Surface Pro 6 Review
Dan Baker / Digital Trends

Since its launch in 2012, Microsoft's Surface series has come a long way. The Surface family has been expanded to include a book, a laptop, a studio and even the ultra-portable Go, but the Surface Pro itself has remained relatively unchanged.

Although the Surface Pro pioneered the 2-in-1 form factor, its design has stayed the same for the past seven years and is now aging to 2019 standards. What we expect from the Surface Pro 7 will undoubtedly be Microsoft's next big thing.

Price and release date

Surface Pro 6 Review
Dan Baker / Digital Trends

Microsoft typically publishes new hardware in the fall so Surface Pro 7 will not be released until October 2019 at the earliest. The Surface Pro 6 was recently announced during an event on October 2, but the Surface Go was announced in July prior to release on August 2. Microsoft could announce a Surface Pro 7 in the same period, but 2020 could also be an option. In the past, there was a gap of almost two years between the release of the Surface Pro 4 in October 2015 and the Surface Pro (fifth generation) in June 2017.

The price of the Surface Pro 6 with 128 GB of storage, 8 GB of RAM and the Intel Core i5 processor is currently at $ 900. This price still does not include a keyboard or surface pin. It would be nice to see that Microsoft includes a package with the next Surface to lower the total end price. However, we do not expect this to change. Because the cost of laptops and other Windows 10 devices is often offset by their internal components, you can expect the Surface Pro 7 configurations to be priced at the same price of $ 900.

Slimmer design and keyboard

Surface Pro 6 Review
Dan Baker / Digital Trends

Microsoft has patented several related technologies that may be available for the future of Surface Pro 7. A special feature concerns a thinner and newly designed type cover with haptic feedback. This patent suggests that the Surface Pro 7 has slimmer apertures, a lighter profile, and a smaller footprint through a printed circuit board etched directly into the touchpad of a keyboard. It also suggests that the total height of the next area could be reduced. That would be a big change, as in the last Surface Pro generations, the Type Cover has got bigger, a bigger trackpad and a new Alcantara material for a better feel and finish.

A second patent also supports the wild claim that the Surface Pro 7 could be equipped with a reflective touch display. This means that you can write on both sides of the device. Although this is not exactly the folding PC that many dreamed of, it does suggest that you can use all the available space on the next Surface, including the rear display as the primary OLED, LCD, or LED screen is closed.

Finally, as it is the competition, Microsoft might take some hints from Apple's iPad Pro and lose the side mounts of the Surface Pro 7. Although the thick bezels are often cited as a reason for comfort in tablet mode, this has become a little ugly by 2019 standards. Laptop manufacturers like Dell have proven that a screen can be virtually limitless, and it would be great if Microsoft could offer consumers a 2-in-1 screen with more screen and less black space.

USB-C … please?

Surface Pro 6 Review
Dan Baker / Digital Trends

Most Windows 10 laptops or tablets have USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports in addition to USB-A. Not the Surface Pro. In Microsoft's 2-in-1 Surface family, this option is for Surface Go only, the smaller version of Surface Pro. Microsoft has resisted the new technology, and with powerful devices such as the Surface Pro 6 and the Surface Laptop 2, this is a blatant omission.

We hope Surface Pro 7 will change this and add one or more USB-C ports. A Microsoft patent, originally filed in May 2018, suggests that Microsoft may consider using a special USB-C USB magnetic cable for charging. It can be held safely without damaging the device when a consumer stumbles on the cable and pushes it out.

Whiskey Lake or Ice Lake CPUs under the hood

Apple iPad Pro vs Microsoft Surface 6 3

In 2018, the Surface Pro 6 finally made the leap to quad-core processors, but not with the latest Whiskey Lake processors from Intel. On the way to the future, it would be great if the Surface Pro 7 could be powered by more powerful processors under the hood. The new battery from Intel and its powerful Ice Lake CPUs are a real asset to the Surface Pro 7.

Intel has not specified an exact date for the publication of these processors, but only on "Holiday 2019". This could be beyond the typical Microsoft Surface Release timeframe, but hey, we can dream. A Surface Pro 7 with a Whiskey Lake CPU is much more likely. Microsoft is on the safe side with older processors like the 7th generation processor in Surface Studio 2.

Surface pin updated

Microsoft Surface Pro and Surface Pen 2017
Kyle Wiggers / Digital Trends

Although not included in the price, the Surface Pen is an integral part of the ownership of a Surface device. It lets you color Microsoft Word documents, draw pictures in Photoshop, and more.

Although the visual design and pressure sensitivity have changed in recent years, the Surface Pen still feels like an untapped potential. With the Surface Pro 7 it would be nice to see that Microsoft has delivered some Surface Pen patents in the past. This includes charging the pen with solar energy or using a pen clip that can act as a mouse wheel for the mouse.