prediction for the heavily redesigned Surface Pro "Carmel"

Mary Jo says the Surface Pro will be heavily redesigned for 2019 and that makes sense, considering the Surface Pro 3, 4 and 2017 are pretty much identical (just the insides changed). I have an educated prediction for the device: I think Microsoft will switch from the current ‘flap’ style kickstand to a bar-style kickstand seen in Surface Pro clones such as the HP Spectre (do a google image search for HP Spectre kickstand to see the bar style kickstand if you aren’t familiar). I know the Surface team puts a lot of attention on component packaging and weight balance/weight distribution and a bar-style kickstand would be a significant improvement over the flap-kickstand. I also believe a bar kickstand could allow the device to be slightly thinner. We have an HP spectre 2-in-1 at home and the bar kickstand just makes for a nicer overall device than the flap on the surface pro.

Conversation 25 comments

  • Paul Thurrott

    Premium Member
    01 July, 2018 - 8:41 am

    <p>This is a reasonable guess. The existing kickstand inhibits thinner designs.</p>

    • Bdsrev

      01 July, 2018 - 1:37 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#287578"><em>In reply to paul-thurrott:</em></a></blockquote><p>Ya and it's amazing what engineers can do with that extra space that bar kickstands free up, it can make a huge difference in the device, maybe even allowing them to fit in a larger battery. I would love to see this in the next Surface Pro</p>

  • DLF

    02 July, 2018 - 10:39 am

    <p>Slightly thinner, with a "bar" instead of a "flap," constitutes a "heavily redesigned" Surface Pro. OK, if you say so. :)</p>

    • Bdsrev

      02 July, 2018 - 1:45 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#287731"><em>In reply to DLF:</em></a></blockquote><p>I didn't mean this would be the only change, surely there would be other changes like 'virtual' transforming bezels (when you remove the keyboard, the bezels get bigger). </p>

  • jwpear

    Premium Member
    02 July, 2018 - 9:31 pm

    <p>Seems like a bar would be less durable. How does it feel on your Spectre?</p><p><br></p><p>It's difficult for me to imagine what else they could do. Maybe a little thinner and lighter. Perhaps slightly larger screen–13 inches?</p><p><br></p><p>How about the ability to dock it in an optional frame that turns it into a true laptop that is lapable? Is this in the cards at all with the Surface Book?</p>

    • Bdsrev

      02 July, 2018 - 11:13 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#287963"><em>In reply to jwpear:</em></a></blockquote><p>The bar kickstand on the HP feels solid, I can't imagine it warping. That's another reason I think the bar is better than the flap, the flap is super thin aluminum that can warp pretty easily. The U-bar kickstand is just a better design, I really love it </p>

  • MacLiam

    Premium Member
    05 November, 2018 - 10:56 am

    <p>Months late, I know, but we have now seen the Pro 6 and it doesn't have a bar. I'm kind of glad that the traditional support has been retained, because there is one situation in which I use a Pro where the bar support would be useless. Sitting in an easy chair or on a sofa, a crossed leg holds the keyboard at a good typing angle, but the screen needs something behind it to prop it at a good viewing angle. A slightly opened bar or flap is useless because the package is top heavy and falls back. If you open the support all the way, a bar would reach beyond your knee and the screen would fall lower than you wish. With the flap, the knee hits the underside of the support and can hold the screen at the angle you want.</p><p><br></p><p>For bar fans, since the Surface may get a bar eventually, there's a probable workaround: put a basic 15-inch clipboard under the Surface. This extends beyond the knee and would let a bar support be used.</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      05 November, 2018 - 1:29 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#360926">In reply to MacLiam:</a></em></blockquote><p>When I talked to Microsoft about Surface Go they noted that that design was as thin as it could get because of the kickstand and the width requirements of USB-C. So a bar isn't a horrible idea, to get around that.</p><p><br></p><p>I would also imagine a minimal bezel design like the new iPad Pro.</p>

      • Bdsrev

        05 November, 2018 - 5:10 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#360986">In reply to paul-thurrott:</a></em></blockquote><p>I also read somewhere credible that the 'flap kickstand' concept is not the optimal design for a 2-in-1. It forces you to make the flap as thin as possible, but then it's prone to warping (my Surface Pro's kickstand is slightly warped…). This design can also make the device top heavy, and it also forces them to put in a thinner battery (this is not a good thing). Overall, you're just getting a worse device with no real upsides. I really hope the next Surface Pro and Surface Go have bar kickstands</p>

      • robincapper

        06 November, 2018 - 10:49 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#360986">In reply to paul-thurrott:</a></em></blockquote><p>Don't get the obsession with 'thin', beyond where they are at (other than Apple aping). Leave it the same and add an hour or two hour battery life seems a much better compromise?</p>

        • Bdsrev

          06 November, 2018 - 11:24 pm

          <blockquote><em><a href="#361539">In reply to robincapper:</a></em></blockquote><p>Maybe I wasn't clear enough: so a bar design would allow you to have the same amount of battery in a thinner package. If you go with a flap kickstand, it results in a thicker device with no battery life increase</p>

          • Chris_Kez

            Premium Member
            07 November, 2018 - 8:08 am

            <blockquote><em><a href="#361541">In reply to Bdsrev:</a></em></blockquote><p>Good clarification.</p>

