The Surface Pro 5 is arguably one of the most highly anticipated devices from Microsoft, but month after month, the next-generation hybrid continues to remain elusive. Over the past few months, speculations were high that a new Surface device would be released early 2017. While a Surface device did get unveiled, however, it was not the SP5 as initially expected. Instead, it was the Surface Laptop, a direct competitor to Apple's 12-inch MacBook and Google's ubiquitous Chromebooks.
So where in the world is the Surface Pro 5? That is pretty much the question dominating the rumor mill right now. The past year has seen nothing but rumors emerge about the upcoming hybrid, with noted Microsoft leaker Paul Thurrott even weighing in on the upcoming 2-in-1 device. For all intents and purposes, rumors and leaks suggested that the Surface Pro 5, while unreleased, exists somewhere, and Microsoft is just preparing to finalize its design and features before its release.
Things took a turn for the worse, however, when Microsoft chief of Surface devices Panos Panay declared that the Surface Pro 5 does not exist, according to a Top Examiner report. Apart from this, the Microsoft executive also reiterated that the Surface Pro 4 would be competitive in the market for at least five more years. Thus, for all intents and purposes, the executive stated that the Surface Pro 4 is all that Microsoft needs to maintain its place at the peak of the 2-in-1 industry.Except that it isn't. If Microsoft's latest earnings report is any indication, it appears that the Surface Pro 4 is not selling as much as it did last year, with the Redmond-based tech giant's profits from its hardware division getting reduced significantly. While Microsoft did not state the specifics for the drop in the company's revenue, analysts and avid fans of the Surface series alike have indicated that it was simply because Surface devices did not stand out last year. While the Surface Studio all-in-one was admirable, it was nonetheless a niche product. Thus, inasmuch as the machine was successful, the Surface Studio has not become as game-changing as the Surface Pro series.
With this in mind, it appears that the Microsoft executive is intentionally holding back official information about the future of the hybrid series. If there is no Surface Pro 5, what device would Microsoft release this year in order to curb the significant lag in the sales of its hardware division? The answer to this, of course, might be found in clues left by the Microsoft chief of devices and the prolific leaker's statement.
Panay stated that the Surface Pro 5 does not exist, and Thurrott reported that the next Surface device would simply feature a processor bump to the Surface Pro 4, according to a CNET report. From these statements, it appears that Microsoft is preparing to launch not the Surface Pro 5 this year, but rather, a revamped Surface Pro 4, or a Surface Pro 4.5, as fans of the device have fondly dubbed the rumored hybrid.An upgraded Surface Pro 4 would actually make a lot of sense, especially since Microsoft had utilized the same strategy with the Surface Book last year when it unveiled the Surface Book i7 with Performance Base. Rumors of a Kaby Lake-equipped Surface Pro 4 have existed for months. Thus, there is a huge chance that the Redmond-based tech giant would employ the same strategy for the Surface Pro series as well.
The release date of the next Surface Pro device remains unknown, though a tweet from Panay himself appears to suggest that a next-generation device would be unveiled at Shanghai this coming May 23. Such a date would line up with rumors about the SP5's release date. The hybrid that would be unveiled might simply not be the Surface Pro 5. Instead, it might be an upgraded version of the Surface Pro 4.[Featured Image by Andrew Burton/Getty Images]