Microsoft’s New York City event to launch Windows 10 S and the Surface Laptop appears to have confused many people. The larger theme of the event was “education,” but this is a broad topic. Judging by many of the reactions, Microsoft didn’t do a good job of distinguishing the Surface Laptop from its offerings and ambitions for K-12 education. When introduced, the Laptop was still given an education spin, but in a very different context: college-students, rather than middle and high schoolers.
Both of these are important, but they’re important in different ways, and the challenges Microsoft faces are very different. While Surface Laptop is the most eye-catching of the company’s announcements, it is, like the other Surface hardware, intended as more of a high-end halo product rather than a mass-market device. Surface Laptop was arguably the least important part of what Microsoft presented. Windows 10 S, and the range of education-oriented systems starting at $189, are a far bigger deal.