The Next Surface Pro Has Leaked

Posted on May 20, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 53 Comments

The Next Surface Pro Has Leaked

Image credit: VentureBeat

Tech leaker Evan Blass has posted pictures of what he says is the next Surface Pro. These pictures match what I previously tweeted about the device.

Image credit: VentureBeat

As you may know, I was the first to report that the next Surface Pro was “nothing dramatic” from a change perspective, and would feature “the [same] Surface Connect power connector” as its predecessors (and not USB-C/Thunderbolt 3) and Kaby Lake-era processors.

Image credit: VentureBeat

Based on the quality my source, I knew this was accurate. But now you do, too, because Evan Blass has posted a ton of photos of the device and its accessories. And, yes, it looks just like its predecessor, the Surface Pro 4.

As Blass notes, this new Pro is expected to debut at a Microsoft event on Tuesday, May 23 in Shanghai, China. He says it will simply be called Surface Pro, and not Surface Pro 5 or Surface Pro 4 refresh, or whatever. For the record, I will point out that The Verge’s Tom Warren raised this naming possibility first at Build 2017 a few weeks back. And that it makes sense given the naming of Microsoft’s other Surface devices, none of which now feature a version number.

There are some interesting color choices, which you can see in the Surface Pen shots, that appear to mostly match the Surface Laptop colors. But no information about pricing and availability.

So we’ll need to wait for Microsoft’s event, presumably, to find out more. Stay tuned.


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Comments (53)

53 responses to “The Next Surface Pro Has Leaked”

  1. MerlinE.

    I would have loved seeing a ultra thin bezel. But the real deal breaker is the absence of USB C. Microsoft is hurting their brand with that, it feels like Microsoft is ignoring the future.

    Looks like I am going to go with a refurbished 4 to replace my Surface Pro (1).

    • captobie

      In reply to MerlinE.:
      Lack of USB C is disappointing, but not really a deal breaker. I sold my 12" MacBook to buy an SP4 in part because of the hassles of USB C. Not only are the peripherals not there yet, but those that are available are extremely flaky. I have a drawer full of USB C hubs that don't work as advertised. It's going to be a long time before USB C is widespread in peripherals (coincidentally, just like when USB A came out. I remember my first laptop with a USB port. It was a long time before I had anything to plug into it, and my first USB deceives weren't as plug and play as one would have hoped).

    • MikeGalos

      In reply to MerlinE.:

      If the only reason you haven't replaced your 4 year old computer is because the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Pro (2017) have a Type A connector on their USB 3 port rather than a Type C connector, here's your solution.

      Buy a Type A to Type C dongle.

      Don't like dongles? Then don't even think of using a computer with a Type C connector right now.

      • Kevin Holt

        In reply to MikeGalos:

        Or get a laptop with both Type A and Type C.....

        • Paul Thurrott

          In reply to Kevin Holt:

          Right. If only there were room for a USB-C port :)

        • MikeGalos

          In reply to Kevin Holt:

          Certainly a better option for any computer that has multiple USB ports right now than going all-in on either connector.

          • prjman

            In reply to MikeGalos: A USB A to USB-C converter would not give the functionality of USB-C to the device. No charging/video output etc.

            • MikeGalos

              In reply to prjman:

              Right. Having a USB Type C connector only guarantees that you can put in the plug upside down and that you don't have to look to see if the socket is blue or black to tell if it's USB 2 or USB 3.

              That's my point. USB Type C is only a connector. The difference is in which OPTIONAL Alternate Modes the vendor chose to support, if any. and whether your peripherals support the subset of those that you need to use. None of which is defined by having a USB Type C port.

              • SvenJ

                In reply to MikeGalos: But MS has the ability to add a USB-C port that does conform to what shoddy (in your experience) standards currently exist. They did it on their phones. I would have liked to see it replace the DP, if indeed they couldn't shoehorn it in elsewhere (left side maybe). There are tons of USB-C to HDMI options, and MS could easily have just guaranteed their own, and even included it, though I expect a good many would have worked, including the MS Lumia Dock, Dell's dock and probably quality Mac intended ones. I have one designed for the Mac that works on my Lumia 950/950XL pretty much. Use as a second USB port, would likely be a given, as virtually nothing I have that is USB-C doesn't work as a regular USB something. My Lumia even accepts a USB A Ethernet dongle with an A-C adapter. That would have added the second USB port which many have asked for. Optionally allowing charging, in or out seems integral to the USB-C spec. Surely the requisite negotiation could have been provided. Dell and Apple seem to be able to do it. That's really about it, HDMI, USB, Power. I don't think that would have been that risky to support. Others have, and I have numerous devices with USB-C that all seem to do pretty well vis-à-vis compatibility. I think the real reason was a lack of desire to do ANY hardware re-engineering. Bumping up processor, RAM speed, battery doesn't require redrilling any existing or new holes in the chassis, or reworking the board for new connectors. This is a refresh, not an upgrade, so minimum effort was the goal. I think it's a shame they couldn't support a connector they put on their phones two years ago, and built a dock for, because 'it's not ready'.

