Why it Matters That Adobe and Microsoft Just Gave Everyone at MAX a Surface Pro 3

Why it Matters That Adobe and Microsoft Just Gave Everyone at MAX a Surface Pro 3

Adobe Max is a creative conference where artists from around the world the chance to interact with beta designs, see great speakers and learn from professionals and of course, see what new software and hardware advancements Adobe is adding to the fold. This year, Microsoft made a surprise appearance, and at the end of the keynote they gave everyone attending MAX a Surface Pro 3. This is a big deal, and not just because it's a free 2-in-1. 

If you haven't noticed, a lot of what Adobe is doing pivots on the mobile creative professional. Their major announcements today focused on new and rebranded iPhone and iPad apps. They believe this is the future, and they're putting a lot of money into it. In addition, Adobe also spent a significant amount of time showing how touch can make a creative's workflow better, specifically on the Microsoft Surface. 

Microsoft has been fighting an uphill battle against Apple for years now. If you walk into virtually any photo studio, any designer's office or any video edit bay, odds are you will see an Apple computer looking back at you. It's just the trend. Creative professionals, in general, prefer Apple computers. Apple got us early on, and we just have kept the trend. Microsoft wants to change that, and is heavily partnering with Adobe to bring new workflows and technology to creatives that is simply not possible on any Apple product. 

Surface can run more than any mobile device from Apple: it can run full apps. Microsoft and Adobe have come together to build specific workspaces within the Microsoft Surface ecosystem that allow for a different view on how we as creatives can work. Though it is for the most part untested, it is highly intriguing. 

Today when Microsoft and Adobe gave thousands of Surface Pro 3 tablets away for free to everyone at MAX, they made a statement: We want creatives on Microsoft products. 

Partnering with a big player in the creative software space is a big step in the right direction, and now getting some of the top artists in the world holding and using the Microsoft Surface once they dispurse from MAX will likely lead to the desire for the product spreading... especially if the new touch workflows are better than what we are used to with a mouse and keyboard. Whether or not that is the case is yet to be seen, but Microsoft and Adobe seem confident. 

Have you tried the new Surface? Have you tried it with Adobe product? Let us know in the comments below. 

Jaron Schneider's picture

Jaron Schneider is an Fstoppers Contributor and an internationally published writer and cinematographer from San Francisco, California. His clients include Maurice Lacroix, HD Supply, SmugMug, the USAF Thunderbirds and a host of industry professionals.

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That's awesome. The new surface is one of the best tablets I've used. The i7 processor version has enough power to run even Adobe premiere and after effects with some large renders pretty smooth. Have been really impressed with the product. Nice choice Adobe

Does it have a Graphics card?

Do you have a brain?

Yes, thanks for asking.

I'm totally sold... have been working with the Surface 3 since 3 months and I can not imagine going back to anything else. I really like editing pictures on screen with the provided pen, it's ultra-light, tablet mode works great, good performances...

See my response below. There is no comparison. The Surface blows the Wacom away.

I never tried the Surface 2 so I can not compare, but I'm a long time user of wacom products. For me the NTrig pen on the Surface 3 is on par with wacom (for the way I'm using it) ::)

Surface Pro 3 or Wacom Cinteq Companion? What would you go for and why?

IMO, What Microsoft needs to do if they want to tap into the Apple client base is spent some money on creating a real ecosystem and OS that is both customizable and user friendly.

Well, Ebay will at least enjoy an uptick in sales.


The thing that worries me with the current trend in computers, tablets and phones is that in an effort to make a device as thin and light as possible the result is a piece of technology that can't survive a fall from my kitchen counter, much less take abuse out in the field where I actually work.

Never used a surface pro, but would love to see how it handles Adobe. I travel with a Mactop. I don’t use a Mactop because its anything amazing, I use it because it looks great in front of a client and it lets me work without a Java update every 5 minutes (how many times must I update you Java?!) All my workstations are PCs and their great too. I was intrigued by the original Surface Pro, but with no graphics card, it was too limited for my use. Does the Surface 3 have a Gcard? I didn’t see it on the Microsoft site, but I didn’t look very hard. I love the idea of a tablet PC that I can work off of…has anyone used one for video work?

I currently own a Surface Pro 2 and chose that over the Pro 3 because the Pro2 actually uses a Wacom pen which has more pressure points but MOST importantly to me, I can remap the main button to have the ability to change brush size and pressure simply by holding it down and dragging it up and down, left or right.

