Here’s what Surface is Planning to Release in 2019

Posted on November 29, 2018 by Brad Sams in Hardware with 49 Comments

As we wrap up 2018, it’s time to take a look at what Microsoft has planned for the year ahead when it comes to Surface. Conveniently, I wrote a book on this topic (the inside story of building the entire brand, that you can read about here) which is how I came across this information.

Initially, my plan was to not post any of this and leave it in the book but knowing that anyone is $10 away from a roadmap of Microsoft’s upcoming products, there was no way to keep it out of the headlines. All this being said, some of these products are a year or more away which means plans will, and often do, change; typically I wait until I know exactly when something will release before posting but here we are.

Surface Laptop is scheduled to be refreshed in Q4 of next year, the interesting bit here is that Microsoft may use an AMD chip for some models of the device. The company is still exploring chipset options and is waiting for the silicon to materialize but it’s on the agenda to take a look at team red for a possible laptop upgrade.

Surface Studio is not expected to be updated next year. Instead, look for a significant update in 2020 that will utilize the ‘compute-module’ style design being pioneered with the new Surface Hub.

If you want a Surface monitor, this is as a close as you may get, an all-in-one PC with a swappable compute unit. I love this idea: monitors last much longer than CPUs and by being able to upgrade the ‘compute’ portion of the Surface Studio, this makes it easier to stretch the lifecycle of the product for the end-user.

Microsoft is working on a new ‘ambient’ device that it may launch in the spring of 2019. This device is said to work with a mobile phone and may help with text input and navigation; details are still a bit murky here but that’s what I’m hearing currently.

As for Andromeda, it’s growing up; look at Intel’s Tiger Rapids prototype, Microsoft is working on a Surface device of this style. So it’s not quite the pocketable design that we have been seeing in all of the patents but is a bit larger. Again, this device will ship when it’s ready and there is justification for it but the company sees it as a visionary device and it is currently slated for a Q4 release.

And the device that started the entire book, the Surface Pro will get heavily updated in Q4 of 2019 with thinner bezels, new color options, USB-C, and a few other enhancements.

If you have made it this far, you will like the rest of the content in the book, Beneath a Surface. It’s the inside story of how Microsoft built the powerhouse PC brand that led to the creation of this post.

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Comments (51)

51 responses to “Here’s what Surface is Planning to Release in 2019”

  1. will

    ...and the updates move along.

    While USB-C is good, it would be disappointing if they do not move to TB3. eGPU's are a great addition for people that want the power at a desktop, but the portability when on the go.

    • BigM72

      In reply to will:

      Even without a use-case, I think it makes the marketing much simpler if it is TB3. Quite simply, it can then do everything you might have heard that you can do with a USB-C port.

      I thought this was going to be ready now because Intel brought the PCIe bus on-chip or something like that which reduced the cost/complexity of adding it in.

    • drewidian

      In reply to will:

      While TB3 is great and needed, I really want a MicroSD card and a SIM(or eSIM) card slots on the clipboard on the Surface Book 3. As MicroSD capacities get greater, I'd love to have my OneDrive files here instead of using up my valuable NVMe storage.

  2. Travelrobert

    When can I buy my Surface 6 with LTE?

  3. VancouverNinja

    Thanks for the update Brad. All of these device launch plans match up to exactly what I have been anticipating MS to be have been planning over the last few years. The releases of them in 2019, or announcements for early 2020 releases, should close the loop of the device system ecosystem for MS. The surprise, from what you have written, is whether Andromeda will fill that mobile device space for MS or if it is leaning towards a courier design format; which would be surprising to me and still leave a mobile solution missing.

  4. Simard57

    Any news on the Surface Go?

  5. remc86007

    I'd love a Surface Studio Monitor that I could hook up to my Surface Book with the Surface Connector. If they came out with that below $1500. I'd probably buy it and start saving for a new Surface Book too.

