"Microsoft Readies 'Next-Gen' AI-Focused Surface Pro 10 And Surface Laptop 6 With Arm Chips And Design Upgrades For 2024; Making Major Updates To Its Surface Pro And Surface Laptop Lines With Improved Designs, New Features, And Next-gen Silicon" -...

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The last few months have been a rocky time for Surface fans. With Panos Panay's departure still on people's minds, nobody is sure if Surface will continue as it has or fade into irrelevancy as Windows Phone did before it.

Microsoft has said publicly that it remains committed to Surface, and the departure of Panay doesn't change things. But we already know that Microsoft has slimmed the Surface portfolio down to its core mainstream products, which explains why we saw so little from the Surface team this past year.

In 2023, Microsoft shipped updates to the Surface Hub, Surface Laptop Studio, Surface Laptop Go, and Surface Go lines, primarily consisting of minor spec bumps and price hikes across the board. But curiously, Microsoft didn't ship a new Surface Pro or Surface Laptop this year, so what's next for Surface?

According to my sources, Microsoft is working on significant updates to its Surface Pro and Surface Laptop lines, which sources say will feature significant upgrades with improved designs, new features, and next-gen silicon in the form of Intel 14th-Gen and Qualcomm X Series chips. I hear the new devices will be announced in the spring and will be marketed as Microsoft's first true next-gen AI PCs.

Intel and Arm, with an emphasis on Arm

For the first time, both Surface Pro and Surface Laptop will be available in Intel and Arm flavors, and both will have next-gen NPU (neural processing unit) silicon. Sources are particularly excited about the Arm variants, which I understand will be powered by a custom version of Qualcomm's new Snapdragon X Series chips.

Internally, Microsoft is calling next-generation Arm devices powered by Qualcomm's new chips "CADMUS" PCs. These PCs are purpose-built for the next version of Windows, codenamed Hudson Valley, that will utilize many of the upcoming next-gen AI experiences Microsoft is building into the 2024 release of Windows.

Specifically, Microsoft touts CADMUS PCs as being genuinely competitive with Apple Silicon, sporting similar battery life, performance, and security. The next Surface Pro and Surface Laptop are expected to be some of the first CADMUS PCs to ship next year in preparation for the Hudson Valley release coming later in 2024.

Surface Laptop 6

So, what's changing with the Surface Laptop 6? I'm told this new Surface Laptop will finally have an updated design with thinner bezels, rounded display corners, and more ports. This will be the first time that Microsoft's Surface Laptop line is getting a design refresh, which is well overdue.

The Surface Laptop 6 will again be available in two sizes. However, I'm told the smaller model will have a slightly larger 13.8-inch display, up from 13.5 inches on the Surface Laptop 5. Sources say the larger model remains at 15-inches.

I'm told Surface Laptop 6 will also have an expanded selection of ports, including two USB-C ports and one USB-A port, along with the magnetic Surface Connect charging port. Microsoft is also adding a haptic touchpad (likely with Sensel technology) and a dedicated Copilot button on the keyboard deck for quick access to Windows Copilot.

Overall, the Surface Laptop 6 is shaping up to be a significant refresh for the product line, designed to compete head-to-head with the MacBook Air.

Surface Pro 10

The next Surface Pro is also shaping into a big update, although not as drastic as the Surface Laptop 6. According to my sources, the most significant changes coming to Surface Pro 10 are mostly related to its display, which sources say is now brighter with support for HDR content, has a new anti-reflective coating to reduce glare, and now also sports rounded display corners.

I've also heard that Microsoft is testing a version of Surface Pro 10 with a slightly lower-resolution 2160 x 1440 display, down from the 2880 x 1920 screen found on previous Surface Pro models. Sources say this lower-resolution panel is only being considered for lower-tier models, meaning the more expensive models will continue to ship with the higher-resolution display.

Lastly, I also hear Microsoft is equipping the next Surface Pro with an NFC reader for commercial customers and a wider FoV webcam, which will be enhanced with Windows Studio Effects. It should also be available in new colors. I've also heard we may get an updated Type Cover accessory with a dedicated Copilot button for quick access to Windows Copilot.

It shouldn't be understated that thanks to the upcoming Arm chip, this next Surface Pro will be leaps and bounds better than the previous one in terms of performance, likely coming close to or even matching the likes of the MacBook Air and iPad Pro.

What else is Surface working on?

So, the Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6 will be the stars of the show for 2024. I have heard that Microsoft may also ship another Surface Laptop Go next year (see our recent Surface Laptop Go 3 review), but I do not have any concrete details about that product yet.

I also heard whispers that Microsoft is considering a commercial-only version of the Surface Pro and Surface Laptop that maintains the current designs of the Surface Laptop 5 and Surface Pro 9, but with updated Intel 14th-Gen chips and other minor improvements. I'm unsure if these will actually ship, however. 

Beyond 2024, my sources say that Microsoft is working on a more significant design update for the Surface Pro line that targets a late 2025 release window. It's too early to know what exactly will be different with it, but sources say the company is toying with an 11-inch Surface Pro model that would ship alongside the standard 13-inch one.

Microsoft is also working on the next Surface Laptop Studio (read our Surface Laptop Studio 2 review for context), which targets a similar late 2025 release window. Not much is known about the Surface Laptop Studio 3 yet, though I understand that Microsoft intends to offer it in both Intel and Arm flavors for the first time.

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