Amazingly, Microsoft managed to keep one of the key, differentiating features of its first laptop, the Surface Book, from being leaked.
No one knew that the Surface Book could detach from its keyboard until about a month before it was announced, according to Wired.
In fact, the Surface Book itself had been under development for two and half years until even Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella and other Microsoft senior leadership even knew about it at all.
Vice-president of Microsoft products, Panos Panay, went through great lengths to keep that a secret. He even went as far as removing the button that lets you detach the Surface Book from its keyboard so that the keyboard couldn’t detach when he showed it to partners and retailers.
As far as anyone outside of Microsoft knew, the Surface Book was essentially just another, albeit great, laptop with a funky hinge. It wasn’t really the Surface Book.
But Panay wanted people to think that it was just a laptop that was “worth every penny as a laptop.” And when he finally showed people the keyboard detaching from the Surface Book a month before the announcement, those people would see a laptop that satisfied expectations and “so much more.”
It was also the same tactic Panay used when he introduced the Surface Book to the public a few weeks ago. After going through all the specs and features of the Surface Book in laptop mode, Panay surprised the audience by detaching the screen and using it as a tablet. Pretty cool.
Indeed, it could have been very different if the Surface Book’s detaching keyboard was revealed much earlier in its development process. Had people known all along, it could have come off as a gimmick, or people would have gotten used to the idea.
Instead, the Surface Book and its detachable keyboard was met with positive reviews, and it may very well set the standard for how laptops are made going forward.
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