Naturally, Microsoft is not commenting on this, but sources in Microsoft’s supply chain believe that the company could announce a redesigned Surface Book 2 as early as the end of March, or early April 2017.
According to Digitimes, which has often leaked reliable information, sources from the related upstream supply chain say that the newly designed device has already entered the mass production stage, and is likely to be priced at a much lower $1,000 compared to its predecessor, Surface Book, which was originally priced at $1,499 but has recently been discounted to $1,299 by Microsoft.
The source also revealed that the price cut was a move to clear inventory ahead of the Surface Book 2 launch.
The real news is in the new design. The new Surface Book 2 is expected to come with a traditional clamshell design as opposed to the current 2-in-1 hybrid format. The source noted that the detachable design of the older model “created conflict with its Surface Pro product line in terms of product position.”
The pricing and design conflict was reportedly the reason only 500,000 units of Surface Book were shipped in 2016.
The new Surface Book 2 is estimated to ship between 1.2 million and 1.5 million units in 2017, while the current Surface Pro line is expected to keep growing at a 20% year-over-year level compared to last year and reach six million shipments by the end of 2017.
One major point to note is that, if Microsoft has moved the Surface Book 2 to a different market segment, competition in the notebook market will continue to be as fierce as the tablet segment. It may help relieve some pressure from the tablet market, but add a proportionate amount to the notebook market.
If all of this is true, and with Windows 10 Creators Update out of the box on the new Surface Book 2, a $1,000 price tag will possibly give it a lot more leverage in the notebook market. Comparable premium notebooks like the Dell XPS 13 currently average about that much, so the pricing looks right for a premium device in this segment.
Hopefully, the Surface Book 2 will sell a lot better than its predecessor, and the estimates provided by the source (2x to 3x what the older version sold) appear to be reasonable.
More on this as it breaks.
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