Microsoft Surface: What to expect in 2019
The Microsoft Surface range has undoubtedly brought some ups and downs to the tech giant. In 2013 there was a supposed $900 million write down of inventory, yet half a decade on and the product line is apparently pulling in billions. One thing’s for sure, with the end of the year coming it looks like Microsoft is going to take shelter for winter, unlikely to follow up on the recent Surface Pro 6 and Surface Laptop 2 before 2018 is out.
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In the meantime, though, we can sit around the fire and discuss some interesting new rumours, courtesy of a new book by Brad Sams on the history of the Surface range which has some suggestions of what may be around the corner.
Dual-screen devices have become quite a talking point, and Microsoft is among those spoken about. According the book, Beneath a surface, a dual-screened Surface device from Microsoft could be coming soon.
The project is codenamed ‘Andromeda’, and, according the Sams, it originally referred to a dual-screen which could fit in your pocket. However, this version has apparently been scrapped by the company’s executives, and will likely arrive in a larger form factor.
AMD instead of Intel?
As my parents told me when I was young, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Whether they were lying I can’t tell, but it for sure applies to the Surface range.
Sams suggests that Microsoft may abandon its long-running commitment to Intel chips by experimenting with arch-rivals AMD before 2019 is out.. Sams reckons this will arrive in a new version of the Surface Laptop, though it’s not clear if this will be just an option, or the only flavour of Surface Laptop 3.
Surface Studio display
When we reviewed the Surface Studio, we fell a little in love. The design and screen was sensational, and we ended up concluding it was a dream item. For most people, it will remain a dream, thanks to its frightening price of £4,249 – a whole lot of cash. Plus, we weren’t completely sold on the performance, either, which made things a little awkward considering its cost.
However, Sams suggests that both these issues could potentially be tackled in a new version, with the release of a Surface Studio display. Splitting the screen from the brains of the device not only means that people could theoretically upgrade their Surface Studio for the first time, but also lower the initial cost of entry.
Whether this move will happen is yet to be seen, but Sams believes that the roadmap points to a 2020 release. Which is fortunate as he was informed by the company that the display alone would currently be around $2,000 which most people would consider prohibitively expensive as a ‘starter kit’. Hopefully two more years can see that price drive ever downwards.
Surface Pro to have USB-C
Recent new additions to the Surface range have been released with the new USB-C port, however this pattern ended when the Surface Pro 6 and the Surface Laptop 2 turned up without one, retaining the same older ports of the previous generation. According to Sams, this was down to Microsoft’s chief product officer, Panos Panay, who apparently made the decision not to add the new ports when the products were getting updated for the new Intel chips.
As this wasn’t a technical shortcoming, it seems irrational to make this same decision again. In fact, it seems irrational to have made the decision in the first place, and it’s been claimed that the inclusion of the USB-C port is pretty much guaranteed addition.
So there we have it, enough Surface talk to carry us over until the new models… surface.