Microsoft might finally embrace USB-C on next-gen Surface Pro 7

microsoft surface pro usb c patent

A new Surface Pro could arrive later this year, and Microsoft may give its detachable tablet design a big makeover. Part of that makeover involves making USB-C a native feature for the first time on the Surface Pro line, if a patent filing uncovered by Windows United proves accurate.

Though other PC manufacturers have embraced the USB-C connector — and even the faster Thunderbolt 3 over USB-C in some cases — Microsoft had been reluctant to adopt the technology, opting for legacy connectors to maintain compatibility with other peripherals. To date, the Surface Pro line includes a magnetic Surface Connector for charging, a USB-A port, and a Mini DisplayPort. On the image in the patent application, you’ll find a USB-C port alongside the USB-A and Mini DisplayPort.

With the potential inclusion of USB-C as detailed by the illustration in the patent filing, it’s unclear what the fate of Microsoft’s magnetic Surface Connect port will be. The idea for a magnetic charging port was popularized by Apple initially on older generations of MacBook, but the company dropped its magnetic charging cable in its transition to USB-C. Unlike older USB-A ports, USB-C can serve as an input port to transfer data, can be used to output video, and also deliver power. In theory, Microsoft could rely on USB-C here as a charging port when it’s not being used for video output or data transfer.

Though USB-C does not offer the convenience and safety of unlatching should someone trip over the charging cable, it could make the Surface Pro 7 more future-proof. Additionally, if Microsoft implemented the faster Thunderbolt 3 over USB-C protocol, it could make the Surface Pro 7 a more appealing device to gamers, as Thunderbolt 3 would allow users to use discrete desktop graphics with a connected eGPU.

A previous Microsoft patent filing suggested that the company was exploring options to bring magnetic charging to the USB-C port, but it’s unclear at this time if such a solution would be implemented for the Surface Pro 7. Companies often explore ideas and patent them, but few patented ideas actually get implemented in a final commercial product. Microsoft had also previously explored ways to make the USB-C port even slimmer.

Computing

Apple working with Microsoft? Service strategy puts iCloud on Microsoft Store

Apple and Microsoft rarely team up, but the two rivals have come together to bring iCloud for Windows to the Microsoft Store for the first time. Is this the next step in Apple’s services domination plan?
Computing

HP's Spectre x360 is a better 2-in-1 than Microsoft's Surface Laptop 2 is a clamshell

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 is a refresh of Microsoft's clamshell option, an oddity given Microsoft's creation of the modern 2-in-1. The HP Spectre x360 13 is, therefore, an interesting comparison.
Deals

Amazon cuts prices on Microsoft Surface Pro 6 and Surface Go

The Microsoft Surface series is an excellent alternative to other tablets if you're a dedicated Windows user, and the superb Surface Pro 6 (our favorite 2-in-1) and its cheaper sibling, the Surface Go, are both on sale right now.
Computing

A dual-screen device from Microsoft is in the works. Here's what we know so far

Would you be interested in a dual-screen Surface computer? The Surface Centaurus is a Microsoft project working on just that -- and Microsoft already has a prototype. Here's all the important information on Centaurus!
Computing

Monzo will launch its banking app in the U.S., but it may be a hard sell

Monzo, a popular mobile banking app from the U.K., will launch this summer in the United States, but its plan for a slow release and an initially feature-light banking app may be a hard sell for its prospective U.S. customers.
Computing

Apple just registered seven new MacBooks, but what are they? Let’s speculate

When Apple registers new devices, that usually means they’re only weeks away from being released. The company has just registered seven new devices -- but are they Airs, Pros or something else entirely?
Photography

The Loupedeck Plus custom keyboard will make you feel like a pro video editor

With recently added support for Final Cut Pro X, the Loupedeck Plus improves speed and accuracy for video editors. With a collection of customizable buttons and dials, the Loupedeck can almost completely replace a mouse and keyboard setup.
Deals

Amazon sale drops deals on Microsoft Surface laptops

Despite an increasingly crowded market, the sleek Microsoft Surface laptops have left their mark. Both the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 and Surface Book 2 are discounted on Amazon right now, too, with deals that can save you up to $300.
Computing

If you need your laptop to be large, these ones are most in charge

Whether you're in the market for a mobile workstation or a gaming behemoth, there's probably something in the 15-inch form factor that can fit the bill. Here, we've rounded up the best 15-inch laptops available.
Computing

Need more pixels? These 4K laptops have the eye-popping visuals you crave

If you're looking for the best 4K laptops, you need to find one that has powerful internal hardware, and doesn't scrimp on weight and battery life. All of these 4K notebooks are great options, but which one is the right one for you?
Computing

AMD’s Ryzen one-two punch will end with a 64-core Threadripper in 2019

AMD's Threadripper may be set to deliver the killing blow to Intel in Q4 2019, with a rumor suggesting a new Zen 2-based Threadripper line is coming down the pipe with a top chip that has as many as 64 cores.
Photography

What’s the difference between Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic?

Lightroom CC has evolved into a capable photo editor, but is it enough to supplant Lightroom Classic? We took each program for a test drive to compare the two versions and see which is faster, more powerful, and better organized.
Deals

Amazon deal drops prices on Asus VivoBook laptops and 2-in-1s

Asus is one of the premier PC brands cranking out Windows ultrabooks today with its sleek VivoBook series, and these Amazon deals let you score one for $700 or less. Read on to find out what we love about these laptops and how you can save.
Deals

The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals: Leaked date and what you need to know

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is still a month away, but it's never too early to start preparing. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what to expect this year.