            • jean

              08 November, 2018 - 2:42 am

              <blockquote><em><a href="#361601">In reply to Chris_Kez:</a></em></blockquote><p>personally I would rather have NO kickstand at all – this is even lighter and allows for an even thinner package. If you'd need a Kickstand – why not something ultra light you can attach to favorably in two modes: Kickstand or lap-able (like a laptop shell) : something like a Lenovo Yoga-ish experience – ideally with a second battery pack to further improve the battery life and resolve some of the top-heaviness </p><p><br></p>

  • PhilipVasta

    05 November, 2018 - 4:50 pm

    <p>After having owned a Surface Pro 4 for the past three years, I tend to think the whole keyboard/kickstand thing should probably be scrapped in favor of an expanded Surface Book line. (I just got a Surface Laptop 2, mainly because it offered 8th gen Intel chips at my price range whereas the SB currently does not).</p><p><br></p><p>Don't get me wrong, I love the SP4, and it served me well. But that form factor was conceived as a differentiator in comparison to the iPad in 2012. As in, wow, look what that Microsoft tablet can do! The problem is that it's not 2012 anymore. The Surface Pro is used and marketed as a laptop, not a tablet. Even when you do use the SP as a tablet, Windows 10's tablet mode is an unpolished step back from what Windows 8 offered in that area. And the SP is clumsy as a laptop. Meanwhile, the Surface Book retains the Pro's key advantage of being able to tear off the screen and use it as a tablet, without sacrificing the advantages inherent in the traditional laptop form-factor. Stiff hinge, better balance, smaller footprint, etc.</p><p><br></p><p>Now, if MS were to consolidate the lineup in that way, I'd like to see the Surface Book base sold separately, with some personalization similar to what the Type Covers provide. But overall, I just feel like the Surface Pro is a very compromised style of computer, the problems of which the Surface Book has already solved.</p>

    • Bdsrev

      05 November, 2018 - 5:14 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#361078">In reply to PhilipVasta:</a></em></blockquote><p>For drawing, apparently a kickstand is better than the Surface Book design, and a lot of Surface Pro users complained about drawing on the Surface Book. But I agree, eventually they will settle on the kickstand concept or the Surface Book style concept</p>

      • PhilipVasta

        05 November, 2018 - 7:55 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#361088">In reply to Bdsrev:</a></em></blockquote><p>That's interesting, I could see that being an issue. Hopefully they could evolve the SB design in such a way as to accommodate that.</p>

    • Salvador Jesús Romero Castellano

      07 November, 2018 - 4:32 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#361078">In reply to PhilipVasta:</a></em></blockquote><p>Well said. However, the mechanism to separate the screen must be costly. A Surface Laptop that can open all the way around, like a Lenovo Yoga, to use it as a tablet with pen would suffice for me. I cannot fathom why they didn't do that. Perhaps in other not to boycott their other products lines or to annoy Lenovo.</p>

    • sott3

      Premium Member
      08 November, 2018 - 9:29 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#361078">In reply to PhilipVasta:</a></em></blockquote><p>I agree that as a tablet, the SP4 has not taken off. We bought dozens of them for our office, but everyone uses them as laptops and rarely as tablets. In fact we are starting to move away from Surface Pros towards the Surface Laptop. Bigger screen and better typing experience. </p>

  • wp7mango

    Premium Member
    05 November, 2018 - 6:00 pm

    <p>I would like to see software bezels, where the bezel size is changed dynamically depending on usage.</p><p><br></p><p>In tablet mode, the bezels would be bigger so you can hold the device easily, whereas in laptop mode the bezels could disappear with full edge to edge screen real estate.</p>

    • Daishi

      Premium Member
      06 November, 2018 - 9:01 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#361100">In reply to WP7Mango:</a></em></blockquote><p>The difficulty I see with this idea that it would require Microsoft to give two s#!ts about tablet mode, which thus far they have shown no evidence of.</p>

  • Bats

    05 November, 2018 - 8:35 pm

    <p>I have the HP Spectre 2-in-1, as well. It's clearly a more elegant looking computer than the Surface Pro. I was ready to buy the Surface Pro last year, than I opted for the better looking Spectre. </p><p><br></p><p>Design-wise/Looks-wise, the best kind of portable computers are the one that are wrapped in leather or other material like the IPad Pro or the HP Spectre Folio. We are talking not just 360 degree protection, but the simply and elegance of leather to material disguise and object made of electronic parts. </p><p><br></p><p>Microsoft has never been great with design. I don't know why Microsoft doesn't try. If they did, Surface Pro popularity would improve, IMO. </p>

  • Tony Barrett

    07 November, 2018 - 12:07 pm

    <p>You can spend ages guessing what the next SP looks like, but MS should just get a 3rd party to design it who know what they're doing, or actually employ some proper designers. MS have never been good at hardware design – it's not in their DNA. Come to that, their ability to develop software is also a big question at the moment too!</p>

    • wp7mango

      Premium Member
      07 November, 2018 - 2:51 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#361649">In reply to ghostrider:</a></em></blockquote><p>Microsoft is very good at hardware design. All their recent designs over the past few years have been superb, which as a result has forced OEMs to improve their design skills too. </p>

    • jchampeau

      Premium Member
      08 November, 2018 - 8:19 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#361649">In reply to ghostrider:</a></em></blockquote><p>Have you <em>used</em> a Surface Studio? It's the nicest PC I've ever laid hands on.</p>

      • MacLiam

        Premium Member
        10 November, 2018 - 5:51 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#361962">In reply to jchampeau:</a></em></blockquote><p>I agree about the Studio: best computer I've ever used, all formats compared.</p>

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