Microsoft could have just set the stage for a confrontation with some of its most loyal followers. Just two months after releasing the Surface Pro 2, the updated version of the original Surface tablet that includes support for desktop apps, Microsoft has quietly bumped up the device’s performance.
Microsoft confirmed that it’d made changes to the processor inside the Surface Pro 2 in a statement sent to The Verge this afternoon. In that statement the company also elaborated on its hardware upgrade policy, saying: “Microsoft routinely makes small changes to internal components over the lifetime of a product, based on numerous factors including supply chain partnerships, availability and value for our customers. With any change to hardware or software, we work to ensure that the product experience remains excellent.”
Strictly speaking, all device makers do this. In fact, smartphone and tablet makers like Samsung, routinely modify internal components based on the factors Microsoft mentions in its statement. The trouble here is that the low-key way in which Microsoft made the change makes it look like it was trying to keep the hardware upgrade under wraps so that users who just purchased the Surface Pro 2 wouldn’t rally in outrage.
To be clear, Microsoft upgraded the Surface Pro 2 from a processor clocked at 1.6GHz to 1.9GHz, which is a big enough speed bump to make a difference in some resource intensive apps. The Verge’s report indicates that the Intel Core i5 4300U processor now included in the Surface Pro 2 also ships with Intel’s new Trusted Execution software security technology.
Though Microsoft doesn’t share its exact reason for changing the processor, it’s possible that the company made the change to help ease supply shortages. Surface Pro 2 units have been hard to come by in recent months, alluding to a possible supply shortage.
Microsoft isn’t charging any extra for the slightly updated Surface Pro 2. The device starts at $899 with 64GB of storage. In theory, the refreshed Surface Pro 2 should begin showing up at retail locations any day now.