Microsoft has a massive hardware event planned that could mark the Surface Pro 4 release and more. That’s according to new reports that also indicate Microsoft is planning to reveal the Microsoft Band 2, Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL on the same day.
Chinese website WPDang is reporting that Microsoft will hold a huge hardware focused event sometime during the month of September. Besides revealing the Surface Pro 4 release date, the outlet expects Microsoft to refresh almost all of its hardware line-up. That includes the Lumia 950, Lumia 950 XL, Microsoft Band 2 and a slimmer Xbox One console.
Allegedly, the Surface Pro 4 release won’t mark any big changes in design. That makes sense as Microsoft has said publicly that it’s committed to the docks and Surface Pro 3 accessories that are available today. That commitment rules out big changes in ports and screen-size.
Allegedly, the Surface Pro 4 will pick up some kind of hardware to allow users to take advantage of Windows Hello. Windows Hello is Microsoft’s effortless, sensor log-in system. Many Windows 10 notebooks use Intel RealSense cameras to let users login without pushing a single button. Just this week Intel showed off new Skylake processors that let users start their PCs and give the Cortana personal assistant orders even when their PC is asleep. The Surface Pro 4 launched with Intel Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 processors last year. Even if Microsoft chooses not to use a Skylake processor, the Surface Pro 4 release should usher in new processor upgrades.
Building on the original report, The Verge believes that the Surface Pro 4 could include a fingerprint scanner like every flagship iPhone has since the iPhone 5s. This hardware would be there instead of the Intel RealSense camera, which can’t fit into something as thin as the current Surface Pro form factor, reportedly. The outlet also believes that Microsoft could have a refined Surface Type Cover with the Surface Pro 4.
Though some might be disappointed in a more restrained Surface Pro 4 upgrade, skipping an all-out revamp makes sense for Microsoft. The Surface Pro 3 is Microsoft’s first big success story in the hardware space outside of the Xbox One. Clearly, users enjoy the form factor already. Tampering with it too much could hurt enthusiasm for it. Apple approaches new hardware upgrades from this angle to. It only massively updates its designs every other year. Sandwiched in-between those bigger refreshes are incremental updates with a faster processors and maybe a new sensor.
The Surface Pro line is where Microsoft’s past meets its new future. Before the Surface lines launched, Microsoft relied on hardware makers to invest in new form factors. Sometimes they did, but they often stayed with safe proven PC designs like the notebook.
The Surface Pro 3 is a tablet that can replace a notebook, not a notebook trying to emulate the tablet form factor as best it can. Everything that the Surface Pro 3 needs is built into its metal body. Users simply remove the attachable Type Cover and it’s a tablet. Extend the rear-facing kickstand and a attach the Type Cover and they have a notebook that can be used in their lap. With Windows 10, the form factor makes even more sense. The free operating system upgrade has a Tablet Mode for when it doesn’t detect hardware keyboards. It can switch in and out of Tablet Mode on command or automatically.
Surface Pro 3 devices start at $799 directly from Microsoft’s website, but users need to factor in the cost of the Type Cover if they plan on using it as both notebook and tablet. Theoretically, the Surface Pro 4 release will include configurations at the same price.