Earlier this month, just a few days after unveiling its new Surface Laptop, Microsoft announced plans to host an event in Shanghai, China on May 23, where it said it "will show the world what's next".
The company had been widely expected to announce its new Surface Pro 5 at that event, replacing the Surface Pro 4, which is now over 18 months old. Recent reports suggested that the new tablet would be a modest evolution of its predecessor, with only a handful of minor changes.
Today, serial leakster Evan Blass (better known as @evleaks) published images on VentureBeat purporting to show the device with the new Surface Arc Mouse, which Microsoft revealed alongside the Surface Laptop. You'll probably have a tough time spotting the differences between the new tablet and the Pro 4, though.
Indeed, the new Windows 10 tablet appears virtually identical to the existing device, including the same 3.5mm headphone jack, Mini DisplayPort and USB Type-A port as the Pro 4, with no new-generation USB-C ports. Microsoft also excluded USB-C ports from the Surface Laptop, despite having tested prototypes with two of those ports built in.
Evan - who has an excellent reputation when it comes to revealing devices before they're officially announced - referred to the new model as the 'Surface Pro 4 refresh', but in a separate tweet, he also revealed that the device won't be referred to by that name, nor will it be called the Surface Pro 5. Instead, it seems that Microsoft will release the new tablet as the 'Surface Pro' - the same name as its Windows 8 Pro machine that went on sale in February 2013.
Notably, Microsoft's Panos Panay said last week that "there's no such thing as a Surface Pro 5".
While the device may not differ much externally from its predecessor, it will feature some upgraded specs, including Intel's latest seventh-generation Kaby Lake processors. According to Evan, the new Surface Pro tablet will have new Pen and Type Cover color options too, which are said to be "similar - but not identical - to the recently-launched Surface Laptop's palette":
Microsoft is not expected to announce a new Surface Book at the May 23 event; the company only released its refreshed Surface Book with Performance Base models in 13 new markets a few weeks ago, after unveiling them in October.
In addition to the new Surface Pro tablet, we also know that Microsoft will officially launch its HoloLens mixed reality headset in China at the same event, with shipping due to begin on the following day.
Source and images: VentureBeat