          • brettscoast

            In reply to MikeGalos:

            You make a good point in that while having only one connector option depending on your preference limits you to that port multiple ports offers the consumer expansion and choice which should be included on all premium priced devices such as surface pro. I detest dongles to be honest find them annoying and just another piece of hardware i have to carry around in the bag, less is more. If true the bigger issue with a new model surface pro is not having the latest 7th gen intel core i5 i7 CPU's running on them which have been available since Q3 2016.

        • TheOneX

          In reply to Kevin Holt:

          This is the correct answer. USB-C is still not ubiquitous enough to only have USB-C, at the same time there is enough USB-C out there that it should be considered standard. Every new laptop should come with both USB A and C. Anything less should be considered unacceptable.

  2. DigitalAmoeba

    Last para of Evan Blass source article says:

    Stop by again on Monday for VentureBeat’s coverage of specifications, pricing, and release details.

    So I guess not long to wait for rest of info!

    Although hard not to feel sorry for Microsoft that they again got soo close to official launch before leaks came out ☹

    • Randall Lewis

      In reply to DigitalAmoeba: I suspect this event has more to it than a refresh of the Surface Pro. Why have an event at all, and why go all the way to China to have it, just to announce a refresh?

      And its nice that Paul is giving credit to another blogger for "raising" the idea that Microsoft would call the Surface Pro, ah, the Surface Pro and stop using the version numbers. It's been a fairly common convention of lots of tech companies for some time if you pay attention at all.

  3. Darmok N Jalad

    As MS has added devices to the brand, the naming of the Surface product line seems off. The tablet version of Surface doesn't really seem like the Pro model anymore. Book or Laptop seem more like the Pro or business class device. Was "Pro" used simply because there was Surface RT/2? Surface Tab maybe?

  4. JoshWright

    It is not the most notable accessory in the product line but I do hope that MS includes a 'USB-C' in an updated version of the dock. I also hope they can fit it into a smaller form factor.

  5. cheetahdriver

    Never again, Microsoft.

    The SP4 debacle (along with my SP3 problems as MS tried fix after fix on the SP4) has soured me on MS Surface hardware for the foreseeable future. Paying top dollar for a unit 6 months after release, and then letting it set in a drawer another 6 months, and even today seeing problems that competitive hardware doesn't have, does not a brand loyalist make.

  6. whgb

    Has anyone else noticed there's no F8 on the keyboard? Makes me wonder how legit these pictures are. Not a dodgy Photoshop job?

    • Nonmoi

      In reply to whgb:

      It actually added in authenticity IMHO as PS job will just change the color of the thing, but not completely rearranged the top rows functions yet again. (current SP4 Type Cover uses F8 as Home and SP3 Type Cover on the other hand uses F8 as Setting.)

      The change in top row function is due to adding a (I assume) blue light filter hot key to F7 (which uses the same logo as brightness setting icon on earlier Type Covers, and brightness hot keys while still assigned to F1 and F2 has change to a logo of full sun with different sizes. In order to accommodate such change, all top row functions from F7 onward (based on SP4 Type Cover) has been pushed back by one key, and Ins(ert) function has been removed.

      • Simard57

        In reply to Nonmoi:

        that blue light filter key bumped Insert off the top row as well. I would expect Insert to be used more routinely than blue light.

        • Nonmoi

          In reply to Simard57:

          Yes, insert is removed to make room for blue light filter. Having a dedicated blue light hotkey is actually a good idea and will be use very often by those who will use it - mostly graphic artists that care about good night sleep and colour accuracy, front end developers want to make sure the result colour accuracy while wanting putting less stress on their eyes when coding, but also people watch movies and shows on SP4. And since SP and SB shared keyboard layout, what may make little sense on SP (editing photos or videos) will make more sense on up coming SB (if there's one).

  7. harmjr

    Still no colors for the device? They must think the Surface Pro line will slow down in sales vs. the Surface Laptop I guess...

    I am glad they are keeping the Surface connect port. However I do hope they transition to a hybrid having both Surface Connect and USB C charging in the later versions. Where I work we are so stuck to Dell because of docking stations and power cables reusability.

