Microsoft has invited guests to its next showcase event in Shanghai on 23rd May, 2017. The news was accompanied by Microsoft's SVP of Devices, Mr Panos Panay, releasing an Instagram post for the event, hash tagged "#Surface". 1 + 1 = 2, and we expect the release of the Surface Pro 4 + 1 = 5.
The May 2nd release the Surface Laptop, aimed at Education customers, fills a gap in the Surface product line that Microsoft says exists, with Education customers wanting affordable and durable devices with a secure operating system, fleet manageability, and a Microsoft-centric approach to work and play.
While many reviewers have described the Surface Laptop and underwhelming, we must remember its mission is in Education, particularly for University students, who require a productivity tool within a certain budget. The Surface Laptop wont be ideal for everyone.
The Surface family offers other devices, including the ageing Surface Pro 3, the extremely successful Surface Pro 4, the Surface Book, the category-defining Surface Studio, and the Surface Dock, Pen and Dial. Don't forget the massive corporate-focussed Surface Hub, either.
So what do we expect to see at the May 23rd event?
Direct from Microsoft's Panos Panay on Instagram:
It could be an updated Surface Studio easel PC. It could be the hotly-anticipated Surface Pro 5, or the under-the-radar Surface Courier.
The Surface Studio was revealed earlier in 2017 with a shock-and-awe campaign that saw some commentators refer to it as an iMac for Windows 10, and others calling it a category-creating device.
The Studio launched to much acclaim, and had a nearly-two-year birth. This led to the device being released with outdated components, and modified mobile/tablet/laptop components in a desktop base. It was missing a powerful graphics chip and it was missing USB-C and a Surface Connect dock connector.
A revision of the device could mend those complaints, before it sees major adoption in the marketplace.
Surface Pro 5:
With the Surface Pro 3 now exactly two years old, the Surface Pro 4 over a year and a half old, the Surface Book nearing a year old, and the Surface Book with Performance Base now over six months old and using recently-superseded tech, the team at XYZ are expecting the release of the Surface Pro 5 on May 23rd.
The Surface Pro 5 is expected to get a spec-bump to the newest Intel Kaby Lake 7th Generation Core Series processors, refreshed RAM options, and support for a new edition of the Surface Pen with 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, along with a magnetic Pen dock and magnetic charging for the Pen.
Other features remain largely unchanged, retaining the same PixelSense display, screen size, form factor, ports, keyboard covers, and accessories.
We could speculate on several colour options for the new Surface Pro, in line with those seen in the recent release of the Surface Laptop, being Graphite Gold, Platinum, Burgundy, and Blue.
Many enthusiasts would love to see the inclusion of one or two USB-C Thunderbolt ports for improved expandability. This may or may not appear directly on the side of the Pro 5. It could instead appear as a port on a new Surface Dock, enabling all current devices to have USB-C via the Surface Connect port.
Earlier at WinHEC, Microsoft and Qualcomm jointly announced Windows 10 ARM Edition working on a test platform, but we have yet to see a device spring forth from this effort. Many believe this could evolve into the 'Surface Phone', the 'Surface UltraMobile', or even an entry-level Surface tablet once known as the Surface Courier.
While Microsoft has scuttled all recent reports of work on Surface Phone, the UltraMobile device remains in the rumour mill, and tech-heads everywhere have been lusting for a Surface Mini for years. After Microsoft released a video of the use case for a product dubbed 'Microsoft Courier', perhaps now is the right time to realise this vision, hand in hand with Qualcomm.
The Most Likely...
In order of likelihood, here are the device(s) that could be heading for a release on May 23rd:
Most Likely to Least Likely:
1. Surface Pro 5
2. Surface 5 (non-Pro)
3. Surface Courier (Microsoft-Qualcomm ARM device)
4. Surface Mini (Microsoft-Qualcomm ARM device)
5. Surface UltraMobile tablet (Microsoft-Intel device)
6. A Surface Type Cover in white.
Make sure to tune in to the announcement on May 23rd.
Until next time,
XYZ Media Group
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