Back in July, photos from inside a building on Microsoft's Redmond campus hinted at four new Surface devices on the way, including one earmarked for launch this year. In the weeks since then, speculation has grown about what those devices might be, fuelled by rumors that the company has been working on a new family of all-in-one PCs under its premium hardware brand.
Today, Mary Jo Foley revealed fresh details about Microsoft's plans - and it seems we may not have to wait too long to find out some of what it has in store.
According to Mary Jo, Microsoft will hold a hardware launch event in late October, just over a year after its New York City event at which it unveiled the Surface Book, Surface Pro 4, Lumia 950 and 950 XL, and Band 2. Unusually, the event itself is said to have a codename, referred to as 'Project Rio'.
Those hoping for the Surface Book 2 and Surface Pro 5 to be announced next month look set to be disappointed, as Mary Jo's sources indicate that the new-generation devices won't arrive until around Spring 2017, when the Windows 10 Redstone 2 update is expected to be released. But it looks like Microsoft may be preparing to 'refresh' its existing Book and Pro 4 devices, with updated processors and potentially some other small changes.
It also seems that a replacement for the Surface 3 won't be unveiled next month either. Microsoft said in June that production of that device would cease by the end of the year, and some retailers have been offering clearance discounts to help shift remain stocks.
Additionally, a replacement for the Band 2 isn't expected until next year. In recent months, Microsoft has been heavily discounting its Band 2 - for months at a time, in multiple markets - leading many to believe that a new model would arrive very soon.
But what we are expecting to see at Microsoft's October event is its new all-in-one PC, which is reportedly being developed under the codename 'Cardinal'.
Cardinal is said to be akin to a consumer-focused version of Microsoft's Surface Hub, its gigantic touchscreen PC designed for workplace collaboration. Mary Jo's sources suggest that the new version aimed at consumers may be positioned as a device "that can turn your desk into 'a studio'".
Earlier reports indicated that Microsoft was testing the all-in-one with three display sizes: 21-inch with Full HD (1920x1080px) resolution; and 24- and 27-inch models with 4K (3860x2140px) resolution. However, it's not clear if the company intends to offer all three display options for purchase.
However, it looks like Windows fans may be waiting quite a while longer for the arrival of the much-anticipated 'Surface phone'. While Microsoft is likely to unveil a range of new devices with its Redstone 2 release next Spring, Mary Jo says her sources have suggested that the Surface phone's launch "could be considerably later".
Mary Jo also reported in July that the Surface phone may not arrive until later in 2017, and it seems those plans haven't changed.
Source: Mary Jo Foley (ZDNet)