Microsoft Surface Pro 5: Simmering Expectations

The Surface Pro 4 was almost perfect. The Surface Book was a stunner. Everyone thought the late-2016 Microsoft Event would reveal the new Surface Pro 5. Instead, we got the Surface Book with Performance Base (for an eye-watering AU$5,199), and the stunning Surface Studio creative easel. Where is the Surface Pro 5?

Simmering expectations surround the Surface Pro 5, yet to be released. The delay? Waiting on new components to be available from suppliers, such as the new Intel Kaby Lake processors, efficient RAM; and the need or desire to add next-gen ports like USB-C with faster integrated USB-3.1 and Thunderbolt.

As yet, none of the Surface devices sport USB-C, not even the very recently-released Surface Studio.

Before the simmering pot of expectation boils over, here's what we expect to be included with the new Surface Pro 5:

  • New Intel Kaby Lake 7th gen processor series across three versions of Surface Pro 5 (Core i3, i5, i7)

  • Intel integrated graphics (HD or Iris graphics, depending on processor version)

  • 12.3inch high resolution Pixel Sense Display

  • Windows 10 Pro with the Creators Update

  • Windows Hello security

  • Choice of 8GB, 16GB, 32GB RAM, dropping the low-end 4GB RAM option.

  • Choice of 256GB, 512GB, 1TB solid state drive, dropping the low-end 128GB drive option.

  • MicroSD card reader

  • Headset audio jack

  • 802.11ac WiFi wireless networking

  • Updated Bluetooth from version 4.0 to the newer 4.2 Low Energy

  • Updated USB-A 3.1 port

  • Two new USB-C ports with USB3.1 and Thunderbolt support

  • Side-mounted integrated magnetic charging for the Surface Pen

  • One Mini DisplayPort

  • One Type Cover connector

  • One Surface Connect port for power and Surface Dock attachment

  • Retain the same body structure, buttons, integrated kick stand, screen size, camera, mic and speakers.

  • Compatibility with accessories such as the Surface Pen, Mouse, Dial, and Type Cover.

The big take-aways here are:

  • dropping the low-end 4GB RAM option

  • dropping the low-end 128GB SSD option

  • upgrading from Core m3 to Core i3 on the entry-level device

  • upgrading Bluetooth from version 4.0 to Version 4.2 Low Energy

  • upgrading the USB-A port from USB3.0 to the faster USB3.1

  • new Intel Kaby Lake 7th generation processors, for processing speed and power efficiency

  • adding support for recharging the new Surface Pen

  • support for the new Surface Dial

  • adding two USB-C ports supporting both USB3.1 and Thunderbolt for expandability without a dock.

Expect the Surface Pro 5 to retain its class-leading form factor and industrial design, and the enhancements listed above.

We could also be stunned by a dropped-from-the-heavens new Surface device running a Qualcomm Snapdragon 900 processor with Windows 10 on ARM. A Windows-on-ARM device with a lower-spec Qualcomm processor was previewed by Microsoft and Qualcomm on stage at the WinHEC developer's conference.

Let's turn up the heat, and take the simmering expectations up to boiling-point as we enter the new year with the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2017.

Until next time,

Xavier Zymantas XYZ Media Group

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