A Possible Microsoft Fall Hardware Event Comes Into Focus

Posted on September 8, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Microsoft Surface with 0 Comments

A Possible Microsoft Fall Hardware Event Comes Into Focus

A new report finally shines some light on what we can expect from Microsoft hardware this fall. And it looks like a long-rumored Surface All-In-One may be making its first appearance.

To be clear, I have no first-hand knowledge of these plans, nor have I ever heard from my own sources that Microsoft is plotting an AIO computer. But as Mary Jo and I pondered aloud on this week’s episode of Windows Weekly, what might a fall hardware event look like if Microsoft won’t release the Surface Book 2 and Surface Pro 5 until next Spring?

There are a number of possibilities.

As Brad previously reported, Microsoft is working on Xbox-branded “streamer” devices, which would essentially be Chromecast and Roku-type living room solutions.

Mary Jo has wondered whether Microsoft might offer mid-stream updates for the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4, not changing the branding but upgrading the processors to (presumably) more reliable Kaby Lake-based units.

And then there is of course the oft-rumored Surface phone, though most expect such a device to appear in the spring, if its ever released at all.

But the Surface AIO is an interesting option too. I’ve long argued for desktop Surface equipment, though I’m surprised that Microsoft didn’t start with 3:2 displays that would mate cleanly with its tablets. Mary Jo says, however, that a Surface AIO is a likely candidate for an October event.

“Microsoft is holding a Fall hardware launch in late October, where I’m hearing it will take the wraps off a Surface-branded device, which some of my contacts are saying is known as ‘Cardinal’,” she writes. “I’ve heard that Surface Cardinal could be positioned as a product that can turn your desk into ‘a studio.’ My bet: Cardinal is the rumored Surface All-in-One device running Windows 10.”

Digitimes was the first to report about such a product. That notoriously unreliable publication claimed, too, that the device could launch in Q3 2016. And this follows a 2015 report about a Microsoft patent for an AIO computer.

A few other notes. As we discussed on Windows Weekly, Foley believes that the fall event could include third party PC makers, though Microsoft has never mixed Surface with other PC makers. I’m not sure I believe that one.

As intriguing, Foley’s contacts also tell her not to expect updates to the Surface 3 or Microsoft Band 2 this year. While the non-Pro Surface’s fate is up in the air, most had expected Microsoft to deliver a much-needed Band replacement this fall. I’ve not heard either way, again, but this one surprises me too.

The worst part of this news, for me, is that the hardware event is rumored to be happening on October 26. That’s the week Mary Jo and I are in Las Vegas for Dev Connections, so we’d have to miss it if that is true. But then I guess that would let us cover it remotely, assuming Microsoft streams the event. Which they’ve done in the past.

Stay tuned. I suspect we’ll be hearing more about this event, assuming it’s happening, soon.