    • lvthunder

      In reply to remc86007:

      Keep dreaming. There is no way that would cost under $1500. The computer part of the Studio is not a $2500 computer.

      • curtisspendlove

        In reply to lvthunder:

        Agreed. There is no such thing as a cheap 4K touchscreen.

        The cheapest I’ve seen are at least $2,000, with most being in the low- to mid-$3,000’s.

        It it would be awesome, to be sure. But they are still very pricey for good ones.

        If you really want to crap a brick or few, take a look at the prices on the 65” 4K multitouch screens. But man I’d love to have one of those mounted to a drafting table.

        ^ tell me that isn’t gorgeous. ;)

  6. glenn8878

    A more powerful Surface Go would be a good idea. Then sell this year's high end Surface Go for $150 cheaper next year.

  7. faustxd9

    Thanks for the update and writing the book! When I first head about the Surface Hub compute module I imediately thought "hey they could use this in Surface Studio". Great to hear that they are giving that beast a longer life span. Plus it could save them money buy not having displays sitting around with the version of CPU that not many people wanted.

  8. Rycott

    No point in reading the book now... You spoiled the ending! :P

  9. SupaPete

    i HATE the compute module concept of the surface hub and would be VERY unhappy if they bring that onto the next surface studio.

    V 1 of the studio had way too weak internals, V2 a bit more acceptable, but still too underpowered for my liking.

    I was hoping with V3 they would finally allow high end desktop grade options like a high end desktop grade NVidia card.

    and also to allow to use it as external display.

    If they instead go the route of making it even way less expandable/reusable by only allowing upgrades by basically replacing the whole computer part with a newer compute module (where then you end up with an old compute module which is good for exactly nothing), yeah, no thank you.

    Sorry, this is not the direction desktop computers should go and should be flamed with good reason.

    • lvthunder

      In reply to SupaPete:

      It's not a desktop computer. Thinking that it is a desktop is a bit misguided. It's basically a laptop with a huge screen. I know because I have one and absolutely love it.

      • SupaPete

        In reply to lvthunder: i don't understand your comment. I'm talking about the surface studio. You know, the desktop all in one which totally is not to be used in any way like a laptop.
        Like neither on your lap nor portable.
        I would buy it in the max specked out version if
        a) one can have it with pretty much the best spec desktop hardware (so like the latest desktop nvidia 2080 for example, or whatever the latest best desktop highend graphic cards are when they release the next studio)
        b) one could also use it as external display.

        I would be totally ok to pay what that costs (so a good bit more in that option than with the mobile gpu option), since, well, it would be my ultimate desktop work station and a quite reasonable expense for that then.

        but paying such a high price as the surface studio costs for something with mobile grade hardware but is stationary so none of the benefits of a mobile grade hardware form factor?
        That just doesn't make much sense to me, no matter how much i love the screen and hinge, if it is a stationary device i want it to be the ultimate powerhouse which is the only use case i have for stationary desktops/all in ones these days.

        For every other use case on the more mobile/portable computing i already have phones, tablets, laptops etc.

        I just don't get the sense at all in paying a premium for a desktop work station which has weaker hardware internals than the less than 1.5k desktop tower box i put together myself, nor can the surface studio be used as external display, so then i can't use it with my more powerful desktop rig either.

        MS has to decide what they want with this thing.

        Do they want to achieve to offer the ultimate desktop work station which most creative pros would really buy then or doesn't MS want to achieve that.

        If yes, then it better offers options with desktop grade high end hardware internals and also the option to use it as external display.

        If not, then it better should not be priced in the regions of the ultimate desktop work stations.

        I find it a shame, because besides the weak mobile internals and not being usable as external display this has all the form factor hype potential of really becoming the ultimate desktop work station for all creative pros.

