With all the hype and Surface 2 rumors out there, it can be difficult to sort out what Microsoft is planning to do with their tablet line. In this post (Part 1), I’m going to help you discern the “fluff” from the “real” about Surface 2 and narrow it down to just a few core rumors. In Part 2, I’ll help you decide if you should buy a Surface now or wait until after the new models come out.
Why are there so many Surface 2 rumors?
There aren’t. Not really. There are just lots of variations and repeats of a few “core rumors” that deserve your attention. The rest are just journalistic speculation and tricks to keep you coming back to their sites.
With a few exceptions, little information is coming from Microsoft or its suppliers through any sort of “official” channels. Hence, tech writers need to drum up some business and bloggers and tech news-ers alike recycle information. This is to make it look like there’s more content then there really is.
For example, take this article from ZDNet. Notice how many links there are in that article that just link to other tech blogging sites or back to earlier posts on ZDNet? See how it makes it look like they have a lot more information than they really do? They do that to keep you coming back to look for more. Keep that in mind as you read the rumors going forward.
Also, don’t confuse opinion with fact. Some writers pass off their opinion as if it were factual information. Learn to tell the difference. Below I’m going to give some opinions. When I do. you will know they are “Tim’s opinion”.
This one stems from Microsoft announcing the release of Windows 8.1 will happen October 18th (one of the few bits of information we’ve gotten from an actual Microsoft channel).
Tim’s Opinion: It makes sense that Microsoft would time the release of the new hardware to go with the new software. In addition, there have been some significant price cuts for the existing Surface models. This may indicate they’re clearing inventory to make room for the next model or maybe they’re just trying to cut some losses in light of the poor Surface RT sales numbers.
I’ll give this about a 65% chance of being an accurate rumor. Just remember that the roll out of the original Surface RT and Surface Pro was staggered. The RT was released several months before the Pro. Don’t be surprised if the same thing happens again.
Surface 2 Rumors #2: Microsoft is going to make a Surface-Mini
This rumor springs from two sources:
- A session at Microsoft Build where there were materials shown about building apps across multiple screen sizes in Windows 8. As part of that session, they showed a resolution selection menu with 7″ and 7.5″ screen sizes.
- A May Digitimes article where Samsung seems to be admitting to the creation of 7.9″ screens for Microsoft.
Tim’s Opinion: Pretty flimsy evidence if you ask me. In addition, we know that other manufacturers are already making small Windows 8.x devices. So, I don’t think Microsoft will get into this game yet. I think they might in the future if the OEMs start making money but I think the loss they took with the RT made them a bit risk adverse.
I’ll give this only about a 25% chance of being true. But, if it is true, I believe the Surface 2 (next gen RT) will be the “Mini version” and the Surface 2 Pro will be the full size version.
The original Surface Pro is a really powerful machine but its Achilles heel is the short battery life. Microsoft knows this and would be foolish to not do something about it.
Tim’s Opinion: With the probable addition of the Haswell-core i5 processor and its better power usage features, this one is a no-brainer. Yes, it will have a longer battery life. I’ll give it a 99% chance. I imagine, they will manage to squeeze about 8 hours out of the next version of the Pro with an extended battery option.
Another issue some folks have with the Surface is the lack of LTE support. Both the RT and Pro are Wi-Fi only; so, they can be pretty useless for connecting to the internet if you are outdoors or traveling, for example read Joanna’s post on Traveling with the Surface. Most people get around this limitation by tethering to their cell phones but that can be a pain.
Tim’s Opinion: I imagine that there will be a LTE option available for at least one of the new Surface models. This is bolstered by a Bloomberg article identifying Qualcomm as a new supplier of Surface parts. Their Snapdragon processors include built-in LTE support, so I’m going to give this one a 80% chance of happening.
Look for Part 2 to this post. It is coming soon and I will answer the question of whether or not you should wait to buy a Surface.
Also, please remember, much of this is my “expert” opinion after watching tech product releases and the hype surrounding them since the early 90’s. Let me know if you agree or, better yet, if you disagree.
Tim Rolston is a professional geek with over 23 years of experience working in Information Technology and dealing with everything from large-scale storage to remote systems management and automation for organizations such as Texas Instruments, Mobil Oil, and the University of Michigan (where he was an Academic IT Director).
He co-founded JTRTech along with Joanna to realize his long-time dream of working for himself.