When the Surface Pro 4 was unveiled in October 2015, Microsoft's Panos Panay spoke at length about the "power of the Pen" - the stylus for writing and drawing on its display - and the fact that the Pen "comes with Surface Pro 4" was repeatedly highlighted as a key selling point of the device.
But a few weeks ago, the Microsoft Store began selling its entry-level Pro 4 without the Pen in the US for the first time. It followed various other retailers who had been offering the same 'no pen' SKU - with the Intel Core m3 model of the Pro 4 tablet - for several weeks before that. Now, though, Microsoft has completely dropped the SKU of that model that includes the Pen in the box.
In recent weeks, the Microsoft Store has listed both the standard (with Pen) and 'no pen' SKUs on its Surface Pro 4 page:
But the option to buy the Intel Core m3 model with a Pen in the box has now disappeared from the main store listing...
...and the option to buy that model with a Pen is also absent from the 'Configure your device' page on which all of the available product configurations are shown:
While the Microsoft Store has dropped the Pen-inclusive Core m3 SKU, you may still be able to find one at other US retailers. But even if you purchase the 'no pen' SKU from the Microsoft Store, the Surface Pen is still available to purchase separately there, priced at $59.99. As with other Surface Pro 4 models, the Type Cover keyboard accessory is also sold separately, priced from $129.99.
The Intel Core m3 SKU with the Surface Pen is still listed on the Microsoft Store in other markets, including the United Kingdom, although the SKU that includes the Pen is currently out of stock there, showing an 'Email me when available' button. Oddly, whether you choose to buy the Pro 4 with or without the Pen in the UK, you'll pay the same price of £749.
This latest revision to Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 line-up comes amid growing rumors that the company is planning to launch a new version of the tablet in the next few months. While the Pro 4 remains popular, it's now 18 months old - and with other devices recently launching with Intel's latest Kaby Lake chips, USB Type-C ports, 4G LTE connectivity, and other features lacking on the Pro 4, many potential buyers are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Pro 5.