Also Photoshop is simply PERFECT now. This is what I think Wacom ultimately wanted but got beaten to the punch by the Surface. Photoshop is very very fast and responsive and the pinch zoom is flawless.

It has no issue handling Lightroom, Photoshop, and of course Ultra Street Fighter 4.

Unfortunately I don't think many Apple users will ever try one simply because its not an Apple product but if it was, they would be raving about it. Unfortunately people have this odd brand loyalty that keeps them from trying newer advanced products because they are too set in their ways.

I think Adobe intends on its products being promoted on touch screens and this is most clear by their endorsement of the Surface systems. To be able to draw right on the screen is priceless. It's completely portable unlike a Cintiq, hooks up to what ever size monitor you need.

Wacom can not touch a Surface, even with their smaller standalone tablets.

This is the future but unfortunately many wont experience it until Apple decides to follow suit.

Have a look at the future of Photo and design manipulation and creation.


Microsoft press release overnight

"Surface 3 install base quadruples!"


Love my Surface Pro 3 8/256. I shoot tethered to it. Show clients files, awesome 3x2 screen. Fast enough for my D800 files, I only have a couple of layers. I plan on mounting it to my Glidecam to use as a video monitor via USB.

Now that is an idea!

No, sorry people! this isn't awsome, this is corruption. Bying people like this is what we're working against in all other areas of society, but that doesn't count for Microsoft.
If the Surface is better than the iPad - fine. If Adobe join with Microsoft, good. But this i below the belt, and I don't like it.

Corruption? Are they forcing people to use them?

Apple making people pay almost $1k above normal retail prices for the same hardware a windows machine is considered good marketing, but giving away a tablet at a conference is corruption? yeesh

I like Apple products, I like the Surface 3. I don't like Apple prices, nor do I like dumping goods. How do you define corruption? I read here that they were giving away thousands of Surfaces to people - why? For marketing reasons or for getting advantages? If I give bucks or hardware, it's just a different way of getting into people's pockets for their own good. I know this isn't a popular viewpoint, but I still think it's a fair one.
I'm a blogger, and one of the ethical discussions we have, is whether to accept goods to write fairly about them. Giving is of course a risk, but bad reviews seldom come from gifts. Sorry, but that's how I see it.
If I pay a serviceman for an unfair advantate, he's not forced to use my money. But it's still corruption, and I bet he WILL use it.

This is crazy talk right here. It's called marketing.

You are making a lot of assumptions. 1. Not all the people at Max are bloggers. A lot are professionals. You want professionals to evaluate your tools to see if they want to use them. It is even probable that it is cheaper to just give them away than try some sort of loaner program. 2. Even among bloggers and reporters, it is common to give them the product to evaluate. This is nothing new. Music reviewers, book reviewers, tech reviewers— it doesn't matter. They all get the product in their hand to evaluate. That is about the publication having the ability to disperse the information. There is nothing inherently unethical about that.

Marketing is not inherently unethical either. Good marketing is about connecting a valuable product to the audience who will appreciate the product. Putting a tablet in the hands of a pro means only that— they will have an experience with that tablet. They don't have to buy the next one if it does nothing for them. But now they can make an informed decision about the product.

Microsoft is not giving these tablets to the attendees as swag. Ms wants them to use the tablet, give feedback, and let others know what they think about a piece of equipment, both good and bad. They want the attendees to try their product, not get a payoff to promote them. There is no quid pro quo here.

I think you are on your high horse over nothing. Personally, I'm glad they did it. Until now, I had no idea that MS tablets worked with Adobe's programs in any meaningful way. I still won't buy one. The price isn't right for me, but I feel better informed on things that may have future value in my profession. I benefited in a significant way without actually been given a free tablet... that doesn't sound unethical to me.

I would like to add that we as journalists were not included in the free giveaway. I did not get one.

Then why would you write a favorable review? :-)

You mean on the giveaway? Because as disappointing as it is to not get one for myself, I can't ignore that their strategy is a good one. To say otherwise because of selfish emotions is bad journalism.

Just a little light ribbing using Gerr Ertzgaard's logic. That's all. :-)

This is how Apple has worked for decades, only it was placing their products in schools that got people to start using them. Student discounts for products are another example and is done by every major player in the photographic field including Adobe, Canon, Nikon, Broncolor, Leaf, etc.

It is simply giving people a chance to use the product and then decide. It's not corruption, it's partnership.

It's pretty impressive to see a tablet be able to edit video. That said - it's definitely not an "inexpensive" setup when you want the i7 for premiere pro. The price jumps to $1500+

Pricey little tablet, but the positive thing is that the prices will only come down!