PSA: Panos Panay is taking your questions on the Surface Pro 3 in a few hours

Surface Pro 3 Panos Panay

Surface boss Panos Panay is doing an AMA on Reddit in just a few hours. We thought we’d give you guys and gals a heads up so you can get your questions about the Surface Pro 3 in on time. AMA stands for ‘ask me anything’ and is a Q&A session on the large social site Reddit.

This isn’t the first time Panos has done an AMA. Last year he took to Reddit to answer questions about the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2. It was there he shared that an LTE version of the Surface 2 was in the works. AMAs are a great place to glean insight into the future of Surface, so you won’t want to miss this one.

We’ll post a link in here to the AMA when it goes live on Reddit. Look for it to start at 10am PST / 17:00 GMT (find your time zone). And as usual, we’ll pull all the juicy info out from the AMA when it wraps up. 

Now live! Head to Reddit to participate! We'll highlight the big items after the AMA is over. 


Reader comments

PSA: Panos Panay is taking your questions on the Surface Pro 3 in a few hours


How did you manage to get that offer? Microsoft Singapore has a student offer page which doesn't include surface pro 3 (only surface 2)

Somebody please ask why wont they make a rigid keyboard base so that they could shut up the press about lapability?

that's a workaround, not a solution. surface pro 3 is supposed to be "mobile first", and be able to access cloud on the road and in the field, not limited to some hotspots.

Good point - I don't get why they'd miss that lte out. But then most mobiles don't come with the capability to lte so I sort of can see it - still, this is a missed trick!!!!

While it's definitely a feature a certain subset of people want, the additional cost doesn't really make it worthwhile, at least at launch given the extra cost.

Think of it this way... what percentage of laptops have LTE?

If the SP3 sells well enough, I'm sure they'll consider it (and have already tested it).

Ask him if the i7 model will ever get the Broadwell chips, because of the delays. Also, could you ask why there is a long delay for all the models but the i5 model?

i'd assuming i5 will be the biggest chunk of sp3 being sold so ms used the production capability on i5 models first.

I guess the question is why would it NOT get them. because they buy in lots and once intel stops making hasswell, they will have no choice but to put broadwell. this is the same reason the SP2 went from the 4200U to the 4300U.

this is a supply chain issue. Panos is looking at skylake for surface 4. broadwell for all intents and purposes is nothing more than a slight improvement and a cpu swap is betheath this executive. Think future models, not present minor tweaks.

There is no right answer unfortunately because if MSFT doesn't sell that many (a safe assumption) then it may be awhile before they need to buy a new lot of chips. Maybe even as late as surface pro 4. Off course MSFT would never say if they are about to receive a shipment of broadwell chips in the fall just as they didn't say they were making 4300U surfaces back when they released the 4200U model in the fall. 

Assuming you're familiar with intel's tick-tock, I don't advise anybody wait for a process shrinkage change. Yes you may see a slight benefit but the big changes are always family changes and Skylake is quite a ways out. This is why I bouth SP2, because I assumed surface 3 was just going to be a gradual hasswel improvement with surface 4 being the Skylake revolutionary device. However, what I didn't know wast that surface pro 2 was just a stop gap measure. So you can see that even the best plans are subject to MSFT's whims.

Ultimately I can't think of why broadwell will bring any significant changes to surface pro 3. You may as well buy now, use it for a year, and check out if SP4 ships with skylake.

Is it true that you pay up to 4 time more than for a Surface RT and don't get Office (while you do on a Surface RT)?

you mean to say you pay 4 times more for a surface pro and you do not get free office for desktop. Yes, as a matter of fact, you can pay 5K for a laptop and still not get office for free.

You're paying for the hardware not the software. office is now less than 10 dollars per month for multiple devices so you may want to consider that instead of trying to get it bundled with hardware.

Yep that indeed is my question. Still find it strange that a free MS Office for desktop is bundled with the cheapest Surface. 

It's like buying a Bentley and have the steering wheel as an option.

If a Bentley could operate sans-steering wheel, then your comparison would rain true. However, unlike a steering wheel in a car, a tablet does not require office to function. Windows RT devices are bundled with Office Home & Student because those are the users unlikely to purchase office otherwise. A user buying a surface pro likely will own a copy of office already or plans on buying one. A user buying an RT device is buying a device for consumption. Office is included with a limited license, and is meant more or less for basics like typing up a report or a resume, turning the family budget into a spreadsheet, so on, so forth.

Furthermore, it's no different than the situation with Office for Windows Phone. RT devices are classified as portable devices, not home computers. As such, just as with Windows Phone, they come with a version of Office built in.

