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Microsoft’s October 2 Surface Hardware event: Everything we know so far

Microsoft has announced its annual October Surface hardware event for 2019. From what we’ve heard so far, it’s shaping up to be quite a big one.

This is usually a chance for Microsoft to show off updates to all its new product lines, and this time around, we may even get a sneak preview of the futuristic, dual-screen 2-in-1 we’ve been waiting years to see. A lot has been leaked about the event so far, but Microsoft will probably still have a couple of surprises up its sleeve.

Time and location

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The event is currently scheduled for Wednesday, October 2, in New York City, starting at 10 a.m. EST, or 7 a.m. PST.

We have confirmed with Microsoft that the keynote will be livestreamed, although last year, it was not.

Surface Pro 7

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A lot of what we’re expecting from the event is based on rumors and speculation, but one thing is fairly certain: Microsoft will launch a new version of its Surface Pro. Whether or not it’ll be called the “Surface Pro 7” remains to be seen, but the rumor mill about some of its new features has been buzzing all year. The photo was even leaked, showing what the new device will look like.

Last year’s model was a very iterative update, bringing faster processors, better battery life, and a new black color option. The rumors stated at the time that the larger redesign would be coming in 2019. That was supposed to mean that the Surface Pro 7 would bring some significant changes to the 2-in-1’s design, which hasn’t been altered much in the six versions of it we’ve seen so far. According to the leaked images, however, it still keeps a fairly similar design.

What will be new? Well, we’re for sure getting a USB-C port this time around. According to a patent from late 2017, we could also see a new kickstand that makes it easier to open and close. Looking at the images, the kickstand does look to be new, though we’ll have to wait to see just how it functions. We originally expected larger changes being made to the Type Cover, where rumors have pointed to a complete redesign of the keyboard and touchpad. The leaked images don’t seem to show anything new, but again, we’ll have to wait and see.

One rumor the leaked images seem to negate is thinner bezels. The photos show a device that has the same size borders as the previous Surface Pro, which are quite large compared to competitors.

Originally, rumors indicated that Microsoft might move to a Qualcomm processor for the Surface Pro 7, though recently it seems more likely that Microsoft will go with some of Intel’s 10th-gen processors instead. But that doesn’t mean Qualcomm is out completely.

Surface 7, or Surface on ARM

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A plethora of rumors, and even some leaked images, show that Microsoft also plans to announce some kind of Surface on ARM, alongside the Surface Pro 7. Some have indicated this could be called the ‘Surface 7,’ while others say that it’ll be part of the Surface Pro line somehow. Regardless of what it’s called, this 2-in-1 is rumored to run on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx processor rather than an Intel CPU.

This is the first Qualcomm system on a chip to compete directly with Intel’s Core i5 chip. Going with Qualcomm would also provide built-in LTE support for the Surface 7. The first laptop to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx chip was the Samsung Galaxy Book S, announced in August.

Interestingly, the leaked images show that this specific Surface model will be the one to benefit from the thinned out bezels. This would be a way of separating this Surface from Intel’s Surface Pro, as well as helping it compete more directly with the iPad.

Surface Laptop 3

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The third device we’re expecting to see is the Surface Laptop 3. There have been a number of recent reports about Microsoft’s next clamshell laptop, so we’re fairly certain it will make an appearance at the event.

Recent reports have suggested Microsoft will have both the standard 13.5-inch model, as well as a 15-inch option. This wouldn’t be too hard to imagine, as Microsoft already offers two sizes for the Surface Book 2.

It’s also been rumored that AMD would be powering this 15-inch model rather than Intel. It might have seemed outlandish at first, but recent reporting seems to indicate it to be true. It would be a huge win for AMD, especially if this rumored eight-core chip makes an appearance. A more powerful version of the Surface Laptop, made with content creators in mind, would be an interesting demographic that Microsoft hasn’t supported in the past.

In addition, according to the leaked photos above, we expect the Surface Laptop 3 to come with USB-C, as well as an option for a non-Alcantara keyboard deck.

Surface Centaurus and Windows 10X

Concept design by Ryan Smalley on Behance. Image used with permission by copyright holder

Perhaps the most exciting product we’re hoping to check out is a dual-screen, 2-in-1 device code-named Centaurus. If you watch Microsoft closely, you’ll know a number of dual-screen devices have been in the works for ages. It started as some kind of Surface Phone, though that was reportedly scrapped for a more tablet-sized device.

Some reports have indicated that Centaurus will have a foldable screen, possibly even using liquid internally to stabilize the hinge. If we had to guess, though, we’d say it’s a clamshell two-screen device without a physical keyboard. This wouldn’t be the first of these we’ve seen, but how Microsoft approaches it should be fairly innovative.

Centaurus is rumored to also debut a new version of Windows based on Microsoft’s Core OS technology. According to the most recent leaks, Microsoft’s dual-screen device will ship with something called Windows 10X. Like all implementations of Core OS, Windows 10X is said to be a “modular” operating system that can runs applications in containers and can more aptly handle running applications in two screens.

Surface earbuds? What else?

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Though details are sparse, we are expecting Microsoft to unveil a pair of wireless earbuds at the event. Last year, Microsoft unveiled the Surface Headphones, and since then, nearly every one of Microsoft’s competitors have launched its own True Wireless earbuds. Details are sparse, meaning this one could end up being a no-show. However, it does seem like the perfect time for Microsoft to jump into this increasingly important product category.

What else could make an appearance? Well, at last year’s event, the company trotted out four new products, so there’s precedent for a sweeping update to the entire lineup. We could see an update to the Surface Studio, the company’s all-in-one iMac competitor. This would line up with recent rumors about an upcoming redesigned Surface keyboard and mouse.

The smaller Surface Go could even get an update, though the rumor mill has been silent on that. The Surface Headphones were launched at last year’s event, so Microsoft could launch a version 2 of those.

Lastly, Microsoft’s other 2-in-1, the Surface Book, could get an upgrade. This one is fairly unlikely, though. The Surface Book 2 was given a spec bump earlier this year. Then again, it will have been two years since the launch of the Surface Book 2, so the timing would be right for a new version.

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Luke Larsen
Senior Editor, Computing
Luke Larsen is the Senior editor of computing, managing all content covering laptops, monitors, PC hardware, Macs, and more.
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