All eyes will be on New York tomorrow–and hopefully not due to Hurricane Joaquin. Microsoft is hosting a major media event to unveil Windows 10 devices and the expectation is that we will learn about a new Surface Pro 4, new Lumia (or Surface) flagship smartphones, and a new Microsoft Band 2 among other things.
Any lingering doubts about whether or not a new Surface will be in the mix should be assuaged by the fact that I got an email this morning from the Microsoft Surface team reminding me to tune in to the live stream of the event. I was invited to attend, but it conflicts with a family commitment I already had so I will be watching the live stream with the rest of the world. Here is what I expect we’ll see:
Let the countdown begin. In less than 24 hours MicrosoftMSFT +2.17% will kick off a media event in New York. The invitations for the event teased “We have some exciting news to share about Windows 10 devices,” and the expectation is that Microsoft will unveil a Surface Pro 4 tablet (or tablets), new flagship Windows Phone smartphones, a new and improved Microsoft Band, and updates to the Xbox experience. Get your popcorn ready.
Let’s start by taking a look at a roundup of the prevailing rumors and speculation about the expected hardware:
Microsoft is expected to announce a new Surface Pro 4 tablet. The new tablet would obviously have a more powerful processor—most likely the new IntelINTC +3.23% Skylake processors. Intel has worked very hard to engineer processors that are more energy efficient, and Microsoft will take that and do everything it can to develop a hardware platform that squeezes every last drop of potential battery life out of the device.
New processors and better battery life are sort of table stakes for any new device and are hardly worth mentioning. The bigger news to look forward to with the Surface Pro 4 is whether or not it will have the hardware to take advantage of theWindows Hello authentication feature in Windows 10. To do so it will need either an Intel RealSense 3D camera for the facial recognition or a fingerprint scanner. Many customers still have their fingers crossed for the option of 4G / LTE wireless connectivity as well.
The other big rumor for the Surface Pro 4 is that Microsoft might unveil more than one—adding a larger model of the Surface Pro line as well. The Surface Pro 3 has been a huge success and lives up to the marketing tagline of being the tablet that can replace your laptop but many people would prefer a larger laptop.AppleAAPL -0.92% recently raised the bar with the unveiling of the iPad Pro—an almost complete clone of Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 but with a larger display—so it seems the demand exists for a larger version.
Android and iOS clearly own the smartphone market and it seems unlikely that will change any time soon. Microsoft’s Windows Phone is in third, but it’s such a distant third it’s more of a rounding error than a competitor. It doesn’t seem like Microsoft is ready to throw in the towel just yet, though, and there have been plenty of leaks to suggest a collection of new Lumia Phones will be revealed tomorrow.
Check out the complete roundup of what to expect from Microsoft in this Forbes post: Countdown To Windows 10 Event: What To Expect From Microsoft.