Lots of others ‘crystal ball gaze’ into the future of Microsoft’s ‘Surface’ products. Here is another perspective. A lighter tone than the usual post, here is a look at both what Microsoft are likely to do, and what they should do. 🙂 Ok, it is largely crystal ball gazing, but so it seems is every other prediction on the ‘Surface Pro’, so here is a different perspective.
1) There may be no ‘Surface Pro 5’, as a name change really makes sense.
Since releasing the original ‘Surface’ and then ‘Surface Pro’, the ‘Surface product line’ has evolved to a point where the original names are in serious need of review. Which is the most ‘professional’ product of the current range? The ‘Surface Pro’, the ‘Surface Book’ or the ‘Surface Studio’? The ‘Surface Pro’ was ‘Pro’ relative to the original ‘Surface’, and the two names made sense. Now ‘Surface’ is a family and ‘Pro’ does not describe where the ‘Surface Pro’ fits in that family. How about ‘Surface Tab Pro’ or ‘Surface Pad Pro’? Microsoft can afford to pay people to come up with a better name, but a new name is needed.
2) Two new products, one Qualcomm based, one Intel Based!
“We need to be willing to lean in to uncertainty, take risks and move quickly when we make mistakes, recognising failure happens along the way to mastery,” Nadella wrote in a 2015 memo to Microsoft employees
So what will be the new ‘non pro’ device? The philosophy of the ‘Surface’ products is to do things differently and take risks. Innovation. But as the most successful product in the Surface line-up, there is a limit to the risks that can be taken with the Surface Pro. Which is why, beyond the logic for the name change, there will logically be a new Kaby Lake CPU based device to follow on from the Surface-Pro.
Contrary to other suggestions, the USB-3 port should stay, and instead the mini-display port should upgrade to Thunderbold-3. Re-chargeable pen, improved battery life, incremental improvements.
3. The ‘Surface’ replacement, the bold step!
This is where the room to take risks exists. The recently demonstrated ability to run full windows on a Qualcomm CPU opens the door for something new, lighter and with LTE connectivity. Such a device would be the logical reason for display at MWC 2017. Running full windows on such a CPU enables a phone, but this new device needs to be another leap, and something targeting both phone and tablet is the logical solution. Phones today are ready for the next step, with so many people using hands free or earphones/headphones, do we really need a device designed to be held to our head anymore?