Surface Pro 5: Mini Surface Dial, New Surface Pen, Competitive Specs Expected After Disappointing Q1 Results

Microsoft is taking its time in releasing the next incarnation of one of its most successful devices, the Surface Pro 5. If the tech behemoth’s latest earnings reports are any indication, however, it appears that the time is ripe for Microsoft to release the powerful machine to the market. Considering the rumors surrounding the upcoming hybrid device, however, there is a good chance that the Surface Pro 5 could actually help Microsoft take back its place in the hardware market.

The Redmond-based tech giant’s latest fiscal results do not bode well for the company’s hardware business. According to Microsoft, the firm’s revenue from Surface devices dropped by an alarming 26 percent when compared to the numbers from the same quarter last year. This, Microsoft admits, is mainly due to the lack of new hardware that has been released. After all, inasmuch as the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book are excellent machines, they are starting to show their age when compared to the competition, according to a TechRadar report. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella himself explained the disappointing results.

“This quarter our Surface results fell short of expectations, impacted by end of product lifecycle and increased price competition.”

With the reduced revenue from homegrown hardware in mind, it appears that it is now pertinent for Microsoft to release a line of new, more powerful devices soon. The Redmond-based tech behemoth decided to forego the release of the Surface Pro 5 and other hardware such as the Surface Book 2 in 2016, and considering Microsoft’s recent financial reports, the decision appears to have been a miscalculation on the firm’s part.

Nevertheless, speculations about the Surface Pro 5 have continued to emerge from the rumor mill in a steady stream. According to a LaptopMag report, the Surface Pro 5 is expected to be fitted with vastly improved internals and possibly even a new accessory. These would most likely enable the hybrid device to perform competitively in the present portable computing market.

Currently, the most believable rumor about the Surface Pro 5 comes from acclaimed tech journalist Paul Thurrott, who recently stated that the upcoming hybrid device would be fitted with Intel’s latest line of processors, the 7th-generation Kaby Lake chips. Rumors of a Kaby Lake-equipped Surface Pro 5 have been in the rumor mill for more than a year now, and considering the fact that Microsoft’s hybrid devices are usually equipped with the most powerful internals possible, there is a good chance that such a spec bump might indeed happen.

Apart from improved internals, Thurrott also stated that the Surface Pro 5 would feature a new accessory that has never been featured in a Surface device before. Speculations about what this new accessory might be are many, though rumors suggest that Microsoft might be releasing a more portable variant of the Surface Studio’s Surface Dial for the SP5. This would enable the Surface Pro 5 to perform even better in graphical content creation, a particular field that Microsoft has been courting over the past few years.

Apart from the Mini Surface Dial, speculations are also high that Microsoft would be rolling out a vastly improved version of the Surface Pen with the release of its upcoming hybrid device. Speculations about a Surface Pen 2 have been abounding for a while now, with rumors suggesting that the Surface Pro 5 would feature a stylus that could be charged simply by docking it to the hybrid. A rechargeable Surface Pen would be an improvement over the current stylus of the Surface Pro 4, considering that the accessory’s current iteration still utilizes AAAA batteries in order to function.

Overall, Microsoft appears to be running out of time with regards to the release of the Surface Pro 5. The competition in the hybrid market is intensifying, with manufacturers such as Lenovo, Acer, and even Apple taking initiatives to create and release a portable device that is both capable and portable. The Surface Pro series is already one of the most acclaimed line of devices in the hybrid market. Microsoft is already holding a huge event on May 2, and a brief mention of the Surface Pro 5 would do its hardware business a lot of good. Otherwise, if Microsoft is not careful, it might end up losing its place in the emerging hybrid industry.

[Featured Image by Mark Lennihan/AP Images]