It is no secret that Microsoft seems to be on a roll when it comes to its Surface devices. While it took some time before the tech giant was able to create a device that sat with consumers just right, the release of the Surface Pro 4 in October 2015 heralded the beginning of Microsoft's burst of innovation. With the tech firm's flagship hybrid device being more than a year old, however, speculations are high that the Surface Pro 5 would make a debut a bit later than what many expected.
The release date of the Surface Pro 5 has long been in the rumor mill, with numerous missed predictions over the last few months. With the rumored October 2016 release date ultimately proving itself to be false, speculations are now high that the highly anticipated device would see a spring 2017 release date instead, according to a Tech Radar report. While this date is a bit later than what analysts and Surface fans expected, an early 2017 release actually makes perfect sense.
This is because the Surface Pro 5 is an enterprise-grade device. In a lot of ways, the Surface Pro line is Microsoft's ongoing statement that a hybrid device could be robust enough to become a full-fledged desktop replacement. With this in mind, it seems like Microsoft is definitely holding out on the Surface Pro 5's release due to the availability of Intel's latest processors, the Kaby Lake family. With Kaby Lake processors being shipped late 2016, a spring 2017 release date for the Surface Pro 5 definitely seems to be Microsoft's best way to ensure that its next flagship hybrid would be its best one yet.
The rumors surrounding the Microsoft Surface Pro 5's specs have been very encouraging so far, with numerous speculations pointing to a device with robust specs that far exceed those offered by its competitors. While the specifics of the device have not been leaked as of date, rumors have largely been unanimous in the notion that the Microsoft Surface Pro 5 would carry Intel's Kaby Lake chips, around 16GB of RAM and a 2K screen at least. Apart from this, speculations are also high that the Surface Pen, one of the most important accessories of the hybrid device, would finally be rechargeable, just like the Apple Pencil in Apple's iPad Pro.
One particular rumor that has been very persistent lately is the speculation that the Surface Pro 5 would be released in two versions, with one being the top-tier Pro variant and another being an entry-level non-Pro device. A PC Advisor report has stated that Microsoft recently released a demo of Windows 10 running on an ARM-based computer. This has then triggered further speculations that the Surface 5 (the entry-level, non-Pro variant) would come equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor instead of an Intel Kaby Lake chip.
Utilizing an ARM-based processor opens up numerous possibilities for the Surface Pro 5. While the device would lose the raw computing power that is provided by Intel's Kaby Lake processors, the ARM-based Surface device would most likely feature a vastly improved battery life and possibly even LTE connectivity. Considering the advantages that an ARM chip could give to the Surface line, it is possible that Microsoft might actually take the gamble and release a more lightweight, endurance-focused, LTE-capable machine.
In a lot of ways, releasing an ARM-based device with full mobile connectivity would enable Microsoft to consume yet another chunk out of Apple's target market. After all, the iPad Pro, which is Apple's enterprise-grade hybrid device, might lag behind the Surface Pro 4 in terms of raw power, but its capability to connect to the internet through LTE is a definite plus for the device. If the next Surface hybrid would debut with the same feature, then Apple's power tablet would definitely be in trouble. That is, of course, unless the iPad Pro 2 proves to be a revolutionary device.
As for the price of the upcoming hybrid device, rumors are high that the Surface Pro 5 would start once more at $899 for its entry-level version, with higher-tier models going well into the thousands of dollars. Surface devices have never really been affordable, but they have managed to become successful nonetheless. Thus, despite the most likely steep prices of the Surface Pro 5, its features and raw power might very well be enough to warrant a purchase from consumers. For now, at least, the wait for the next great hybrid device would continue.[Featured Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]