I get this question a lot: Midstream in Surface Pro 3’s life cycle and on the eve of the Windows 10 launch, should you pull the trigger on this device or wait for Microsoft to release a presumed Surface Pro 4?
David J. asks:
I typically refresh my computer every 3 years and I am at the point where I would normally be purchasing a new laptop. This year I was going to replace my laptop with a Surface Pro 3 but then I started wondering whether it be best for me to wait for the Surface Pro 4 (which would hopefully have a better performing processor, better batter life, etc). Of course there is the uncertainty of how long I would be waiting. I recognize this comes down to a personal decision but was wondering what your thoughts are.
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So this is a tough one. Over the course of the past two Surface Pro updates, Microsoft has moved very quickly, with the average life span of each devices being 9 months (rather than, say, a year). So if they retain this schedule, then the Surface Pro 4 could be announced at any time and could ship as soon as March.
Will that happen this time?
In favor of this schedule is that the processor in each Surface Pro has been behind a generation at launch, and that Microsoft should want to get into on the current-gen Core processor family ASAP (and perhaps even ship a Core M “non-Pro” Surface).
But Windows 10 kind of scuttles this thinking. Why would they release another Surface Pro–one that might have better battery life but not much else new–just months before a major OS release? Obviously, they could/would promise free Windows 10 upgrades. But they are already waiting on Windows 10 for new Lumia flagship phones. And if I were betting, I’d put money on Microsoft waiting for Windows 10 to release a new Surface Pro (or any other new Surface model).
So should you wait?
Yes, it’s a personal decision. The current hardware is pretty great. If you need it now, go for it. But if this is discretionary, I’d wait. If this were my own money, I’d wait.