Monday, April 22, 2024

Surface Pro 10: here’s what to expect from the next generation

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Microsoft has consistently put out a new version of its most popular Surface device, the Surface Pro. But this year, the line is due to hit its 10-year anniversary, which feels monumental. If nothing else, it could potentially be an important milestone for the device.

Contents

  • Rumored release date
  • Design and size options
  • Windows 11 tie-in
  • Configurations

The first inklings of rumors on what the Surface Pro 10 have begun to leak out — here’s what we know so far.

Rumored release date

Microsoft typically holds a Surface hardware event in the fall, usually in late September or October. In terms of the tech calendar, the Surface event is usually positioned sometime after Apple’s big iPhone event in mid-September. Last year’s event was held on October 12, 2022, which is when Microsoft launched the Surface Pro 9, Surface Laptop 5, Surface Studio 2+, and more.

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It’s most likely that we’ll see the Surface Pro 10 later this fall. However, a report from Windows Central says that some sources indicate that things are in flux and may get pushed back even later. Either way, there will most likely be some kind Surface hardware event later this year, especially since Microsoft skipped a spring release this year.

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Design and size options

According to the same report from Windows Central, we shouldn’t expect a major shake-up in the overall design of the Surface Pro 10. It’ll keep its sleek 2-in-1 design, which includes a built-in kickstand and attachable Type Cover keyboard.

The design was last updated for the Surface Pro 8, which received slimmer bezels, a new charging slot for the Surface Slim Pen, and a higher refresh rate display. Last year’s Surface Pro 9 was a more iterative update, focusing more on the split between its Intel and Qualcomm models.

Setting that aside, the Surface Pro 10 will likely feature a very similar design. As much as I’d like Microsoft to debut something flashier to mark the 10th anniversary, the slower evolution of the design is more in step with how the company has treated its Surface products over time.

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

However, there’s one major change that’s rumored to come this year — and that’s the return of more size options. The same report from Windows Central claims that an 11-inch Surface Pro 10 is in the works. The standard Surface Pro has a 13-inch screen, though this isn’t the first time we’d be getting an 11-inch Surface.

In fact, Microsoft currently offers 11-inch Surface devices in the Surface Go line. The difference with this new 11-inch Surface Pro is that it would have the faster processor and better screen of the Pro line. Windows Central says the 11-inch Surface Pro will have high-end features such as the thinner bezels and 120Hz refresh rate screen.

Windows 11 tie-in

The Windows Central piece surmises that Microsoft may be interested in a smaller Surface Pro to match what it’s doing with the Windows 11 tablet mode. For example, on screens 11-inches or smaller, it will open apps in full screen more like a traditional tablet. With the addition of some Android apps in Windows, Microsoft may be looking to capitalize on developments with a tried-and-true tablet form factor.

The Windows Central reporter’s sources claims that more tablet optimizations are coming in future updates of Windows 11. We’re also expecting Windows 12 to launch toward the end of 2024, which could expand touch capabilities and tablet mode features even further.

Configurations

It’s unclear as to whether or not Microsoft will continue to pursue both Intel and ARM configurations. We know that Microsoft remains committed to support ARM chips with Windows, and that another one is on the way. Some job listings point toward key hires in managing the “Microsoft Silicon Team” and developing Windows 12 to further improve tablet interfaces.

On the other hand, we know that the next-gen Qualcomm chips that Microsoft would have used are likely not coming out until 2024. This could mean that the Surface Pro 10 will either be Intel-exclusive, or will have its ARM configuration delayed until next year.

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