Office, in summary, is meant to entice students and other users to choose RT over iOS or Android. With computing devices such as the pro, however, it would be seen a an unfair advantage if it was included in just their device, and to give office free to ever Windows user and new PC owner would be to give office away for free entirely. It would be an awful strategy business wise.

It just doesn't feel right:

-) bought a phone --> Office for free

-) bought a Surface RT --> Office for free

-) would like to buy a Surface Pro 3 --> pay $$$ extra for Office

(mind you this device already is more exensive that the phone and RT tablet combined).


'RT devices are classified as portable devices'. The surface pro 3 is classified as the tablet that replaces yout laptop, so isn't that a mobiel device?...hopefully it is. 

Apple does give free iWork licenses with new hardware (mobile and desktop) so that the competition MS has to face.



first of all, iWork is no office, so let's say that aside. Anybody can give a sup par alternative to office for free. open office is free so that is the equivalent. Now let's talk about the world standard in office software, the office suite.

office for phones isn't the same thing as office for desktop. even office for mobile (which only exists on ipad thanks to bone headed MSFT) isn't free and it isn't even remotely as powreful as office for desktop. Full blown office RT may be more comparable but remember this is only a stop gap measture until gemini arrives. After which point chances are office RT will go the way of the dinosaur along with the RT OS. Since OEMs refused ARM tablets with windows, they had to let them bundle office for windows for free on small deivices.

Ultimately you have to realize that what you're paying is not for the office product, but for the ability to use it on a device which can be really productive. For example, you can argue a dell server costs upwards of 20K and you'd be right to assume it neither includes windows nor office. And why should it? Clearly it can host 100-200 VMs or more and just as many sessions of office all running at once. Therefore you need to stop thinking of office as a stand-alone piece of software and see it like msft does: a way to empower your device.

-low power office for ipad and phones is basically free or next to free.

-office for more productive devices like utrabooks and surfaces is economical, less than 10/mo but not free, as you can do more with these devices.

-office for enterprise is much more expensive per piece of hardware as the productivity increases even more.

You may not like this but remember the #1 cash cow of MSFT is office. #2 is SBT, and windows is a distant #3. They just can't give it away with everything while keeping half their company employed :)

Thing is, Apple is the only one who makes Macbooks and iPads.


Let me explain. If microsoft were to give away Office on every surface pro, how would OEMs react? Answer: cry foul. They'd argue with the courts that Microsoft is giving their products an unfair advantage over OEMs, by leveraging office and requiring users to purchase 365 on their [OEMs] PCs while giving Home & Student away for free on their [Microsoft's] devices. So let's say Microsoft settled and gave office away on every Windows device, big or small. What would happen to microsoft's cashflow from office? It would eventually plummet, because i assure you the large majority of Office users use Windows.


Giving office away on low end devices aimed at the low-income market, and on Mobile first devices where Office cannot be installed seperately, makes sense. Destroying their cashflow from the largest portion of their userbase for a specific product does not.


I would not be able to be online then, can someone Please ask for me about why surface isn't have a broader availability and why are they just not getting into developing markets like India and Brazil, the macbooks are reallobg growing in India, and as usual, Microsoft is planning to enter the market too late! I just don't get it!

Hmmm.what to ask him.... Who picks out your tight shirts? Is you're favorite daughter still sleeping in front of her tablet? Surface phone made by Nokia, when is the ship date? What's next for the stand on the Surface? How many fingers am I holding up? Better cameras on the Surface, when can we expect that? Will there be a Surface pocket mouse? What does the fox say?

I think he already answered that. He clearly said MSFT is not out to compete with OEMs. that would be basically a laptop competitor which MSFT doesn't want to make. If they did, we would have seen the surface book and surface book pro.

Hmm I don't buy it. The thing is a laptop competitor and whether they think this is in competition with oems or not: The fact of it's existence by it's very nature is an attack upon OEMs. The fact that it is better than what many OEMs produce makes it even more of a kick.

MS should just man up and own the house it's built - this device is going to have OEMs worried - they have to be wondering how they can make their laptops thin and light as a surface pro 3

Someone ask why they still refuse to add the keyboard in with the surface 3 packaging. You cant have an event that focuses on replacing your laptop but have the essential - screen and keyboard - as separate pieces you have to buy especially when they keyboard is so crucial for productivity. Including the keyboard with purchase of SP3 alone would have an edge over Ipad and make more since against ultrabooks or MacBook air

At the price points they're offering the device for, Microsoft should be able to include the type cover and still make a profit.

Can we have a surface that comes with a DEFAULT keyboard instead of buying separately? Like maybe a black colour keyboard?

I think that has more to do with N-Trig technology/driver issues, than system performance.

