New Microsoft Surface peripherals steal the launch show

A new docking station, Power Cover, wireless adapter and other new peripherals for Microsoft's Surface devices were the stars of the Surface 2 launch.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft took the wraps off its second-generation Surface tablets on September 23, and, as expected, the devices themselves offered incremental advances.

For many, the supporting peripherals were the show stealers.

The rumored Surface Power Covers made their debut, though they won't be available to customers until "post-launch" (the word is possibly not until January 2014). The Power Covers, expected to be 0.38 inches and 1.1 pounds, are Type Covers with a built-in battery, meant to extend the battery life of the Surface 2, Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2.

The rumored Surface docking station for the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 also made an appearance at today's Surface 2 launch. The docking station, as previously rumored, includes one USB 3.0 port and 3 USB 2.0 ports. It allows users to connect to external monitors, Ethernet devices and USB devices.

The company also showed off a new wireless adapter for Type Covers. This devices uses Bluetooth wireless to connect with monitors up to 30 feet away (allowing for users to sit back and work or play away from their screens). The wireless adapters recharge via USB.

Microsoft unveiled new Type and Touch covers in a variety of colors. The new Type 2 and Touch 2 covers both feature illuminated keys, making it easier to work in the dark. The new Touch covers are somewhat lighter and thinner, coming in around 0.11 inches and under 0.41 pounds. The new Type covers are just slightly thicker, at 0.21 inches, and 0.58 pounds.

Microsoft also has an Ethernet adapter for the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2. Although company officials hinted earlier this year there might be an Ethernet adapter coming for the ARM-based Surface and its successors, no such device was shown during the launch today.

Microsoft's  new Power Cover and docking station are $199 each, once they are commercially available. The wireless adapter is $59.

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