Microsoft is launching a new Surface Pro today, with the introduction of the Surface Pro. Yeah, Microsoft has dropped the numbering scheme from its line up, with the Surface Pro 4 being the last of the numbered Surface Pro products, from now on they'll just be 'Surface Pro'.
The next-gen hybrid laptop/tablet has some pretty significant internal changes, with "about 800 new custom parts in the new Pro" says Microsoft Surface boss Panos Panay. Microsoft taps Intel's latest Kaby Lake family of processors for the new Surface Pro units, with fanless versions of the Core m3 and Core i5 processors.
Up To 13.5 Hours Battery Life
Because Microsoft makes not just the Surface Pro, but the operating system in Windows 10, it can do hardware and software level tweaks for Surface Pro. This gives Microsoft a very Apple-like future as they continue evolving Surface into something that has not only caught up, but far exceeded what Apple has in the laptop/tablet markets. Because of these tweaks, Microsoft is claiming the new Surface Pro has up to 50% longer battery life than the Surface Pro 4.
Microsoft says that the new Surface Pro will have up to 13.5 hours of battery life, which is impressive.
Core m3/Core i5/Core i7
The Core m3 version of the Surface Pro will be the lowest end SKU, with it being a fanless model, as is the Core i5 version. Microsoft will have the higher-end Core i7 version with a fan, but I'm sure it won't be too loud. Surface boss Panos Panay explained: "This isn't just a processor change. We did take Kaby Lake, it's the latest generation, of course. But it's the integrated SSD on the motherboard. It's the fundamental architecture changes that we do in Windows and Surface. It brings 13.5 hours of battery. It's lighter than the previous generation product, and it's more powerful with no fan".
The new Surface Pro doesn't include USB-C connectivity, with the same USB and mini DisplayPort outputs that Surface Pro 4 had. But in reality, not many devices have moved to USB-C yet. Most of the consumers and enterprise Surface Pro owners don't need USB-C just yet, and I'm sure Microsoft knows that. Future versions of Surface Pro, once the market is more flooded with USB-C products, I think we'll see a shrinking in size of the new Surface Pro with less outputs and maybe a large dongle with a plethora of outputs on it - an optional accessory, of course.
First Surface With LTE
Microsoft is, for the first time on a Surface Pro device, offering a model with LTE connectivity. The LTE-capable Surface Pro will take micro SIM and eSIM, and will be "slightly more expensive" than non-LTE models. We don't know what processor is powering the new Surface Pro, but I can guess that the new Surface Pro rocks Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 835 processor. This is something I revealed from a party invitation from Qualcomm and Microsoft for Computex, where I said they are going to "take over the world".
Improved Sleep = Longer Battery Life
Microsoft has fixed one of the bigger issues it had on Surface Pro 4 and its predecessors, with improvements to the sleep side of the new Surface Pro. This provides it with the ability to manage sleep better when you open and close the device.
The design is very similar to the previous models, with the new Surface Pro being lighter - but The Verge said it "largely looks and feels like the Surface Pro 4".
Microsoft has made a new hinge for Surface Pro, which uses the same 165-degree angle that Surface Studio has, which allows the new Surface Pro to lay nearly flat. If you push the hinge too far, it won't snap now - with Microsoft confident that you won't break the hinge if you push down too hard.
Another similarity to the larger Surface Studio desktop PC is that the new Surface Pro works with the Surface Dial. Microsoft built Dial compatibility into the Surface Pro display, so you can use it on top of the display with software like Sketchable.
New Surface Pen
There's also a new Surface Pen launching alongside the new Surface Pro, which is available for $99. It'll work on exciting Surface devices, but Microsoft has limited its new tilt functionality to the Surface Pro, at least for now. Tilt will provide content creators with the system being able to detect the angle of a pen, which provides them with better accuracy and shading for inking. Microsoft has said that Wacom tablet owners have wanted this feature for a while, and Microsoft is providing the goods with the new Surface and Pen products.
Microsoft has made some other changes to the Surface Pen, increasing the pressure sensitivity to 4096, as well as a reduction in the activation force. The new Surface Pen is now feels less laggy, with increased response time on the new Surface Pro. The new Pen reportedly even feels more "refined" to The Verge, with Microsoft removing the clip at the top of the Pen. Panay added: "Right when you put the pen down, depending on how far you push, it's like a ballpoint pen at this point".
We also have some new keyboards for the Surface Pro in platinum, burgundy, and cobalt blue.
The new Surface Pro Type Covers have the Alcantara fabric feel, and are available for $159, for $129 you can get the new regular black Type Cover.