Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 was introduced in 2015 as the company’s newest “tablet that can replace your notebook” style of 2-in-1. The Windows 10 machine offered a larger and higher-resolution display, as well as sixth-generation Intel Core processors, which likely why it sold far better than Microsoft expected it to.
Given the machine’s resounding success, it only makes sense that Microsoft will produce a Surface Pro 5 at some point, a fact that seems to have been confirmed by a recent job posting listed on LinkedIn. The company has otherwise been surprisingly good at keeping new Surface machines a secret, however, and so almost all we currently have to go on is speculation. Here’s everything we know so far.
October came and went — now what?
Many people expected Microsoft to introduce the Surface Pro 5 successor in October. That would have followed Microsoft’s recent pattern of introducing new and enhanced Surface products at its annual hardware event. However, that didn’t happen. Instead, the company introduced the futuristic Surface Studio, along with a minor but welcome update to its notebook-centric 2-in-1, the Surface Book with Performance Base.
Now, speculation has shifted to an early-2017 launch of the Surface Pro 5 to coincide with the release of the Windows 10 Creators Update. A recent report allegedly identified Taiwanese company Pegatron Technology as one of the manufacturers of the Surface Pro 5, with a first quarter release estimate. The idea that Pegatron might produce the next Surface Pro isn’t that far-fetched, especially because the company currently produces the Surface Studio for Microsoft.
Given that the Creators Update is expected to land in April, some sources are further speculating that Microsoft could announce the Surface Pro 5 at Mobile World Conference (MWC), which runs from February 27 through March 2. As of February 22, however, Microsoft had not yet announced any relevant events of its own, and so an announcement at MWC makes as much sense as anything.
4K display, Kaby Lake, and more
The Surface Pro 4 uses sixth-generation Intel Core processors and offers an excellent 12.3-inch display with a 3:2 aspect ratio, 2,736 x 1,824-pixel resolution, and 267 PPI. Anticipated — and logical — Surface Pro 5 updates, therefore, include a move to seventh-generation Intel Kaby Lake processors and a 4K display option. Also expected, and equally logical, is the inclusion of more expansion ports and a move to USB Type-C, which would also allow the new machine to be even thinner than the Surface Pro 4. The Surface Pro 4 has a single USB 3.0 port, a DisplayPort, and an SD card reader.
Other rumored possibilities:
- The Surface Pro 5 could offer an option with an ARM processor, given Microsoft recently announced that Windows 10 will support ARM at some point. That would make an LTE variant an obvious update as well. However, because ARM support isn’t likely to arrive in the Creators Update and perhaps not even with the Redstone 3 update that’s expected toward the end of 2017, it seems unlikely that Microsoft would announce an ARM variant so soon.
- Microsoft has patented an active pen with wireless charging, which would make some sense for the Surface Pro 5 given that the Surface Pen already magnetically attaches to the side of the Surface Pro 4.
- A larger capacity battery is also possible, which would please anyone who’s suffered through the relatively poor battery life afforded by the Surface Pro 4. Moving to seventh-generation Intel processors would help, given they’re more efficient.