Microsoft has officially announced its fall Surface event, currently scheduled for Wednesday, October 12. Like every year, this is the event Microsoft holds to focus squarely on new Surface PCs, and this year we’re rumored to be in for a big launch.
The Surface lineup has been quiet in 2022 so far, with only a couple of updated budget offerings launching. All that will change on October 12, when we’ll get a look at what Chief Product officer Panos Panay and the team have been working on.
Surface Pro 9
Since 2019, Microsoft has had two similar versions of the Surface Pro in the lineup: the standard Surface Pro and the Surface Pro X. At launch, the Surface Pro X was the sleeker, more advanced model, while the standard Surface Pro 8 kept an older design. The other major difference was in hardware, as the Surface Pro X ran on a custom Qualcomm chip called the SQ1 (or SQ2 the following year) and the Surface Pro ran on a traditional Intel chip.
The next Surface Pro, however, is rumored to converge these two products. Microsoft watcher Zac Bowden of Windows Central has claimed that the Surface Pro X will be merged into the Surface Pro 9, meaning the option for Intel or Qualcomm will both be available. The two chip options would include Intel’s 12th-gen chips and the 5G-enabled SQ3, based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3.
The Surface Pro 9 is also rumored to get two new color options: forest green and sapphire blue. These would be in addition to the standard silver and black options, of course. Beyond that, we don’t have much info on changes to the overall design of the device.
Surface Laptop 5
Like the Surface Pro 9, we don’t currently know much about design changes to the Surface Laptop 5. Microsoft often keeps these designs quite static year over year, so it wouldn’t be too big of a surprise to find out that the Surface Laptop 5 looks identical to the Surface Laptop 4. In fact, this is the same exact design we’ve seen since the launch of the Surface Laptop line in 2017.
It’s still expected to be offered in both a 13.5-inch model and a 15-inch model, but there’s a rumor that the Surface Laptop 5 could pick up the same sage green color option that appeared on the Surface Laptop Go 2. According to Bowden, this may be the first Surface Laptop to include a Thunderbolt port, which has been highly requested in the past.
Beyond those, it’s not hard to think of some updates that I wish would come to the Surface Laptop 5. It needs an updated 1080p webcam, and I’d love to see a larger, haptic feedback touchpad, as well as an improved variable refresh rate screen. And hey, some thinner bezels might look nice too.
The big question with the Surface Laptop 5 is around its processor. The past two generations of the line have included an AMD Ryzen model, and in the Surface Laptop 4, that greatly expanded both battery life and multi-core performance. We’ll have to wait and see if this partnership continues with the Surface Laptop 5.
Surface Studio 3 Dan Baker/Digital Trends
It’s been all but confirmed that a new Surface Studio 3 is on the way. That’s a relief, given its been almost four years since the launch of the Surface Studio 2. In tech terms, that feels like an eternity. The “zero gravity” hinge still feels unique in the world of all-in-one PCs, so it’s great to see that Microsoft hasn’t abandoned the project altogether.
The only problem? From what we can tell, the Surface Studio 3 will look nearly identical to its predecessor. As leaked by a recent Federal Communicatiosn Commission (FCC) report, a photo shows a PC that has no visible changes from the previous model. All we can hope for is a significant boost to power, since the previous model suffered from some weak performance due to its mobile chip.
The accessories bundled with the Surface Studio 3, however, do seem to be getting a small refresh this time around. The tweet below shows a tweaked keyboard, mouse, and Surface Pen. Hopefully, that means there’s more in store for the Surface Studio 3 than we can see right now.
Here's a first look at the refreshed Surface Keyboard and Surface Pen, which I assume are being updated for the upcoming Surface Studio 3 this fall pic.twitter.com/RJs8qYrkar
— Zac Bowden (@zacbowden) August 31, 2022
Everything Microsoft probably won’t announce
Rumors about an updated Surface Studio Laptop 2 have been disappointingly quiet. That’s unfortunate, because the original Surface Laptop Studio was a device that I liked quite a bit thanks to its unique form factor, excellent build quality, and decent performance. It’d be a shame to see Microsoft let this one slide, especially since it represents the only Surface PC with a discrete GPU inside. It could really benefit from an update to Intel’s 12th-gen processors, if nothing else.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be a product that Microsoft keeps updated on an annual cycle.
Nick Woodard/Digital Trends
The Surface Earbuds are the other product Microsoft has seemingly forgotten about. Originally released in 2019, we haven’t heard so much of a peep about a possible follow-up to Microsoft’s divisive wireless buds. In a space this competitive, Microsoft can’t dream of actually succeeding with this product if it doesn’t continue to support the line moving forward. Microsoft doesn’t have a version of its wireless buds with ANC to match Apple’s AirPods Pro (or countless other options), and making that happen could be a way of getting Microsoft’s earbuds back in the spotlight.
You might say a similar thing about the Surface Duo, the company’s dual-screen Android smartphone. While interesting, the novelty of a phone with two screens quickly faded with the advent of foldable smartphones. Recent patents show that the Surface Duo 3 may get reborn with a foldable screen, but it’s certainly not happening anytime soon.
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