Most of Microsoft’s Surface product lineup is scheduled for a potential refresh at Microsoft’s October 2 event in New York City, and educated guesses, rumors, and potential reports of new Surface hardware are beginning to, er, surface. But which ones make sense?

Last October, Microsoft’s Surface launch included the Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2, the Surface Studio 2, and the Surface Headphones. Earlier in 2018, Microsoft announced the Surface Go and the Surface Book 2.  Theoretically, Microsoft could refresh all of these products, which would make for an epic Surface event next month.

surface headphones caseRob Enderle

Microsoft’s Surface Headphones didn’t get a whole lot of traction. Could earbuds be the next generation?

Microsoft has a wide variety of chip platforms from AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm to tap for new Surface hardware. For one, there are no fewer than six viable Core microprocessors around which Microsoft could build a Surface device: the existing 8th-gen Intel “Whiskey Lake” U-series laptop and “Amber Lake” Y-series chips; Intel’s ”Ice Lake” 10th-gen platform, also in U- and Y-series configurations; and the upclocked 10th-gen “Comet Lake” platform, also in U- and Y-series splits. Intel’s Pentium Gold chips, the foundation of the Surface Go, can still play a role.

Then there are AMD’s new Ryzen Mobile processors, which have historically struggled to find traction in notebook PCs. Finally we have Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx chips, which promise improved performance and all-around connectivity.

Depending on how you count it, that’s six different chip platforms from which to choose, and that’s before you start diving down into individual families such as the Core i5 or Ryzen 7. Now let’s handicap the rumors around specific product features…

Surface Pro 7 using USB-C: Credible

Thurrott’s Brad Sams begin making claims last year that the Surface Pro 7 (and probably the Surface Laptop 3, too) would include a USB-C interface, as part of Beneath A Surface, a book he wrote about the past and future of Surface devices. To be fair, most people expected Microsoft to migrate to USB-C last generation, as virtually all of its competition has done so, as well as the Surface Book 2. The question now is whether Microsoft will do away with the Surface connector, a staple of all Surface devices, or double it up, as it has done with the Surface Book 2. 

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Microsoft Surface Pro 6 Mark Hachman / IDG

The Surface Pro 6’s Surface Connector (the long slot on the side of this Surface Pro 6) provides power and I/O, but Microsoft hasn’t done much more with it.

Our guess: USB-C replaces the Type-A connector already on Surface devices. If Microsoft does away with the Surface connector, the USB-C port will probably be Thunderbolt-enabled. If not, it’s more likely that USB-C will exist alongside the Surface Connector as a more generic I/O.

Microsoft Surface Book 2 IDG / Mark Hachman

In the Surface Book 2, a USB-C port sits alongside the Surface Connector. 

Surface Pro 7 using Comet Lake: Credible

It’s reasonable to assume that Intel’s Comet Lake is going to appear in one Surface product, and Ice Lake in another. believes the Surface Pro 7 is going to run Comet Lake, and in the following configurations:



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