Microsoft seems to be planning a significant design upgrade for its Surface Line of convertible PCs and laptop devices. Going by a recent patent filing by the Redmond based company, future Surface devices might be seen incorporating a modular design theme that would enable users to interchange components and panels to ensure the devices remain fresh and updated.

Among the most important aspect that might undergo a change is a possibility of adding broadband chips to allow connecting to high-speed internet connectivity. That would be a huge boon for some who might have bought the standard Wi-Fi model owing to cost considerations. However, with a modular setup, users can always upgrade to the faster cellular model by swapping out the Wi-Fi component to fit in the cellular modem for the same.

The option to change the panels will also have its own advantages in that users can interchange with a different panel as and when needed. This way, they can retain a ‘fresh’ feel with their device by shunting out the old panel, more so if it has acquired scratches during the time it has been put to use.

A modular design concept for the Surface range is also considered to be Microsoft’s way of countering the new MacBook range powered by the M1 chip. Both the latest MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models powered by the company’s in-house M1 chip lack a cellular model as of now. if Microsoft is able to provide a means for upgrading to the cellular model simply by fitting in a cellular modem, that would make for a cost-effective way to upgrade.

In fact, a modular design has a lot of other advantages as users will be saved from upgrading to the latest model each time. While this saves a lot of costs, such a concept also has immense environmental ramifications as well as this will prevent the accumulation of e-waste. Companies would naturally desist from engaging in the mad race to launch a new model every year.

Unfortunately, all of this is based on a recent patent filing on part of Microsoft and that hardly is a sign of this being a certainty with any forthcoming model. Even if it is, it could be a couple of years more for that to become a reality. Microsoft usually launches a new Surface Pro device every two years. With the Surface Book 3 just a few months old, a new Surface, modular or otherwise, isn’t likely to arrive before 2022 at least.