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Author Topic: Microsoft’s October 2 Surface Hardware event: Everything we know so far  (Read 99 times)
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« on: September 18, 2019, 11:15:09 AM »

Microsoft has announced its annual October Surface hardware event for 2019. From what we’ve heard so far, it’s shaping up to be quite a big one.

This is usually Microsoft’s chance to show off updates to all its new product lines, and this time around, we may even get a sneak preview of the futuristic, dual-screen 2-in-1 we’ve been waiting years to see. Here’s everything we know so far.

Time and location

The event is currently scheduled for Wednesday, October 2, in New York City. We don’t have a specific time yet, but in the past, these events have been held in the early afternoon, ET.

Word is that the event will be live-streamed, although last year, it was not.

Surface Pro 7

A lot of what we’re expecting from the event is based on rumors and speculation, but one thing is fairly certain: Microsoft will launch a new version of its Surface Pro. Whether or not it’ll be called the “Surface Pro 7” remains to be seen, but the rumor mill about some of its new features has been buzzing all year.

Last year’s model was a very iterative update, bringing faster processors, better battery life, and a new black color option. The rumors stated at the time that the larger redesign would be coming in 2019. That means the Surface Pro 7 could bring some significant changes to the 2-in-1’s design, which hasn’t been altered much in the six versions of it we’ve seen so far.

What’s new? Well, we’re expecting the device to finally get a USB-C port, for starters. According to a patent from late 2017, we could see a new kickstand that makes it easier to open and close. The larger changes we’re expecting are to the Type Cover, where rumors have pointed to a redesigned keyboard and touchpad. We could see everything from a second screen on the backside to a new keyboard layout. Here’s hoping we at least get some thinner bezels on this thing.

Perhaps most interestingly, rumors have indicated Microsoft might move to a Qualcomm processor for the Surface Pro 7. The first laptop to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx chip was the Samsung Galaxy Book S, announced in August. This is the first Qualcomm system on a chip to compete directly with Intel’s Core i5 chip. Going with Qualcomm would also provide built-in LTE support for the Surface Pro 7.

Surface Laptop 3

The second device we’re expecting to see is Surface Laptop 3. There have been a number of recent reports about Microsoft’s next clamshell laptop, so we’re fairly certain it will make an appearance at the event. What it’ll look like, though, is up for debate.

Recent reports have suggested Microsoft will have both the standard 13.5-inch model, as well as a 15-inch option. This wouldn’t be too hard to imagine, as Microsoft already offers two sizes for the Surface Book 2. The more outlandish rumor is that the system would be powered by AMD. That would be a huge win for AMD, though it seems a bit unlikely at this point.

Outside of that, not much is known about Surface Laptop 3. We’d expect it to also receive a much-needed USB-C port, as well as some thinner bezels, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Surface Centaurus and Windows Core OS

Perhaps the most exciting product we’re hoping to check out is a dual-screen, 2-in-1 device code-named Centaurus. If you watch Microsoft closely, you’ll know a number of dual-screen devices have been in the works for ages. It started as some kind of Surface Phone, though that was reportedly scrapped for a more tablet-sized device.

Some reports have indicated that Centaurus will have a foldable screen, possibly even using liquid internally to stabilize the hinge. If we had to guess, though, we’d say it’s a clamshell two-screen device without a physical keyboard. This wouldn’t be the first of these we’ve seen, but how Microsoft approaches it should be fairly innovative.

Centaurus is rumored to also debut a new version of Windows, known as Windows Core OS. It’s a “modular” operating system that is already being used in products like the Surface Hub 2 and HoloLens 2, though Microsoft hasn’t talked about it much. Though it might feel fairly similar to Windows 10, it could add some needed flexibility in working with two screens. We don’t expect a full breakdown on either Centaurus or Core OS at this event, though we’d like to see at least a glimpse of what Microsoft has been working on.

Surface Headphones, Surface Studio 3, and more

At last year’s event, the company trotted out four new products, so there’s precedent for a sweeping update to the lineup. We could see an update to the Surface Studio, the company’s all-in-one iMac competitor. This would line up with recent rumors about an upcoming redesigned Surface keyboard and mouse.

The smaller Surface Go could even get an update, though the rumor mill has been silent on that. The Surface Headphones were launched at last year’s event, so Microsoft could launch a version 2 of those.

Lastly, Microsoft’s other 2-in-1, the Surface Book, could get an upgrade. This one is fairly unlikely, though. The Surface Book 2 was given a spec bump earlier this year. Then again, it will have been two years since the launch of the Surface Book 2, so the timing would be right for a new version.


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