Ever since Microsoft debuted the Surface brand five years ago, the Surface Pro has been its high-end tablet offering, intended as an uncompromising example of what PCs can offer in this space. For the past 18 months, the Surface lineup has rested on its laurels with the Surface Pro 4 — a solid system based on Intel’s Skylake processors, but one that’s showing some age.
In a recent interview with CNET, Panos Panay, Microsoft’s VP of Devices, declared there’s “no such thing” as Surface Pro 5, and seemed to dismiss the idea that Microsoft would be launching a new device with that branding in the near-term future.
“When it’s meaningful and the change is right, we’ll put it on market,” Panay said. “Meaningful change isn’t necessarily a hardware change, which is what a lot of people look for… You’ll see that same meaningful impact when Pro 5, or Pro Next hits the market.” Panay than clarified that “there’s no such thing as a Pro 5.”
This doesn’t jive with previous claims from reputable sources that Microsoft was working on a Pro 5, with Kaby Lake as a drop-in replacement for its Skylake processors.
Surface Pro 5 will not change the Surface Connect power connector, I was just told. Kaby Lake, nothing dramatic.
— Paul Thurrott (@thurrott) April 6, 2017
The simplest explanation is that Microsoft will refresh the Surface Pro 4 with a new set of chips and leave the rest of the platform unchanged, with a Pro 5 coming later, at an as-yet-undetermined date. Panay is setting expectations that Microsoft wants to deliver a new type of device with Surface Pro 5, something that takes more than incremental steps forward. There are potential options for building that kind of device. Microsoft could, for example, be holding off for 10nm CPUs, OLED panels, or other power-saving features baked into a later version of Windows 10. Elsewhere in the interview, Panay states that what he’s looking for is the option to make major changes to the device itself, whether in thickness or battery life, thereby giving people a reason to upgrade that goes beyond just modestly bumping processor performance.
The one problem with Panay’s claims about Surface, however, is that he argues you can buy a Surface Pro 4 and have a product that’s competitive for five more years. This is almost certainly bollocks. Lithium-ion batteries always lose significant capacity by then, and there’s no way to solve that issue on Surface, since Microsoft always opts for a sealed-in battery. Panay’s comments on these topics can’t be trusted — he’s the same person who told concerned Surface Pro 3 owners that MS would replace batteries for $200, only to see the company turn around and deny that it had any legal obligation to do so. Microsoft may have been legally in the right, but what it did amounted to a bait-and-switch. Redmond did eventually reverse this policy, after significant public outcry, but it still doesn’t offer a battery replacement service. While Apple also uses sealed-in batteries, it will replace your battery out-of-warranty for between $129 and $199, depending on the product.
Panay’s comments about Surface Pro 4 being competitive in five years also stretch the boundary of what ‘competitive’ means. Keeping in mind that the base hardware in a Surface Pro 4 will be 6.5 years old by then, no, I wouldn’t expect it to be particularly competitive, anymore than a laptop built in mid-2010 is still competitive with modern systems. Resolutions, battery life, platform power consumption, and low-power clock speeds may increase more slowly than they used to, but they do increase. But Panay’s remarks have been, in our opinion, somewhat misinterpreted. He’s not claiming that MS is cancelling Surface, just that the company doesn’t have any plans to launch a new Pro 5 SKU in the near future.
source : https://www.extremetech.com/computing/248934-microsoft-surface-head-claims-theres-no-thing-surface-pro-5