Last fall, Microsoft trumpeted the Surface RT's kickstand, which underwent upward of 70 revisions and was later translated to the Surface Pro. Despite all that work, the kickstand wasn't perfect; though great for propping up the device to watch videos, it didn't balance well in one's lap -- a serious strike against the Surface Pro's credibility as an alleged laptop replacement. The kickstand also made for awkward viewing angles for those who are above or below average height.
Microsoft VP Panos Panay acknowledged as much when he introduced Microsoft's revamped Surfaces, joking that the original kickstand provided a perfect viewing angle for people who stand, like him, around 5 feet, 8 inches tall. The new devices feature a two-step kickstand that gives the user more options and, in conjunction with sturdier keyboard accessories, makes the devices easier to balance in one's lap.
Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said in an interview that she finds the new kickstand helpful, noting that with the original version, "I felt I needed to push [the device] away because the angle was too sharp." Panay said the new kickstand would change the product in ways people won't expect.