Our wishlist for Microsoft’s 7th Surface
Microsoft has been regularly designing some of the best Windows tablets and 2-in-1 laptops for a long time with its Surface lineup. When the Surface Pro 6 launched unfortunately, back in October 2018, there were limited improvements over the 2017 model. So, we were starting to think we weren’t going to see more meaningful improvements to the Surface Pro formula.
Now comes the Surface Pro 7. We’re beginning to see all kinds of patents for the new Surface Pro coming out of the woodwork that could change the game for how we use Microsoft’s tablets.
For instance, there’s a brand new USB-C magnetic Surface charger, which we really hope comes to fruition. Pair that with Intel’s new Ice Lake processors that should hopefully come sometime this year, that is if Microsoft doesn’t pack it with new ARM processors, and the Surface Pro 7 may end up being the most powerful model yet.
However, because nothing has been confirmed, these are all educated guesses. Still, we will continue to update this article with any new information that we get.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next Surface Pro tablet
- When is it out? Late 2019 at the earliest
- What will it cost? Probably around $899 (£879, AU$1,349) to start.
Surface Pro 7 release date
Because the Surface Pro 6 just recently came out, it’s unlikely that we’ll see the next one land before the end of 2019.
The Surface Pro 4 and Surface Pro 6 both launched in October 2015 and 2018, respectively. However, the Surface Pro 2017 did see a June release date. It’s possible that the Surface Pro 7 could launch in October 2019, but the release schedule for Surface Pro devices seems to be approximately every 16 to 18 months.
In other words, there might not be a Surface Pro 7 until Spring or Summer 2020. But we could see it hit the streets in October, if Microsoft wants to target that annualized release, but we’ll believe that when we see it.
Don’t worry, as we’ll update this article just as soon as we hear any word – official or otherwise – on the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 release date.
Surface Pro 7 price
The Surface Pro 6 launched at $899 (£879, AU$1,349) for the base configuration, a noticeable price increase over the Surface Pro 2017, the base model of which was $799 (£799, AU$1,199). So, the pricing of the Surface Pro 7 could turn in one of two directions: either it will get another price increase of $100, or stay the same price as before. We doubt the price will drop, though.
If the price does rise by another $100, and starts at $999 (about £770, AU$1,380), it’ll put the Surface Pro 7 at a similar price point as devices like the Dell XPS 13 and the HP Spectre x360 – not to mention the new iPad Pro.
Like anything else we’ve listed, we won’t know the actual pricing of the Surface Pro 7 until Microsoft is willing to share it. But, we’ll update this article as soon as that happens.
What we want to see
Because the release of the Surface Pro 7 is so far away right now, it’s hard to predict what exactly could be in the next Surface device. However, based on all the patents that Microsoft has filed recently, like an update to the Surface Pen that would make it more accurate, we have come up with a wish list of updates we’d like to see.
Back at CES 2019, Intel shared Ice Lake, the first 10nm Sunny Cove architecture for laptops. And, while we don’t know that much about the processors’ performance, the smaller manufacturing process should undoubtedly lead to better performance and efficiency.
However, we’ve come across some rumors that Qualcomm Snapdragon-equipped Surface devices are “floating around”. It’s unlikely that the top-end Surface Pro 7 would implement an ARM processor like this, as there would probably be problems with software emulation of x86 apps.
However, we could see an entry-level Surface device utilizing these ARM chips.
If the Surface Pro 7 does include these new processors, you can expect greatly improved performance and battery life across the board.
Thunderbolt 3, please
Microsoft, for obvious reasons not worth discussing here, has been hesitant in implementing Thunderbolt 3 in its Surface Products. And, while this was forgivable in the early days, it’s getting harder and harder to disregard with each Surface release.
Luckily, we have reason to believe that Microsoft will unveil the Surface Pro 7 with Thunderbolt 3 support, or at the very least basic USB-C charging. Microsoft has patented a new magnetic charger with a USB-C input that would function like the current Surface charger.
We’re really unsure of whether Surface Pro 7 will support Thunderbolt 3, as it depends upon Microsoft’s openness to trading its proprietary technology for Thunderbolt 3, which it has to pay Intel to license.
An improved Type Cover
The Surface Pro 6’s Type Cover is already one of the best tablet keyboard peripherals out there. It’s not only incredibly responsive, but gives plenty of feedback and is made of solid materials. However, we haven’t seen any marked improvements to it since the Surface Pro 2017. We don’t think there’s any such thing as a perfect product, so we want to see how Microsoft might improve on the formula moving forward.
Like the charging capabilities, we might have an idea of what the next generation Type Cover could look like. Microsoft has patented a thinner Type Cover that should reduce the footprint of the device all around. It looks like Microsoft is planning on doing this by employing a trackpad that’s integrated right into the printed circuit board.
It might also use haptic feedback in the keys, to improve the tactile response of typing, which would be necessary on a thinner keyboard cover.
It’s a peculiar move, but we’re intrigued nonetheless – if Microsoft can make the Type Cover slimmer without making the same mistake as Apple’s Butterfly keyboards, it could be a game-changer.
We’ve also come across a patent that would make the fabric covering the Type Cover smarter. It would feature touch sensitivity, so you could swipe through news stories and photos without having to find the touchpad or the touchscreen. We’re not sure who was asking for this tech, but it’s still a cool idea.