Surface Pro 8 release date
The Pro 8 was expected to be announced this October, but Windows Central's Zac Bowden is suggesting a very different release schedule:
Surface Pro 8, Surface Laptop 4, and Surface Studio 3 are not coming this fall. I'm told they've been pushed back to 2021. This fall is new Surface Pro X, Surface 'Sparti', and accessories.— Zac Bowden (@zacbowden) September 16, 2020
Bowden's strong track record means we have no reason to doubt what he's saying. If true, it would be the first year that we haven't seen a Surface Pro refresh since the original launched in 2013.
Microsoft typically holds hardware events twice a year, but that has been upended due to the coronavirus pandemic. The company will have no in-person events until at least July 2021, and it may forgo a live stream for its upcoming releases, as was the case with the Surface Book 3 and Surface Go 2 in May.
Surface Pro 8 price
With nothing confirmed, our best guess on the Surface Pro 8 pricing again comes from how much the Surface Pro 7 cost at launch.
That device started at £799/US$749/AU$1249, although the maximum configuration set you back £2249/US$2299/AU$3749. A similar pricing structure looks likely, although that could rise if there are significant upgrades.
Indeed, MSPoweruser is suggesting that the baseline model will cost around US$1,000, although that can't be verified at this stage.
However, Microsoft still sells the Type Cover and other accessories separately, and that's unlikely to change for the foreseeable future.
What are we expecting from the Surface Pro 8?
The most high-profile rumour thus far come from Dutch website LetsGoDigital, which has helped create a 3D concept video based on what it thinks the Surface Pro 7 will look like:
Should any of these ideas come to fruition, it would be an exciting step forward for the Surface Pro line. A stealthy black look, significant slimming of bezels and move to USB-C for charging would all be well received, but it's not clear whether they'll make their way into the device.
As with previous models, Microsoft will undoubtedly use the latest-available Intel Core processors. This might include the 11th-gen Tiger Lake processors, thought to be released at some point in the second half of 2020. Among the expected benefits are a doubling of graphical performance over the current Ice Lake chips, which could boost the already-excellent performance on the Surface Pro.
It’s also possible that – as we saw with the Surface Pro X – that an ARM-based Surface Pro 8 could exist, but Microsoft may launch a second-generation Pro X instead: the SQ1 processor was its own design in collaboration with Qualcomm.
In recent months, couple of patents have been spotted for tech which could well make its way into the Surface Pro 8.
Shortly after the release of the Surface Pro 7, a Microsoft patent was published with the title 'EXPANDABLE ENCLOSURE FOR ELECTRONIC DEVICE RESONANCE BOX’.
From the included diagram above, it looks like Microsoft is planning for a dedicated speaker system to be attached to future iterations of the Type Cover accessory. Should this be available with the Surface Pro 8, it could deliver serious improvements to the audio experience.
Further rumours on the Surface Pro 8 come courtesy of Windows Latest. In January, they reported on another patent that suggests Microsoft may include solar panels on the very same Type Cover, which may offer an alternative method of charging the Surface Pro 8. While it's unlikely both would be included, it shows Microsoft is thinking outside the box when it comes to upgrades.
Elsewhere, there’s no real need for any huge changes. People clearly like the form factor, as it strikes a good balance between screen size and usability. Plus, other screen sizes are already catered for by the Surface Pro X, and the Duo and Neo. We’re looking forward to finding out how much those two will cost in particular, but as and when more rumours crop up for the Surface Pro 8, we’ll be sure to add them here.
Surface Pro 8 wish list
Concrete rumours are relatively thin on the ground this far ahead of release, so here are five things we'd love to see on the Surface Pro 8:
- USB-C for charging - Although Microsoft finally embraced USB-C on the Surface Pro 7, it still stuck with the clunky Surface Connect port for charging. It feels like a logical next step to use the port for charging.
- Thunderbolt USB-C - Following on from the above point, we hope the USB-C port will get Thunderbolt 3 support, which enables much faster data transfer.
- Slimmer bezels - The Surface Pro 7 might have significantly slimmer bezels than the Go 2, but we feel Microsoft could go further here. The Surface Pro X has shown us what is possible here, and there could still be plenty of room for a front-facing camera.
- Better webcam - Talking of cameras, Microsoft has stuck an 8Mp sensor in the last three generations of Surface Pro. It's far from the worst webcam around, but with so many people currently relying on video calls, further improvements would be welcome here.
- Bigger battery - While the Surface Pro 7's battery life wasn't a dealbreaker, it often struggled to make it through a full 8-hour day. Delivering upgrades that help it catch up to the competition in this regard should be a priority.
- New size options - The Surface Pro line has maintained a 12.3in screen since the release of the Surface Pro 4 in 2015, and never opted for more than one size. A display closer to 13in would provide a direct iPad Pro rival, while it would also provide scope to introduce a smaller-sized alternative.
Considering other options in the Surface lineup? Check out our in-depth buying guide.
Looking to buy a Surface product right now? Check out our guide to the best Surface deals.