Microsoft is refreshing a number of its Surface PCs with new 8th-generation Intel CPUs. It's also introducing -- as rumored -- matte-black versions of a number of the Surface models.
Microsoft talked up the refreshed Surface line on October 2 during its fall event in New York City. At that event, Microsoft showed off how the new Surfaces could make users more productive at home, at work and on the go.
Microsoft is introducing, as widely expected: A refreshed model of its Surface Pro two-in-one, called the Surface Pro 6; Surface Laptop 2; and Surface Studio 2 all-in-one. These devices are all getting new processors. The Surface Connect port remains on all the devices. These are relatively minor, but much needed, refreshes of these devices.
Surface Pro 6 will be available in black and platinum beginning Oct. 16, starting at $899. Surface Laptop 2 will be available as of Oct. 16, starting at $999. Both are available for preorder starting today, Oct. 2.
Surface Pro 6, running an 8th-generation quad-core Intel CPU, will have a 12.3-inch display, up to 1TB of SSD storage, claimed 13.5 hours of battery life and weighing in at 1.7 pounds. The Surface Laptop 2, also will feature an 8th-generation quad-core Intel CPU. The new 13.5-inch laptop provides up to 14.5 hours of battery life, Microsoft claims. The Surface Studio 2 runs a 7th-generation Intel processor and starts at $3,499.
Microsoft is waiting until 2019 to introduce a major upgrade of its Surface Pro line, my contacts have said.
Microsoft also introduced today a new (and expected) Surface-branded headset with a mic. Microsoft is branding this as "Microsoft Surface Headphones," and it is "coming soon," (likely around year-end) officials said. The headphones have noise cancellation, built-in mics and Cortana integration. The headphones will sell for $350, according to CNET.
There are no USB-C ports on the new Surface Pro 6 or Surface Laptop 2. But there is a USB-C port on the new Surface studio 2 and the Surface headset. Microsoft officials claim users don't want USB-C on these devices, and that the technology isn't ready for mass adoption (even though USB-C is available on the Surface Book and Surface Go.) Go figure.
Microsoft introduced the most recent version of the Surface Pro (which is called just "Surface Pro," although it's technically the fifth iteration) in June 2017. Last year's Surface Pro models featured 7th-generation Intel Core m3, i5, or i7 processors.
The company also released its first clamshell laptop, the 7th-generation Intel-based Surface Laptop, last summer. Microsoft introduced its 6th-generation Intel-based Surface Studio PC in October 2016.
Microsoft officials said last week that it would be staggering the rollout of the Surface Hub 2 conferencing system over 2019 and 2020. The new hardware will be out next year, but the software and services designed to enable a bunch of new features won't be out until 2020. The hardware will be upgradable via a compute module.
Last week, Microsoft regained Consumer Reports' recommendation for its Surface Pro and Surface Laptop, after losing the organization's nod over projected reliability for those devices.
Update: Microsoft also replaced its recently cancelled Surface Plus consumer financing program with a new Surface All Access program. All Access will allow users to pay for Surface products monthly, starting at $24.99 per month for 24 months That price includes an Office 365 subscription, in-store training and support, and is available currently through Microsoft retail stores in the U.S.
Update No. 2 (October 3): Here's pricing for Surface All Access for the different Surface form factors. The Go is what starts at $24.99 per month for 24 months. The Pro is close to $48 and the Laptop, $49. Studio goes for $151 per month.
Previous and related coverage:
Does Microsoft's Surface Go fill an overlooked productivity niche? Here's my 'non-reviewer's review' take after three weeks with the device.
The Spectre Folio convertible laptop's leather-bound design is part of HP's drive to make technology more human.
Consumer Reports is restoring its 'recommended' designation for the Surface Laptop, Pro and Book 2, but is not awarding it to the Surface Go.