Microsoft's Haswell-based Surface Pro 2: The leaks begin

Microsoft's Haswell-based Surface Pro 2: The leaks begin

Summary: Microsoft's new Surface Pro 2 is expected, unsurprisingly, to be a Core i5 'Haswell' based update to the current Surface Pro, according to new reports.

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Microsoft officials have said earlier this summer that the company is planning to release some time during its fiscal 2014 (ending June 30, 2014) "updates" to its Surface line of tablets.

surface2

That's all the company has said publicly. Privately, sources are beginning to leak tidbits from unnamed sources about what the new Surfaces will look like.

NeoWin.net posted on September 4 that the Intel-based Surface 2 will run Intel's next-generation Core i5 "Haswell" processor. Neowin also said RAM will be doubled from 4 GB to 8 GB and that the new model will include a "refined" kickstand.

Paul Thurrott on the Windows SuperSite corroborated the Core i5 Haswell information. Thurrott also said that the battery life of the Surface Pro 2 will go from the current four to five hours to up to seven hours.

Thurrott said the Surface Pro 2 will offer a choice of RAM, possibly 4 GB and 8 GB options. He added that the new Surface Pro will look identical to the current Surface Pro -- which makes sense, given Microsoft is expected to allow the same keyboard/covers to work with the new Surface models. And as far as the "refined" kickstand goes, Thurrott claims the new kickstand will offer two different positions, instead of being locked into one on the current Surface Pros.

Neither Neowin nor Thurrott is reporting anything new on the pricing. But both are predicting it won't change much from current Surface Pro pricing, meaning it could start around $799 (U.S.) if Microsoft matches the recently reduced Surface Pro price.

Surface Pro 2 is expected to come with Windows 8.1 preinstalled. Like the first-generation Surface, it will offer users the ability to run existing desktop apps, as well as new Metro-Style/Windows Store apps. 

I asked Microsoft officials if they'd comment on any of the new Surface leaks and, unsurprisingly, a spokesperson declined.

The new version of the ARM-based Surface will be called Surface 2, rather than Surface RT 2, Thurrott has reported. That updated tablet is expected to run an updated NVIDIA Tegra processor, according to source reports. Additional specs for the Surface 2 haven't leaked (yet).

Many Microsoft watchers are expecting Microsoft to launch its new Surfaces on or around the time Windows 8.1 launches, which is October 18. Microsoft officials have not said this will be the case, however.

Update: A few readers asked Thurrott on Twitter if the Surface Pro 2 would include LTE/wireless support. He said his sources are indicating it will not.

Topics: Microsoft Surface, Mobility, Tablets, PCs, Windows 8

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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75 comments
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  • I would love to see

    If it is incremental update, I will keep the first generation, otherwise the current Pro goes to my kids or Microsoft Trade-in program and welcome home Surface Pro 2.
    Ram U
    • Fanless?

      I hope it's a fanless version, which would reduce bulk and noise. Battery life is going to be increased a lot.

      If these things are important it's a great upgrade. If CPU power is important, it's probably incremental, if that.
      Sacr
      • Yes,

        I would definitely want a Fanless. I thought the current version was fanless, but Kenosha opened my eyes in that regards. And also if it has something like NFC and other sensors that we see in other Windows 8 Tablets, that would be awesome. I don't care about the hi-res back camera, because I use my Lumia 1040 for phone photography anyway. And a 8GB and 256GB would be awesome.
        Ram U
        • You'd pay that much for a "Netbook"

          Because that is basically what the "Surface Pro" is. 10" screen? Check. Small keyboard? Check. Low power CPU? Check.
          Troll Hunter J
          • @Troll Hunter J

            You should not mock those who bought Chromebook Pixel ;-)
            spicycheeks
          • Low Power - High Performance

            Netbooks typically (I know of none) do not use quad-core i5s with Turbo-boost! Netbooks do not have detachable keyboards. Netbooks typically do not offer touch screens. The low-power means low TDP not low performance. Netbooks typically use Atom or AMD budget entry level processors.

            The similarities, small size and integrated graphics. Haswell is supposed to have some pretty serious integrated graphics.
            DevGuy_z
          • ...

            The surface does not have a quad-core i5, it is a dual-core with hyper threading. Quad-core i5s are desktop SKUs only.

