Rumor: Microsoft Surface upgrades, including Surface Phone, might come after Redstone 2

Eager Microsoft enthusiasts might be aware that the next update to Windows 10, known as Redstone 2, has been pushed back to 2017. Alongside its launch, many were expecting Microsoft to also unveil new hardware. But new credible rumors suggest that might not be the case at all, with new hardware possibly pushed even further towards next year's summer.

Originally, Windows 10 was supposed to see two major updates this year, one in the summer, which we now know as the 'Anniversary Update', and the second, known as Redstone 2, sometime in the fall. New Surface devices, including the long-awaited Surface phone were expected to be unveiled at this fall event, which would’ve coincided with the third update for Windows 10 since it originally launched.

That seems to have been the original plan at least. As things stand now, it's fairly certain that the update, Redstone 2, will show up sometime in Spring 2017. Meanwhile, according to the ever-reliable Mary Jo Foley, major hardware announcements seem to have also been pushed even further into next year’s schedule, no longer coinciding with Redstone 2.

According to Mary Jo’s sources, there will still be a fall Microsoft hardware event scheduled for 2016. But there’s little chance of seeing any major hardware or form factor revisions. In other words, those waiting for the rumored Surface All in One PC, will likely have to wait a lot longer.

Surface devices using the upcoming Kaby Lake processors from Intel will also come later than expected. There was strong speculation that the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book issues that many users encountered were due to the Skylake processors. It’s likely that Microsoft will let Kaby Lake mature in the market before taking the plunge again.

The long-rumored, long-awaited Surface phone is reportedly still happening, according to the same sources. The device will be business-oriented with Continuum being a big part of its marketing strategy. There’s nothing surprising here, though the Surface phone will be supposedly using ARM chips, not Intel as was once speculated. This is in lines with earlier reports, and Microsoft's own comment when it said it's committed to ARM-powered Windows phones.

Previous rumors suggested the Surface phone would not show up this year, and according to Mary Jo Foley, they're correct. Instead, the phone will likely show up at a big Microsoft hardware event with other new Surface devices next year.

The Band 3 wearable was another Microsoft device expected to see a refresh this coming fall. Such rumors seemed to be corroborated earlier this month when Panos Panay seemingly leaked the device. As things stand now, it’s not clear if the Band 3 will get a release this fall, though seeing as it’s only a minor product in Microsoft’s arsenal, it might see the light of day quite soon, instead of being pushed to 2017.

So what exactly will we be seeing this year?

According to Mary Jo Foley, there’s a good chance we’ll see some new Surface models, with new configurations, though without major changes. The new Atom-based Surface 4 might also show up as Microsoft announced it would be ending Surface 3 production this year. Then again the company might be dropping the lower-end line entirely, focusing on the Surface Pro and Surface Book devices.

The company is also likely to switch focus from its own products to those of its OEMs, highlighting some of the new designs and form-factors that have joined the market since the launch of Windows 10. The new Xbox hardware might also get a mention as we’ll be near the start of the holiday shopping season, a good time for gaming consoles. Plus, there are still rumors of a couple Xbox streaming devices - a Chromecast-type device and an Apple TV competitor - neither of which got unveiled at E3. Showing them off ahead of a busy shopping season, makes a lot of sense.

Finally, Microsoft is likely to hold a big hardware event sometime next year, perhaps around BUILD, when new form-factors, designs, specs and devices are expected to be unveiled.

Source: Mary Jo Foley

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