Panay went on to say that whenever the company could bring a “meaningful change” to the Surface Pro formula, it would unleash a true next generation product onto the market. "I'm looking for an experiential change that makes a huge difference in product line.” Microsoft wants to bring profound changes like a monumental increase in battery life, or perhaps a dramatic reduction in device weight.
But what about those that have a Surface Pro 4, or perhaps even a Surface Pro 3, and are eager for Microsoft to release new hardware? After all, the Surface Pro 4 hasn’t seen an update since it launched back in late 2015. “What I'm super, super sure of is that the people using a Pro 4 have a product that's going to be competitive for five years,” added Panay, seemingly indicating that most users should be content with the performance that the Surface Pro 4 currently delivers.
While that may be the case for a segment of Surface Pro 4 owners, Panay can’t escape the fact that Surface hardware revenue declined by 26 percent year-over-year for Microsoft’s most recently completed quarter. Microsoft attributed this decline to "product end-of-life dynamics”.
So, what can we decipher from Panay's comments? Microsoft does have a Surface-themed event on the schedule for later this month in Shanghai, so something is definitely in the works. It’s likely that the company may simply drop Kaby Lake processors into the existing Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book, and call it a day. That move would quiet those that have been complaining about the lack of “current” Intel processors in Microsoft’s convertible family, and would bring both in line with the recently announced Surface Laptop.
However, this refresh would likely mean that a true Surface Pro 5 will be even further down the road. Maybe by that time, Microsoft will get around to installing Thunderbolt 3 ports on the convertible.