    I am happy I already bought my Pro 4. It will last me until the 2020 version will comes out then I will think about upgrading.

  8. Dont Fear the Future

    Any chance this new Surface Tablet is running Windows on ARM?

  9. melinau

    Sadly they've missed the boat with this.

    I love my SP4, but in recent months I've been doing more graphics-related stuff, and its simply under powered. Even Photoshop elements runs slowly.

    I was hoping for more....

  10. Narg

    I love the power connector, I hope they never change it. Also, I'm keen with the naming convention. Surface Pro (2017) is fine with me.

  11. djncanada

    Wonder if we will see updated surface docks?

    If the connector can support it, could Microsoft add a GPU into updated dock.

    That would be of great value and Microsoft would be messaging that they value customers existing investment in Surface line.

    Others are doing this today, maybe it would beef existing Surface Book configurations with better graphics.

    I would surprised if this happens tomorrow, wonder if this is Surface design teams objective in keeping existing connector?

  12. jchampeau

    It makes sense to name the successor device to Surface Pro 4 just Surface Pro in the same way it made sense to rename Lync to Skype for Business, so normal people call both platforms "Skype" and have no idea they're different until they don't work. And to rename Hotmail to Live Mail to " Mail." Then there are the Office 365 subscriptions. Can you imagine Ford renaming the F-150 to Taurus for Business, keeping the existing Taurus line of cars in production, removing the model year designation so every car and truck is just called "Taurus" for the next five years, then creating an Uber-like on-demand ride service called Taurus 365, a vehicle leasing program also called Taurus 365, and a vehicle maintenance subscription also called Taurus 365?

  13. Joseph R. Jones

    Lack of USB-C is unfortunate. Once announced and we know what the video capabilities are (specifically, in my case, whether or not it can drive my 4096x2160 display at 60hz) I will decide whether to buy it to replace my aging SP3 or start looking at alternatives.

  14. leonzandman

    So it seems the keyboard is finally going to have dedicated display brightness controls! Just like the MacBook. The current Type Cover has two dedicated *keyboard* brightness keys don't make much sense to me. I adjust the display brightness way more often. Interestingly there does seem to be *one* keyboard brightness key left (the F7 key). Other people seem to think it will be mapped to night light, but that doesn't make much sense to me. It's the exact same icon as the current keyboard brightness key, so it will probably still be used for adjusting the keyboard brightness. Just one key, instead of two. It will probably cycle through the different brightness settings, maybe it can even be combined with a shift or alt key to decrease the brightness.

  15. chaad_losan

    Microsoft has gone full circle and are now using apple's naming conventions where the press will have to add the year it was released to differentiate between the models.

  16. MikeGalos

    Looks like a nice refresh. Alcantara keyboard, upgraded components and connectors that protect my investment in peripherals since there's absolutely no good reason to change them right now. And credit to Microsoft for keeping a magnetic power connector - the best idea Apple ever came up with (and then abandoned for no reason).

    • Darmok N Jalad

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      For no reason? How about abandoning a solitary and single-purpose port and plug for a universal one that does many more things? Just providing an opportunity to charge on either side of a laptop is more valuable than a breakaway plug. That might be where Apple failed, by not putting USB-C on both sides of the MacBook and base MBP.

      Yeah, magnetic connectors can be nice when properly done (ahem, original Surface), but I'll take standardized connectors every time. Forget or lose your charger on your trip? Finding a workable replacement in a pinch is easier (or you can just borrow someone else's), and you don't get gouged for a manufacturer specific one at Best Buy.

      And what's keeping MS from simply adding a USB-C port and maybe adding charging functionality to compliment the Surface port? Seems like the best way to make the device ready for change without ticking off the folks that have a dock.

      • MikeGalos

        In reply to Darmok N Jalad:

        See my other reply about how the vague USB Type C connector is an optional suite of multiple capabilities with literally over a dozen different combinations which are all at least partly incompatible and all perfectly still meet the USB Type C spec.

        • prjman

          In reply to MikeGalos:

          I get what you are saying, but I have yet to find a Windows PC where the USB-C connected did not include functionality to A) Charge the Device B) Output Video C) Act as a USB port, all via a simple USB-C hub. In phones, you are quite right. This is simply a miss by Microsoft. Certainly, they could have substituted a USB-C port for the DisplayPort with no loss in functionality, thereby facilitating the transition to the new standard.

          • MikeGalos

            In reply to prjman:

            That you haven't seen them is not saying anything. USB C connectors so far are on high-end systems and they'd have that functionality no matter the choice of connector. When the connector becomes more ubiquitous (as the claims of it being "the future" say it will) you'll see more and more vendors choosing to not add the optional functions.

