With Microsoft already having launched the Surface Laptop, the focus is back on the elusive Surface Pro 5 that would succeed the highly acclaimed Pro 4.
That again is understandable considering that the Surface Laptop is aimed at a niche segment, the college folks who need a device to help with their higher studies. Once they are past that, they need to upgrade to something that caters to a much wider segment of the computing spectrum. That is where the Pro 5 comes into the picture.
Interestingly, things also get a bit murky from here onwards. And much of that has to do with a statement made by Microsoft’s Surface chief, Panos Panay when he famously claimed, “There is no such things as a Surface Pro 5.”
A sensational statement that sure is for the corporate vice president of the Surface division at Microsoft to make. Those sure are headline stuff too and it’s no wonder the media outlets were quick to pounce on it.
Surface Pro loyalists too reacted with skepticism as to why Microsoft would like to give up on a segment that brought them back in the scene. Launched in 2015, the Surface Pro 4 has already been here for 18-months now. That equates to ages in today’s world where companies resort to upgrading their devices every year.
Also, it is here that the real significance of Panos’ statement comes to the fore. This since what the Surface chief actually wished to imply is that upgrading a PC every year by putting in place a higher powered processor and possibly a bigger memory and storage shouldn’t be seen as a true upgrade.
Instead, there should be something really innovative and technologically advanced for it to justify as a truly next-gen device.
“When it’s meaningful and the change is right, we’ll put [the next generation Surface Pro] on market,’ Panay said.
“Meaningful change isn’t necessarily a hardware change, which is what a lot of people look for. They’re like, ‘Where’s the latest processor?’ That’s not what I mean. I’m looking for an experiential change that makes a huge difference in product line.”
Panos, of course, did not specify how or in what areas the upcoming Pro 5 would excel the current Pro 4. But he did hint changes in the battery life could be one of them, along with other aspects like size or weight of the device as well.
The approach might lead to some delay in launching the Pro 5 but still demands a lot of respect given that it signifies something truly path-breaking coming our way. If that be the case then the wait is truly worth it.
For most other manufacturers, including Apple, their yearly product upgrade cycle translates to the fitment of a faster processor along with faster/more memory and storage. If Microsoft can get past that and launch a Pro 5 that makes for a radical improvement over its predecessor, it would be truly amazing.
As for the likely specs of the Surface Pro 5, here are a few guesses we can make in absence of concrete evidence. Like for instance, an Intel Kabylake chip is almost a certainty though there is also the next gen Cannonlake also in the making. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Pro 5 is delayed to say around second-half of 2018 to accommodate the Cannonlake chip.
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A 4K display is also being touted though that does not seem imminent considering the adverse impact it might have on battery life. Thereafter, the USB Type-C port too might be seen featuring on the Pro 5, a first on any Surface device.
Likewise, there are likely to be newer versions of the Surface Pen launched as well, along with improved battery life too.
On the whole, the Surface Pro 5 does seem to be the device to wait for. However, with Microsoft in no hurry to bring it to the market, investing in a Pro 4 wouldn’t be any less wise if you need to upgrade immediately.