        (not just ones who somehow require high res screen and art creation focus but somehow at the same time no proper desktop graphics card)

        And yet again i again can't buy the V2 and have to hope for them maybe finally addressing things properly fully next iteration, sadly probably at best in a year.
        (I'd be so happy if they would even in mid cycle offer higher end config options)

        Come on MS, you can do it.

        Don't get stuck on "but no, we have to offer this with this slimmest thinnest shortest base! We just can't fit in desktop internals in there!"

        Offer a model with base or thickness /volume where one put really current standard high end desktop hardware in it.

        Allow using it as external display, too.

        The biggest market for a device like this would be the professionals who would lovingly hand out that money if you offer them what they want.

  10. FalseAgent

    a modular surface studio might actually be revolutionary.

  11. bluesman57

    I am an unabashed massive Surface Pro fan. (Could care less about the "book" or "laptop") I have every Surface Pro except the Surface Pro "5". (Yes I bought a Go and I love it for an around the house reader- and I have left it in S mode!) I was going to wait for a Surface Pro with USB C but the battery on my 3 year old SP4 has degraded to the point where it's good for about 30 minutes at best. So I went for the Cyber Monday deal and ordered a black core i7 SP6 bundle. Got about $350 off, supposedly. Love these things, but the battery needs to be replaceable. At least all the accessories are compatible (dock, keyboard, pen etc.) Will get it Monday.

    I own a few restaurants and the SP1 and SP2 are in use as of now for various things. They are connected to power because the batteries on them are toast, of course.

  12. digiguy

    I am looking forward to 2 surface devices that have not been rumored. A 360° surface laptop and and surface go with a new Qualcomm chip. Given that reports of the SN850 say it's faster that the surface go even with x86 in emulation, this could be a killer device for mobility if it gets an even more powerful chip...

    Personally I think the future of mobility if between ipads and WIndows on Arm. If IOS 13 comes with a proper file system that can also take external storage, with mouse support and a destktop safari, this will hurt PCs (and Macs) badly... I have already replaced my surface 3 LTE with an ipad pro LTE (instead of a surface go) because of great stand-by (and I connect remotely when I need a windows software). Only WOA could prevent ipads from taking over if Apple decides to make them really "pro".

  13. jaredthegeek

    So instead of Andromeda we will get a Courier, a project they tried in 2008 and killed in 2010, but I really hope its designed with LTE integrated from the beginning. Its interesting how early MS gets some ideas and the tech is not ready and they drop it and the rest of the world picks it up a few years later. I really home that we get a courier. Its what i would really like in a portable but I was one of the crazy people who thought 8 inch tablets with a stylus would be everywhere by now. Instead we have big long phones.

  14. ndelena

    No Surface Book 3 for 2019? Why does it feel like the Surface Book is the odd man out in the lineup?

  15. Noel

    I hope they release an updated Surface Book alongside the updated Surface Pro. Then I can finally decide which grown up Surface can replace my Surface 3

  16. MutualCore

    For me the ultimate setup for 2020 might be a tricked-out Mac Mini with Surface monitor.

  17. ecumenical

    "new color options"

    Yes please! I won't speak for others but I'd love a rich/dark orange type cover along the lines of the Lenovo Yoga line.

  18. webdev511

    Good to know. It's obvious now that this year's updates were almost all limited to new silicon on existing PCBs. USB-C across the board next year will be very welcome indeed.

  19. PeterC

    So thinner bezels for the surface pro - interesting. I wonder if bigger screen in same size enclosure or smaller enclose and same screen size?

    >>Edit: and what about those cameras in the bezel? through screen or notch I wonder.

    Whats an "ambient" device? that works with a mobile phone and helps text input and navigation? Curious.

  20. shameermulji

    "If you want a Surface monitor, this is as a close as you may get, an all-in-one PC with a swappable compute unit."

    What's gonna be the difference between this and the Surface Studio?

  21. colmob

    Perhaps a minor point, but it's making me hesitate about a Surface Go; any sign of a black one coming out soon?

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