            • Nonmoi

              In reply to MikeGalos:
              "That you haven't seen them is not saying anything. USB C connectors so far are on high-end systems and they'd have that functionality no matter the choice of connector. When the connector becomes more ubiquitous (as the claims of it being "the future" say it will) you'll see more and more vendors choosing to not add the optional functions."

              So, you are saying Surface Pro is not designed and priced for high-end consumers any longer?

              Cuz, otherwise, the same target demographic will own and wanting to own other high-end products with all the optional functions. Thus, to them at least, even if your prediction come true, USB-C will be universal (for all their devices).

    • jwpear

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      Hear, hear, on the magnetic connector!  I do hope they retain that even when they decide to add USB-C.  I absolutely love them for their ease of use and extra safety they provide for such an expensive device.  Apple dropping was most definitely a step back.

  17. MikeGalos

    And, speaking of "USB C", I note that the Microsoft Lumia 950 uses a USB C connector and the Apple iPhone 7 uses a proprietary connector. I guess that means all the Apple fans are dumping their iPhones for Lumias so they can be part of the future, right?

    • BoItmanLives

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      Your defensive analogy needs work. Do you work for Microsoft?

      There's no excuse for MS omitting USB-C on a new laptop. What iPhone does or doesn't do - who cares.

      • MikeGalos

        In reply to BoItmanLives:

        Actually, I just quoted the actual specs and why they're too immature to trust. That you consider that apologetic or biased toward one vendor or another is just a sign that you are emotionally invested in the Apple marketing campaign, the same as your not caring when Apple doesn't support that same spec but Microsoft does.

        • Nonmoi

          In reply to MikeGalos:

          The thing is, as many PC OEMs has demonstrated, Ultrabook, USB-C, and USB 3.0 are not mutually exclusive to each other. Laptops like Thinkpads not only have both USB-C and 3.0 while still manage to be lighter and faster than last gen, they can even be charged through either USB-C or proprietary charging port.

          And tables that is exactly the same form factor as SP4 like Samsung Galaxy Book 12" managed to get 2 USB-C and LTE support on board all the while being thinner than Surface Pro 4 (too thin to put USB 3.0 port on it). That is to say, had it be as thick as SP4.1 there is no reason for it to not substitute one of the USB-C for USB 3.0. And, Acer Switch Alpha 12 from summer 2016 did exactly that, one type C, one 3.0.

          BTW, its funny that you mention Lumia, In comparison, Samsung's Android phones are now coming with type c for 2 generations now, and their tablets and laptops are now supporting type C. How about learning from that for port consistency in the product family, instead of Apple, which historically consistent in its intention to keep mobile port and computer ports separate for more then a decade already. (You didn't see any lighting port on any of the Mac, did you?)

          PCs usually has a longer upgrade cycle than smartphones, that means contrary to phones, you want to future proof your PCs as much as possible, especially when it comes to portable ones that are increasingly hard (if not impossible) to upgrade by consumers. So, stick with older, still supported ports of today is never a good decision especially for Laptops and Convertibles. And, if Microsoft's decision on not including type C is based on the notion of "give a bone" to OEMs as I suspected, then it maybe is time for it to consider just sale off the Surface brand instead before it completely ruins it with intentionally crippled hardware.

  18. Kevin Holt

    I've purchased the SP3 , SP4 and a Surface Book. They were ok machines , pretty yes , outstanding... not so much. In the last month I picked up a Lenovo X1 Carbon and Elitebook X360. These 2 devices put to shame all of the Surface devices. Yes they both have USB C and USB A ports. I have a Type C dock from both makers and guess what they work on either machine. From a business stand point I can now ditch all of the individual docking stations and just use USB C. If a user needs a different type of laptop as long as they have the USB C port plug and go. One less logistical headache.

    Now that I've actually experienced proper USB C ports I'm not doing to look at anything that doesn't at least have one. The Mac's are typical Apple mentality in forcing this as the only choice ( and somehow making their version slightly different from spec ). Do I use the Type A ports more ? I use the Type A ports on the dock alot , but that goes over the Type C to the laptop. This is going to be the port moving forward. Not adding it to a refresh seems dumb and short sighted. They wanted to keep people who already have surface docks happy is their excuse they used for the Surface Laptop. If they have a dock already they aren't a new customer , just your existing customer base.

    Oh on a side note , the laptop chargers now can also charge my phones , so one less charger to have to carry around as well.

