2017 is the year of 2-in-1 hybrid tablets, there’s no doubt about that. With everyone from Lenovo to HP to Dell going after this market, Microsoft Surface is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the elevated demand for such devices. In a sea of growing hybrid tablets, Surface Pro 5 stands out like a princess about to make her grand debut.
When is the Surface Pro 5 coming out?
While evidences point to a launch date of Spring 2017, some of the roadblocks to the Surface Pro 5’s release have already been removed.
The most important of these is Intel’s announcement of its seventh generation Kaby Lake processors, which was originally rumored to be the processor of choice for the Surface Pro 5.
Another possible roadblock could be key Windows 10 functionalities coming with Windows 10 Creators Update. That’s also slated for Spring 2017, so the delay with Surface Pro 5 may well be linked to that.
On the other hand, Microsoft will definitely want to cash in on the surging demand for hybrid tablets in 2017, which means it will require careful coordination to make sure the Creators Update is ready for a stable public release no later than the first quarter of 2017.
Here’s what IDC predicts for this market segment through 2020:
“Looking beyond 2016, IDC expects the overall market to return to positive growth, albeit single digit, driven by growing demand for detachable devices. This somewhat hybrid category that brings together slate tablets and PCs is expected to grow from 16.6 million shipments in 2015 to 63.8 million in 2020.”
That’s the growth Microsoft will want to capture with the Surface Pro 5, so the sooner they get it all together, the better for the Surface line’s top line growth. Of course, that will be complemented by an estimated 30,000 deliveries of the premium Surface Studio all-in-one PCs in Q1-2017, which saw 15,000 units being sold during Q4-2016. That’s not bad at all for a product launched at the end of October 2016.
What’s more relevant for the Surface Pro 5 is that Apple intends to release no less than three models of iPad this year, also in Spring 2017. If Microsoft wants to get a jump on that line-up, they had better be planning a Q1 release for Surface Pro 5.
That also means they’ll have to speed up their dev work on preview versions of the Windows 10 Creators Update, of which the below bulleted list contains the most recent ones:
- December 13, 2016—KB3206632 (OS Build 14393.576)
- December 9, 2016 —KB3201845 (OS Build 14393.479)
- November 9, 2016 – KB3200970 (OS Build 14393.448)
- November 8, 2016 – KB3200970 (OS Build 14393.447)
- October 27, 2016 – KB3197954 (OS Build 14393.351)
Each of these builds takes Windows 10 version 1607 (Anniversary Update) one step closer to the Creators Update. Many of the enterprise features for the new update are already available on preview builds, such as Windows Hello support, Windows Trusted Boot, Credential Guard, Device Guard, Conditional Access, WDATP and so on. On the consumer front they’ve brought in 3D and other UI changes.
There’s now word that Build 15002 should be out this week. It’s not a major jump from build 14997 so, even though the Desktop Converter Base Image for build 15002 was leaked before Microsoft pulled it, it’s better to wait until Microsoft releases a newer build this week.
So, it would seem that a Surface Pro 5 release date could actually dependent on how quickly Windows 10 Creators Update drops as a stable update. They’re not going to rush things, but they may not have the luxury of time at this point.
What Features to Expect on the Surface Pro 5
As for the Surface Pro 5 features, we’ve already seen the possibility of a 4K display upgrade option, USB-C port and a 16 GB RAM upgrade option. There isn’t any new information about a rechargeable Surface Pen, unfortunately, so we don’t know whether that’ll actually come included with the Surface Pro 5.
What’s the Price Estimate for Surface Pro 5?
The last reliable price estimate for Surface Pro 5 came last year, from NewsEveryday:
“The base model with an Intel i5 is said to start at $899, the one with an i7 at $999, and $1,599 for an i7 Extreme. Price will go up with the additional storage space and other sorts of configuration.”
Since then there have been no pricing updates, but the upgrade options will, of course, cost more, especially if you want more storage or a 4K display.
Hopefully, there will be more information flowing in during the weeks leading up to MWC next month in Barcelona, where we expect to learn more about the upcoming Surface Phone as well.
We’ll be sure to keep you posted.
Thanks for reading our work! Please bookmark 1redDrop.com to keep tabs on the hottest, most happening tech and business news from around the world.