            The GPU was a very small update for most 4th gen CPUs, with the exception of the iris-pro models which are too high of a TDP for smaller form factor devices like the Surface Pro. The only major improvement Haswell made over Ivy Bridge is idle power consumption.
            ryudeshi
          • It shows that you don't own a surface

            I have a surface pro and unless the device manager is lying to me the surface has a core i5 and it can run up to 4 monitors. Also decent gaming old titles off course at a relatively decent resolution. However you pay for that with a very bad battery life. But this baby replaced my laptop and desktop so not complaining too much.
            fbaqueda
          • Troll FAIL. The surface keyboards are

            not small like netbook keyboards. And low power CPU is desirable. I suspect you meant low performance but then you'd be wrong again. There's nothing low performance about haswell.
            Johnny Vegas
          • Low powered CPU? NOT CHECK

            Seriously - if you want a low powered CPU look to Apple or Android tablets or even PCs.
            And I don't think its a quad core.. not yet. I am kinda waiting for a hybrid with the quad core though - need them to run a couple VMs at the same time.
            JABBER_WOLF
        • Fanless is great

          I won't go back to a fan portable. I have an Envy X2 with the dual core Atom and dual core GPU. Seems to have plenty of power for HD playback. Only 2GB of RAM but it seems to do fine. I have it outfitted with 192GB of storage. It's great not having a PC that will overheat if you lay it down on the bed. I hardly have the patience to wait for my Quad core Vista machine with 8GB/1TB to boot anymore.
          LarsDennert
      • Yeah if it's not fanless then I'll continue to wait

        There's no reason it should be the same form factor as the current surface pro if it's fanless so that news gives me pause. It should be thinner and lighter. Even if it has a slightly higher capacity battery
        Johnny Vegas
        • So what you want

          Is for hem to break the laws of physics.
          Michael Alan Goff
          • Which

            would be illegal in some American states. LOL.

            The Surface Pro is a great computer. In comparison to what most people still have on their desktops, it's a beast of a computer. Windows 8 works like a charm. It really looks as though Microsoft is finally getting its act together. Yes, it is about 30 years later than it should have been, but they are getting there, and I who was never their friend am applauding it.
            Bart B. Van Bockstaele
    • Haswell is the big change

      Do you consider Haswell an incremental update?
      frankwick
      • Haswell Incremental

        Yes, Haswell *is* an incremental update.

        - Incrementally lower power consumption
        - Incrementally higher TDP
        - Incremental bump in CPU speed.

        A generation jump, would be to 20 hours battery (with WiFi/Bluetooth/3/4G) *on* all day, doing a full days work, and be able to watch some video on the way to and from work. Still waiting from this from Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Sony, Blackberry etc for tabs and smartphones phones too.
        neil.postlethwaite
        • You need 20 hours??

          Why? Are you even awake and working for 20 hours straight?? (I occasionally do, but I don't remember the last time I was in front of a computer for that many hours in a row. Probably when I was a young engineer working on the Hallmark.com website...)

          There are currently plenty of devices that last for 10 HOURS STRAIGHT... and yes, that's WITH wifi on and non-stop processing being done.

          I need a minimum of 8 hours continuous use on a single battery charge because I teach in a classroom that is not wired for charging the 30 devices my students use. All of the Atom-based products I've tested meet this requirement. I went with the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2, which lasted 10 hours when I did a CONTINUOUS Netflix stream of Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" series.

          Oh... you mean you want a truly-capable processor that lasts all day? Yeah, that's still not out yet. But... the Atom (and Tegras and others) can still do more than the average desktop could do a decade ago... Fact of the matter is that you don't actually need an i5+ unless you plan on doing hardcore gaming, HD video editing, or similar graphics/processor-intensive tasks. (websites, Office tasks, etc. -- and even basic CAD design, Photoshop, and some video editing -- work fine on an Atom-based machine)
          MatthewGudenius
    • Not incremental for schools

      As a teacher transitioning to a 1:1 paperless classroom, I considered the Surface Pro (not the RT, because I still think the RT is useless; we use Google Docs/Drive instead of Microsoft Office with the kids now anyway, so the one benefit of RT is gone. Might as well just use Android at that point... or iOS, but iPads are overpriced)

      It had everything I needed: enough power, portability, touch-screen, keyboard, can function as tablet, can function as computer, can run Windows apps, can access Flash websites (yes, that's still very important for educational websites -- examples: Scholastic, PBS Kids, etc.), AND has an active digitizer stylus for writing and drawing.

      What it didn't have? Enough battery life to make it through the day. A 50% battery life boost is not merely "incremental" in this case, for my scenario (in which I need 6.5 hours of continuous usability without being plugged in); it is a total game-changer.

      (We ended up going with ThinkPad Tablet 2 Atom-based tablets, which will be fine for most things we will do -- and it has 10 hours continuous battery life -- but that i5 processor would really open more possibilities for CAD, video editing, etc...)
      MatthewGudenius
  • More

    More ram, more storage, more ports, more msdc slots
    keyboard dock battery that doubles battery life and charges the tablet like Asus Transformers do.
    Unless you can make a bigger pullout touchpad remove the touchpad from the keyboards it's too small. It would be better with a Lenovo style pointing stick and capacitive buttons ala the windows button even if the stick is where the touchpad is now and the buttons in a row or two row cluster.
    greywolf7
    • and more sensors without fan.

      n/t
      Ram U