    • MikeGalos

      In reply to Kevin Holt:

      The problem is that what you call a "proper USB C port" isn't.

      It's a USB 3.1 port with a USB Type C connector with support for all 4 optional Alternate Modes.

      And THAT is the problem.

      Without the Alternate Modes it is still USB 3 with USB Type C. NONE of the Alternate Modes are required and vendors can pick and choose any combination of Alternate Modes to support or not and still say "We have USB C" without violating the spec or being deceptive. For that matter, vendors can also provide proprietary Alternate Mode functions for their own docking stations that nobody else can support.

      USB C is really just the connector. It doesn't say a thing about which Alternate Modes are or aren't supported so it's such a vague "standard" that every vendor can implement differently. NOT the kind of thing you want to require as a check-off feature.

      • bsd107

        In reply to MikeGalos:

        Mike, your points are excellent and I wish more people would realize this. We are heading towards MASSIVE user confusion with USB C when folks start to learn that not all of these ports are the same, and worse there is no clear labeling on the differences. E.g. When people actually start using them for monitors we will start to see this.

        I believe that even the new MacBook Pro models do not have all USB C ports all with the same capabilities. Yes, any port can charge, but so what? These ports are not all the same.

        Paul is always trumpeting the advantages of USB C and continues to defend Apple's all-dongle-world approach, but doesn't seem to realize the incompatibility mess that is coming with all the optional standards.

        DO NOT FORGET also that 3rd party dongles, docks, etc, can all have their bugs, incompatibilities and failures. Even Apple's own first party iPad dongles for HDMI and USB cameras are a reliability and compatibility disaster. Just use them for a while on a few different devices, and/or read reviews on Apple's own store site. (The Apple lightning audio dongle works fine, and it should as it has no advanced functionality like these other converters do - that is not the example to use). Notice that despite the fan base pushback to Apple on their MacBook Pro on the all USB C approach, it is intriguing that they don't sell a first party dock...

        I agree that all new machines should have at least a single USB C Thinderbolt 3 port, for future proofing. But Type A is still universal today. I am annoyed that neither new Surface product has a single USB C port. But not dropping Type A makes sense. (I recently bought a Razer Blade 14 notebook, and while I am glad it has a single USB C Thunderbolt 3 port, it will go unused for years, while I use at least one of the three USB 3 ports all the time.)

        I also do wish Microsoft would replace their Surface connector and dock with a USB C version. It is like they want to look like a corporate supplier and want to keep old family standards around, when really they should be leading the way.

        I would love to see the statistics on how many USB 2/3 ports are used daily, and how many USB C ports are used only with a dongle or dock for USB capabilities!

  19. Chris Blair

    So I have a quick question. Why not also update the two Surface Books to 7th generation, Kaby Lake processors at the May 23rd event? Then all Surface devices would be at the same level regarding processors and I/O ports. Without USB-C some may argue this is not the ideal position to be in. But it is better than continuing to use last year's processors in your flagship Surface devices while using this year's processors on all others.

    • Nonmoi

      In reply to Chris Blair:

      We will know soon enough, won't we.

      Anyhow, like I commented before, this is not the first time SP line has a minor refresh - the last and the first time it happened was to upgrade the processors of SP2 and add LTE support, which was about 6 months before the SP3 (which has exact same processors as SP2.1) come out. So, I would expect pretty much the same with SP4.1 - Kaby lake, LTE supported version, and that is about it.

      For Surface Book in the other hand, I strongly suspect (hope) it won't be out till the year end with WoA running ARM chip set armed top part available as an option. (Otherwise, there is really nothing revolutionary about it if it is just the same old same old with newer processors)

      • TraderGary

        In reply to Nonmoi:

        i would expect to also see an up-to-date GPU as I do video editing. My current original Surface Book is great until I try to do video editing and then it is way under-powered.

        • Nonmoi

          In reply to TraderGary:

          I can whole heartily agree,!

          And that is the reason I am looking at either a gaming laptops (Razer Blade/ Alienware 13) and or Thinkpad P51 workstations at the moment, for much more capable dGPU. Most of them are cheaper with better specs, and some can get power up with tb enabled external GPU unit (aka. Razer Core) when compare to Surface Book even if SB got a upgrade but not more advance ports (specifically USB-C/TB3).

          The real problem of SB today, as I see it, is that MS refuse to sale the top and base separately, so every time you upgrade you are buying a whole new laptop either way, and also prevent MS to upgrade the line of product more agilely.

  20. SaadElBoury

    So to summarize:

    • Upgraded SP
    • No word on a bigger 15" SP or SB
    • No word on Surface Mini

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