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article imageMicrosoft planning three Surface PCs, 'gapless' Surface Book

By James Walker     Aug 12, 2016 in Technology
Microsoft has been rumoured to be expanding its Surface hardware range with an all-in-one PC for a couple of months. A new report has now shed more light on the upcoming device, revealing there'll be three models and a new "gapless" Surface Book.
According to Windows Central's Daniel Rubino, Microsoft is planning a "refreshed" line-up of Surface devices for launch next year. The current Surface Pro tablet and Surface Book laptop will be revised with "modest" updates, clearing the way for the launch of the all-new Surface all-in-one (AiO) PC.
Unlike the other members of the Surface family, the new PC will be aimed at living room users. Microsoft is aiming to create an "elegant" computer that owners will want to see in their living room, according to Rubino's inside sources.
Three different versions of the PC currently exist internally, giving customers a choice of display sizes and resolutions depending on budget and space. 21.5-inch, 24-inch and 27-inch variants are available. The 21.5-inch option has a Full HD 1920x1080 resolution. The larger versions get ultra-high resolution 4K panels. The sizes and resolutions may be adjusted before launch.
The rest of the hardware specifications are currently unknown. The PCs are likely to be based on Intel's upcoming Kaby Lake processors but no firm details have leaked out yet. However, with Microsoft hardware still relatively obscure to most consumers, the company is likely to use the living-room-based "Surface AIO" as a flagship for its brand. That would suggest cutting-edge, high-power hardware to match the rest of the Surface line-up.
As with the other members of the family, Surface AIO is likely to include a unique standout feature that makes it more suited to its purpose than its rivals. With the original Surface, it was the ability to convert seamlessly between tablet and laptop. Last year's creative-oriented Surface Book is one of the most powerful detachable notebooks ever built.
The star device-defining feature of the Surface AIO is still a closely-guarded secret. It can be assumed it will be a little different to current all-in-one PCs by manufacturers like Dell, HP and Lenovo, but exactly how remains up for speculation.
Microsoft isn't devoting its entire hardware team to Surface AIO. It is also working on updates to the existing Surface products, designing the Surface Pro 5 and Surface Book 2 for launch either in the fall or early next year.
The Surface Book in particular is getting a reworked design, Rubino's sources said. Notably, its unique fulcrum hinge has been revised so it sits flush with the keyboard tray, allowing for a gapless design. The large hinge on the current model prevents the laptop's lid from meeting the keyboard when closed, leaving a visible gap between the two that looks unsightly and makes the Surface Book more liable to become a dust collector. The new design will solve this issue, allowing the lid to close completely like a regular laptop.
Surface Book at Microsoft s October 2015 #Windows10 devices event.
Surface Book at Microsoft's October 2015 #Windows10 devices event.
Microsoft October 2015 Live Event
The update will also feature more modern internals, including Intel's new Kaby Lake processors again. Microsoft could offer an upgraded discrete graphics card too, turning Surface Book into an even more capable mobile workstation.
Microsoft is still widely rumoured to be working on a Surface Phone, a professional-oriented smartphone to restore its now almost non-existent handheld business. No information has leaked about the project for a while, either to say it's in active development or has been abandoned. The phone is now expected to launch sometime next year.
All of these reports should be taken with a grain of salt as Microsoft is yet to reveal anything about its new Surface products. It has previously hinted at a single launch this year, however, followed by three more devices in 2017.
Microsoft may be planning an event this fall, coming a year after the launch of the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. There's some speculation it may wait until early 2017 though, timing the unveiling to coincide with the release of the "Redstone 2" update for Windows 10. With the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book selling well and anticipation high for a Surface Phone, Microsoft's next-generation hardware could prove to be another success, a few years on from its $900 million write down of the original Surface tablet.
More about Microsoft, Surface, Microsoft surface, surface pro 4, surface book
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