When the pen isn't touching the screen, I believe that the screen is actually polling, looking for the electromagnetic field the stylus outputs. Since there's no contact, my guess it's working harder to find the position, which is why it's behind a little, and has that 'moving through syrup' feel.

Once you make contact with the screen, it's fast, even on lower spec'ed machines like the 5 year old HP TX2, which has less than half the CPU as the current i5.

I had used N-Trig on the Tx2 device before and found that I got used to the minor lag pretty quick.

Yeah, I did. That doesn't change my answer, because it's still a known issue with N-Trig that hover mode has a known lag time...

Working on a comic strip, It feels like I’m dragging the cursor through syrup.  Strangely that lag doesn’t seem to be present when I’m actually drawing with the pen touching the surface.

As for dropping the resolution, he said the system was positively snappy, but wasn't specific about the cursor lag, though I wouldn't doubt that it improved. The only way to know for sure is to ask Gabe, or measure the lag differential at full and quarter resolution.

3 relevant questions:

1) Would a surface 3 with an intel chip fall under the "we don't want to compete directly with OEMs" manifesto made by your CEO last week?

2) just get it over with and say if LTE is coming for surface 3 or if mobile warrors need to look elsewhere. Stop the non denial denial.

3) why is there so much emphasis on portrait when windows 8 is uselss this way, most apps are not even supportive of portrait, and generally speaking, the device remains too heavy for it. So why move that button?

I don't understand the button position neither. Okay, the keyboard would cover up the button, but then you have one on the keyboard. I can see the current position being tricky when swiping to get the charm or even writing on the surface with my hand touching the right part of the bezel where the button is.

I prefer the new button position and use portrait mode for notetaking and news apps.  I also think we'll see more os & app support for portrait mode in the months ahead.

I won't make it neither, but would love to know if there is an upgrade program for people who bought the Surface Pro 2 this year. Also, why is there still no GPS and NFC in the Surface Pro 3?

Why would there be an upgrade program?  I was an early adopter, where was my upgrade program on the SP2?

I'd like to know if they considered putting a slot into the case near the corner that would allow a user to slide just the pen clip into it which would allow the pen to be carried properly with the device.

Also why was the windows icon/home button moved to the right hand side (in landscape), if it is because it will be covered by the new keyboard when it is connected to its angled mode then what does it matter as there is a Windows button on the keyboard? They've now created a problem when people are hitting it while drawing on the screen.

Apparently there is this option, but it disables all the buttons and even when it is disabled, you still get the haptic feedback as you touch it

If you've a used a previous surface device, you'd know that the home button works ONLY if you put your finger down and up directly on the button. It ignores swipes automatically!
I'm sure that technique is present in SP3 as well
How does it work?
Well it's smart I tell you that. The button only registers a touch at a very specific amount of pressure which is lesser than that of swipe. that level of pressure is only possible when directly touch the button from top.

That is the feedback from the artist at Penny Arcade who has been using the SP3 in its new canvas mode for his cartoons. I also think it looks strange and am wondering why they thought it should be moved because of a keyboard that already has a Windows button which can be used as an alternative.

Which is a horrible answer. That means you have to go out and by mini displayport monitors that support daisy chaining, instead of the dock giving you the ability to dual display using existing monitors.

Not everyone wants to go out and by monitors specifically for this purpose.

Heres the answer..

[–]orangeh 2 points3 points4 points 38 minutes ago

Does the Surface 3 dock have multiple video out connections? I have a surface pro 2 (I love it) but it REALLY sucks to have no option for dual external monitors without daisy chaining displayport (honestly cant find a reasonably priced monitor that does this)


[+]SurfaceTeam[S] 3 points4 points5 points 22 minutes ago (2 children)
[–]SurfaceTeam[S] 3 points4 points5 points 28 minutes ago

It has a miniDisplayPort and supports Multi-Stream Transport (MST) so you can drive multiple monitors.

This AMA has been very disappointing so far. They're steering clear of tough questions and basically not answering even the easy ones. An example:
"Q: What about increasing graphics power for gaming?
A: The SP3 has Intel-powered graphics."
How does this answer the question at all?

Think about it for a second...

The answers they give HAVE to be screened, the LAST thing they have/need/want to do is to reveal any portential upcoming products to thier competitors, you can bet your bottom dollar that Apple engineers are analysing every response by the team on every site.  Its commercial common sense, its crap for us as end users to not get answers but its also our fault for asking them to reveal information that would 'perhaps' put them at a disadvantage.

I agree. Why host an AMA if you aren't going to be open to answering the questions that were stated? It's like a political press conference. Hoping they will be able to address some of the actual questions later.

I mean you have to take into consideration the product hasn't even been launched yet.  So they avoid any negative press, it's just common sense for any product.