niche among business users and enthusiasts - the ARM-based Surface RT has had a rougher time. IDC estimates Windows devices had just a 3.4% tablet share in 2013, but also thinks they'll eventually grab over a quarter of the commercial segment, aided by growing convertible demand.

Update: Microsoft says Core i5 Pro 3 models will be available on June 20. Other configurations will arrive in August.