‘Tis the season for pre-holiday tech showcases, and Microsoft isn’t done with laptops and tablets by any stretch. Microsoft’s event this Thursday will likely be a Surface-palooza, at least based on leaks being drip-fed to us in the weeks leading up to the official launch.
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Ever since the company announced Sept. 21 Microsoft “special event” will take place in New York City, tech-minded folks on line have speculated that this all surrounds the company’s Surface hardware, including questions whether we’ll see the Surface Go 4, the Surface Laptop Studio 2, and the Surface Laptop Go 3. The rumor mill has hinted that all three devices could make an appearance Thursday.
There’s a little bit of corporate drama going on as well before the big announcement. On Monday, Microsoft’s leadership announced that Panos Panay, the chief product guy behind the Surface laptop brand, was leaving the company after helping get the company’s laptop brand off the ground nearly 10 years ago. He spent a little under 20 with the Redmond company itself, and he’s being replaced in leading the Windows and Surface businesses by Yusuf Mehdi, previously led the company’s Windows and Device Group. According to Bloomberg, Panay will head to Amazon to head its devices division.
It’s odd timing for the company’s lead on Surface laptops to announce his departure, mere days before Microsoft is set to unveil its next product slate. Last year, the company revealed via a smaller, online-only event that it had three new Surface devices for sale, including the massive $4,300 Surface Studio 2+ PC. Still, based merely on rumors, these still-announced laptop products won’t exactly set the world on fire.
Leaks Show the Surface Laptops Have Received a Few Hardware Upgrades
We haven’t seen much word on a new Surface Pro after last year’s Pro 9, but there’s still a chance the Pro 10 tablet will make an appearance. According to photos and information from European retailer data shown by WinFuture.de, the tech giant has some technical updates in store for its Surface Laptop Studio 2 and Surface Laptop Go 3. According to the leak, the next-gen budget-friendly laptop will sport an Intel Core i5-1235U chip that runs up to 4.4 Ghz.
Though the new laptop won’t really do much different than last year’s version. The Surface Laptop Go 2 was a good value laptop for its $599 base price, though it was missing some commonly requested features like a backlit keyboard, a mid-quality display, and more than a bare 4GB of RAM. According to leaks, the new laptop comes with the same 12.45-inch PixelSense touchscreen as last year’s model. The device now sports 8GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD, so there are some small under-the-hood upgrades.
All that is consistent with leaks by Windows Central, which reported, based on anonymous sources, that the Go 3 will start at a higher price than last year’s model at around $749 compared to Go 2’s $599 starting price, though with worse specs.
The 14-inch Surface Laptop Studio was a solid, if somewhat expensive 2-in-1 machine back in 2021, but it hasn’t received an update in the years since. According to the retailer data, the convertible Surface Laptop Studio 2 will start at a higher base price than 2021’s edition, even with the integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics chip. More expensive versions come with a “Raptor Lake” H-series chip. The least expensive version would use an Intel i7-13700H, which would be a step up from the i7-11370H. There’s also a version that comes with a Nvidia Geforce RTX 4050 GPU, 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD.
There’s an even better, 1 TB version that stocks an RTX 4060 and the larger i7-13800H GPU, but otherwise you’re looking at the same kind of laptop with potentially better graphical processing capabilities. It’s the same screen size and resolution with a max refresh rate of 120Hz, though the one small benefit appears to be a new microSD slot.
As far as the company’s Surface Go 4 tablet—well—goes, there’s much less to go on save for confirmation it will be present according to Windows Central’s Zac Bowden. Initial rumors claimed the tablet would get a big upgrade to a ARM-based Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c, but we could receive an Intel N200 chip instead.
What About Software?
There are far fewer details about potential software expansions at this upcoming live event, but there will reportedly be a big focus on the AI copilot for Windows 11. The company just axed Cortana, and so it could be looking to enhance its virtual assistant replacement with third party app integration.
There likely won’t be any mention of Windows 12, which rumors say is still slated for 2024.