We were impressed with the Surface Pro 4, reviewed and shown above, which is easily the most desirable of all of Microsoft's Windows tablets. Whether or not we'll see a fifth-generation Surface Pro 5 is pure speculation at this point in time, but the rumour mill is already rumbling into motion. We investigate the Surface Pro 5 release date, price and specs rumours plus our expert predictions. Find out when the new Windows Surface will launch. See also: Best convertible laptops and tablets 2016.
Surface Pro 5 release date rumours
Update: It still looks like the Surface Pro 5 will arrive in 2017 but it appears that Microsoft has more than one new Windows Surface in store. The photo below from a developer shows a wall in Microsoft's building 88 during a recent visit. You can see placeholders for what looks like a Surface device with '2016' and 'coming soon'. There's also three devices which say '2017' on them.
Microsoft launched the Pro 4 in October 2015, so it's very unlikely it will launch an updated model before 12 months has passed. So while some rumours are claiming a Surface Pro 5 will be announced in May and go on sale in June 2016, we think all bets are off for this (it seems we were right).
Chances are that we'll see an announcement in October 2016 – which could include a Surface Book 2 – but others are saying that the launch could be in Spring 2017. The reason for that is due to more rumours that Microsoft is delaying the second part of the big Windows 10 update until early next year. This update is known as Redstone – or RS2 because it's the second part of it – and Microsoft is supposedly hanging on until the new Surface devices are ready so it can showcase the software features on them.
While October this year is the next period with a good possibility, it perfectly feasible that Microsoft could wait until 2017, with some touting March. As well as Redstone, it would give the firm more time to get the product ready (the Pro 4 launched with a number of issues including battery drain) and ensure the device comes with Intel Kaby Lake processors which are coming later this year.
This is all backed up by a report by Kitguru which says the Surface Pro 5 will arrive in early 2017 mainly due to the Kaby Lake processor.
It's slightly tenuous but Microsoft ending production of the Surface 3 by the end of 2016, via ZDNet, means it would create space for a new model – potentially before the end of the year. This could simply be the Surface 4 but we could also see the Surface Pro 5, too as Microsoft would likely launch them together.
One other option for a Surface Pro 5 announcement cum launch is 2 August which is the release date for the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, although this is probably unlikely.
Also see: Best Windows tablets 2016
Surface Pro 5 specification rumours
Although it's early days, there are a few rumours circulating. One is that the Surface Pen – the stylus bundled with Surface Pro tablets – will be updated so that it contains a rechargeable battery that charges wirelessly when magnetically attached to the tablet. The current Surface Pen attaches magnetically but is not rechargeable as it takes an alkaline AAAA battery:
Another more obvious update is that the Pro 5 will have the latest generation of Intel processor. Some say it will be the sixth-generation Skylake chip, but other rumours suggest it will be the following generation, codenamed Kaby Lake.
The report mentioned above, which cites manufacturing sources in China, suggests the Surface Pro 5 will come with a 2K screen but there will also be a 4K model for those willing to splash the cash. It also touts an upgrade to 16GB of RAM, presumably for cheaper models as the Pro 4 is currently available with this capacity.
One other candidate for an upgrade is the USB port. The Surface Pro 5 could be the first in the range to get a USB-C port rather than the USB 3.0 port on the Pro 4. This could also be used for charging: the proprietary charging connector is an annoyance that could quite easily be solved by USB-C.
Cameras are the other likely components to see upgrades, along with the latest versions of Wi-Fi (hopefully with MU-MIMO support) and Bluetooth.
Surface Pro 5 price rumours
Now we're really into wild speculation territory, but experience tells us that Microsoft will charge similar price for each version of the Pro 5. There's no reason to suspect there won't be a similar range of models, from an entry-level Core i3, up to a wallet-bashing Core i7 with plenty of RAM and internal storage. The Surface Pro 4 starts at £749 and we don't expect this to change much.
See also: How to get a cheap Windows tablet that looks like a Surface.
When more rumours – or hard facts – emerge, we'll update this article, so keep it bookmarked if you're excited about the Surface Pro 5.