After years of development and millions of advertising dollars spent to convince us that a tablet could plausibly replace a laptop, Microsoft finally delivered the goods with the Surface Pro 4 in 2015.
Equipped with robust processing power, a perfectly sized display, and just-right aspect ratio, and a few critical add-on accessories, the current generation solidified the Surface’s position as the gold standard for Windows tablets.
Though there is so far precious little in the way of official detail, we’ll use this space to collect the news, predictions, and rumors about the Microsoft Surface Pro 5 as they emerge.
Announcement and release dates
There were sketchy reports that Microsoft might bring out the next Surface Pro in June 2016 — ostensibly to get the jump on Apple’s rumored intro of the next MacBook Pro model at its Worldwide Developer’s Conference.
But neither panned out: no new MacBook at WWDC and no new Surface Pro from Microsoft.
New devices, like the expected Surface Book 2 and Surface Pro 5, aren’t likely to emerge until spring 2017.
Of course, last year, Microsoft’s fall hardware event in New York City on Oct. 6 served as its launchpad for the Surface Book, Surface Pro 4, and a handful of other products. So we’ll just have to wait and see.
Under the hood
The current Pro 4 already uses the latest and greatest sixth-generation “Skylake” Intel processors (Core m3, Core i5 or Core i7).
At the end of May, Intel confirmed that Skylake’s successor, “Kaby Lake,” would launch by the end of 2016. That adds more impetus to the “early 2017” theory.
The touchscreen stylus, which is included by default, got a nice upgrade to the current model, shifting from the Pro 3’s awkward plastic tether to the Pro 4’s more elegant magnetic attachment.
In January, Patently Mobile reported that Microsoft had filed a patent application for a rechargeable Surface Pen and dock.
According to the filing, the Surface Pen’s triple A or button cell battery would be replaced by a rechargeable battery, following in the footsteps of the iPad Pro’s Apple Pen, which can be recharged via its Lightning connection.
Straight up, the Surface Pro 4 is expensive — unless you opt for the very entry-level $899 model (£749, AU$1,349). For that price, you get a tablet with an Intel Core M3 CPU, 128GB of solid-state storage and 4GB of RAM, plus a touchscreen stylus.
News Everyday has published a report that the Surface Pro 5’s Core will also start at $899, price an Intel Core i7 model at $999, and offer an i7 Extreme version for $1,599.