What To Expect From Microsoft's Surface Hardware Event This Week
Microsoft is planning to unveil new hardware during a special event scheduled for this Wednesday, October 2, in New York City. The company is promising "new and innovative things," though has stopped way short of offering up any specific details—just a handful of teasers on social media to whet our appetite. So, what can we expect?
The easy answer is, new hardware! That much is obvious—this is a hardware event, after all. Fortunately, though, we are not completely in the dark. There have been several product rumors over the past several weeks, and even months, which may provide some clues as to what Microsoft is planning to unveil later this week.
Surface Pro 7 To Flex Its ARM
A Surface refresh is almost a given with this type of event. One of the things we might see is a Surface Pro 7 with a nearly border-less display, to go along with a more modern design in general. That's according to a recent report out of France. We're not entirely sure what exactly a modern refresh will detail, in terms of the design language, but Microsoft has shown it is not afraid to try new things in hardware.
The report also noted Microsoft may kick both the USB-A ports and mini DisplayPort to the curb. In its place, a Thunderbolt 3/USB-C port would take on connected chores, according to the report.
There will likely be an LTE model (or perhaps even a 5G variant), and one of the more interesting rumors is an ARM version waiting in the wings. Should Microsoft go in that direction, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8cx SoC would be good fit. The big selling point would be significant gains in battery life, while maintaining good performance in general purpose tasks.
Surface Laptop 3 Gets Bigger
There have also been rumors of a Surface Laptop 3 model being on the horizon. One of the rumors points to there being a larger model introduced, with a 15-inch display. There has even been chatter of Microsoft sticking an AMD Ryzen APU inside the Surface.
If that does indeed happen, it will be interesting to see if Microsoft opts for something like a Ryzen 5 3500H or Ryzen 7 3750H, or if AMD will unveil a new round of APUs based on its latest Zen 2 CPU and Navi GPU architectures.
The same report that outlined the Surface Pro 7 indicates the Surface Laptop 3 will feature dual Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports. In addition, the Alcantara keyboard cover will still be an option, along with new Yellow Sandstone, Glacier Blue, and Poppy Red color options.
New Surface Pro and Surface Laptop products are smart bets, but looking beyond those core products, Microsoft could have some surprises up its sleeve. For example, a smart speaker of its own could be one of them—a Surface Speaker, if you will. Microsoft continues to invest in its Cortana digital assistant, and Microsoft may want to offer a speaker of its own, as opposed to tapping third parties (like the Harman Kardon Invoke).
We also would not completely rule out finally seeing a dual-screen device from Microsoft, though we are less confident in this one. These rumors have persisted for a long time. So far, nothing has materialized, and with Samsung and Huawei having issues with their folding smartphones, a folding or dual-screen Surface might still be further in the distance.
Stay tuned, as all will be answered in just a couple of days.