Most of Microsoft’s Surface product lineup is scheduled for a potential refresh at Microsoft’s October 2 event in New York City, and educated guesses, rumors, and potential reports of new Surface hardware are beginning to, er, surface. But which ones make sense?
Last October, Microsoft’s Surface launch included the Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2, the Surface Studio 2, and the Surface Headphones. Earlier in 2018, Microsoft announced the Surface Go and the Surface Book 2. Theoretically, Microsoft could refresh all of these products, which would make for an epic Surface event next month.
Surface Pro 7 using USB-C: Credible
Thurrott’s Brad Sams begin making claims last year that the Surface Pro 7 (and probably the Surface Laptop 3, too) would include a USB-C interface, as part of Beneath A Surface, a book he wrote about the past and future of Surface devices. To be fair, most people expected Microsoft to migrate to USB-C last generation, as virtually all of its competition has done so, as well as the Surface Book 2. The question now is whether Microsoft will do away with the Surface connector, a staple of all Surface devices, or double it up, as it has done with the Surface Book 2.
Our guess: USB-C replaces the Type-A connector already on Surface devices. If Microsoft does away with the Surface connector, the USB-C port will probably be Thunderbolt-enabled. If not, it’s more likely that USB-C will exist alongside the Surface Connector as a more generic I/O.
Surface Pro 7 using Comet Lake: Credible
This is also credible, not the least of which because these are some of the default configurations for most every laptop at some time or another. But remember, Ice Lake boasts an upgraded Iris Plus-capable GPU, while Comet Lake boasts faster clock speeds. Deciding to boost clock speeds on a tablet while reserving Ice Lake’s graphics horsepower for a Surface Laptop 3 or Surface Book 3 makes more sense.
A 15-inch Surface Laptop 3: Plausible
The original Surface Laptop was a wonderfully purpose-built laptop for students. The Surface Laptop 2 didn’t change much, while the competition reacted. Winfuture.de again is suggesting a 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 may be in the offing, together with the existing 13-inch model.
It’s reasonable. I don’t see any particular need for a 15-inch Surface Laptop, but it would broaden a product line. On the other hand, it would also represent development work above and beyond any revisions to the 13-inch model. Past iterations have suggested that Microsoft has been conservative in making hardware changes.
A Surface Laptop 3 with mobile Ryzen: Doubtful
Winfuture.de is also claiming it’s seen private retailer data that suggest the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 (along with, possibly, some other device?) could include AMD’s mobile Ryzen chip inside of it. We’d like this to happen, and if so it would be an enormous validation for AMD’s mobile ambitions. Thurrott’s Brad Sams is also on record claiming that Microsoft is testing an AMD Picasso SOC inside a Surface.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx inside a Surface: Possible
Winfuture.de again predicts that a revamped Surface Pro 7 will use an Intel Core m, which the Surface Pro tablet has used previously. Brad Sams takes another tack—that the Surface Pro 7 may have an option that uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx instead.
A dual-screen Surface: Show, not sell
Intel began promoting dual-screen PCs in 2018, and we saw more prototypes this past summer at Computex with Honeycomb Glacier and others. Microsoft, too, reportedly has a “Centaurus” dual-screen tablet in the works, taking a page from devices like the Galaxy Fold.
A Surface Book 3 with RTX hardware? Why not?
The status of the Surface Book 3 is decidedly in question. It’s certainly time for Microsoft to update its mobile powerhouse laptop, though the Surface Book 2’s power problems suggested that Microsoft may need to rethink its design. A July bug blocking the Surface Book 2 from receiving the May 2019 Update—and playing 3D games—because of discrete GPU issues has not been officially fixed since then, either. (On my Surface Book 2, however, the discrete GPU works.)
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