In 2017 many were hoping for a Surface Pro 5 launch. Microsoft did announce a new model, but it wasn’t the Surface Pro 5.
Instead, it dropped the numeral and just called it – confusingly – Surface Pro. The main reason for this was that the upgrades amounted to a bump to the current-generation Intel processor and some extremely minor cosmetic changes.
When is the Surface Pro 5 release date?
Microsoft’s Panos Panay was clear in an interview with CNET last May, saying ahead of the Surface Pro’s launch that “There’s no such thing as a Pro 5”.
However, he also said that the company would launch a Surface Pro 5 when there was enough “meaningful change” and went on to clarify that didn’t mean a hardware change such as a new processor, but “an experiential change that makes a huge difference in the product line”.
That means we’re still none the wiser about the Surface Pro 5’s release date, but it is possible to make an educated guess about when it might be.
Here’s when the previous models were announced:
- Surface Pro 3: 20 June 2014
- Surface Pro 4: 26 October 2015
- Surface Pro: 23 May 2017
Although we wouldn’t bet on it, there’s a slim chance that the next Surface Pro could be launched in May or June 2018. If Microsoft hasn’t effected that meaningful change, then we could be in for a longer wait, perhaps in October.
But note that there was no Surface Pro launch in 2016, so Microsoft isn’t afraid to skip a year and leave fans waiting. And, the astute will already be aware that the LTE version of the 2017 Surface Pro was released only in December 2017, so you could argue that there’s no rush to launch a new model.
You can read our comparison of the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Pro (2017).
How much will the Surface Pro 5 cost?
It’s difficult to say at this point in time. Previous Surface Pro models have largely stuck around the same sort of prices, with the entry-level model starting at around £700/US$700. However, the upward trend hit the latest Surface Pro, which costs from £799/US$799
Top-end models are much more expensive, running to over £2000/US$2000. And these prices are just for the tablet itself after Microsoft decided to no longer bundle a stylus in the box, and the keyboard (Type Cover) has always been an optional extra.
You can read about the rumours surrounding the Surface Book 3, which is likely to cost even more than the Surface Pro 5.
What features will the Surface Pro 5 have?
One thing’s all-but guaranteed: the latest Intel processors. Currently that’s the 8th-gen Core series, but depending upon when the Surface Pro 5 is announced, that could turn into 9th-gen.
It’s much more difficult to predict what the “experiential change” could entail. It’s unlikely to be a radical departure in design terms, as the ‘infinitely adjustable’ hinge is a signature of the series as are the Type Covers with their backlit keys and integrated trackpads.
Possible hardware changes could include USB-C ports (or Thunderbolt) in place of the legacy USB Type A port on all Surface Pros so far.
Surface Pen with 'scroll wheel'
There’s also talk of a rechargeable stylus, but while this may be possible, Microsoft has just registered a patent for a stylus with a touch-sensitive clip.
You can read the full details of the patent, but to summarise, the main idea is for the clip to act as a sort of scroll bar which you swipe your finger along to scroll up or down a document.
This avoids having to use the stylus tip to very precisely select an on-screen scroll bar and drag it. You could of course just use your finger on the screen to scroll up and down, but the upgrades (which also include better power saving for longer battery life) may persuade people to fork out the £99.99/US$99.99 for the device.
As of the Surface Pro (2017), the stylus is no longer included with the tablet.
There’s now a Type Cover with a built-in fingerprint reader, so there’s also a good chance this feature will be retained for the next Surface Pro.
The Surface Pro 4 and Surface Pro have not been without their issues. We’ve heard reports of flickering screens on Pro 4s, while the biggest criticism of the newer Surface Pro has been poor battery life.
Microsoft needs to ensure both are addressed on the putative Surface Pro 5. And we know it can produce long-lasting hardware: the Surface Book 2 lasted over 13 hours when playing video, and its predecessor lasted three hours longer than that.
As more rumours appear and information leaks, we’ll be sure to update this article.