Microsoft Surface Music Kit proof of concept
Microsoft's Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablets are on the way, with a 22nd October US and UK release date, but all we care about is the £100 Touch Cover 2 keyboard accessory.
For starters, it looks set to be the Sebastian Vettel of tablet typing. It's thinner and lighter than its predecessor – a sliver at 2.75mm and weighing just 185g – and now boasts 1092 touch sensors inside compared to the original Touch Cover's 80 (one under each key). And that means the Touch Cover 2 is cleverer than you. When you rest your hands on the pressure sensitive keyboard between words or your finger bounces off a key after you press it, Microsoft's new genius keyboard knows that you're not pressing hard or long enough to strike a key. Microsoft say the tactile feedback in our fingers isn't fast enough to tell we're even grazing a key but the Touch Cover 2 knows.
There's also three handy gestures designed to keep your hands hovering above the keys and save time. Swipe two fingers to the left to move the text cursor (or press control and swipe to move words), swipe along the Number row to delete characters or, with control, words and toggle through Windows 8.1's predictive text options by swiping along the space bar and tapping to select. It's not as satisfying as mechanical keys but sliding around is a seriously clever use of space.
With so many hi-def sensors doing their thing, it would be a shame to stop at typing. Unlike a capacitive touchscreen, it knows how hard and for how long you are pressing a certain area. So that's why Microsoft decided to rip off the keys, start calling the covers Blades and bump up its street cred with the Surface Remix Project.