As Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 enjoys a surge of positive reviews and popularity after its release last year, the Surface Pro 4 sequel is on the minds of Windows tablet fans everywhere. But if recent rumors are true, we may see the Surface Pro 4 as early as Fall 2015.
While it's almost unanimous among Microsoft rumor experts that the Surface Pro 4 will launch pre-loaded with the Windows 10 operating system, the question is whether or not Windows 10 will launch in conjunction with the tablet/notebook hybrid as part of a package deal, or before. Windows 10 is already in a beta testing stage with a rumored launch this summer, although an exact date has not been confirmed.
Specs are all over the board when it comes to predicted hardware for the Surface Pro 4, but one thing that's almost certain is the fact that the tablet will come in two different sizes.
The current Surface Pro 3 measures in at 12.2 inches, but the next iteration is said to come in both 14-inch and 10-inch models. The smaller version will have comparable hardware specs as the current Surface Pro 3, and the larger one is said to feature the new Intel Core M processors and 2160 x 1440 pixel resolution.
But the Core M processor, while fanless, more reliable, and more compact than previous Intel chips, is not as powerful as even the Core i5 or i7 chips. Is Microsoft willing to replace performance for portability as Apple is doing with the Apple MacBook Air, or, more importantly, will consumers go for that direction?
The price is also a major factor in consumer acceptance of a Surface Pro sequel. If Microsoft is leaning towards a more aggressive marketing pitch on the heels of the Surface Pro 3's success, lowering the price would be a good move.
As The Fuse Joplin points out in a recent article, Microsoft needs to lower the price on the Surface Pro 4 in order to continue the success of the series, especially in the face of such fierce competition from Apple, Lenovo, and other tablet/notebook hybrid manufacturers.
The 64 GB Core i3 Surface Pro 3 starts off a $799, but can reach as high as $1,949 topped out with 512 GB of storage and the faster Core i7 processor.
"At first, Microsoft lost nearly $2 billion in developing and selling these devices," TFJ reports. "Only recently did the company manage to start pulling in significant revenue from the Surface Pro devices, especially the Surface Pro 3. The company reported over $900 million in revenue during a quarter in 2014. To keep that momentum, Microsoft needs to move as many Surface Pro 4 units as possible upon release. So much is riding upon this release because it will likely be the first device to feature Windows 10."
For this reason, we would expect to see a price of around $699 for the base model Surface Pro 4, or even lower if there are two sizes and the smallest has the same specs as the Surface Pro 3. Although the current Surface Pro 3 is still holding its launch-day pricing, we expect to see that drop when the Surface Pro 4 releases, as well.