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.

Comments (25)

25 responses to “prediction for the heavily redesigned Surface Pro "Carmel"”

  1. Paul Thurrott

    This is a reasonable guess. The existing kickstand inhibits thinner designs.

    • Bdsrev

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      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

  2. PhilipVasta

    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).

    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.

    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.

  3. Tony Barrett

    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!

  4. Bats

    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.

    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.

    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.

  5. wp7mango

    I would like to see software bezels, where the bezel size is changed dynamically depending on usage.

    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.

  6. MacLiam

    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.

    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.

    • Paul Thurrott

      In reply to MacLiam:

      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.

      I would also imagine a minimal bezel design like the new iPad Pro.

      • robincapper

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        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?

      • Bdsrev

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        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

  7. jwpear

    Seems like a bar would be less durable. How does it feel on your Spectre?

    It's difficult for me to imagine what else they could do. Maybe a little thinner and lighter. Perhaps slightly larger screen--13 inches?

    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?

    • Bdsrev

      In reply to jwpear:

      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

  8. DLF

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

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