Microsoft's Next Surface Pro May Arrive Soon

At its big Surface event earlier this year, Microsoft conspicuously left out talk of a new Surface Pro. But something new might be coming in the next few months.

Microsoft is working on a new version of its Surface Pro tablet, according to a report in China's Economic Daily News. The report, which was spotted by Digitimes, claims the Surface Pro 5 and ship at some point in the first quarter of 2017.

Microsoft held a Surface event in October where it unveiled a new version of its Surface Book two-in-one hybrid, as well as a new all-in-one called the Surface Studio. The event was strategically held ahead of Apple's own MacBook Pro event in October, and many industry analysts and pundits argued that Microsoft's event overshadowed Apple's rather anemic show.

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However, questions remain about the Surface Pro. Microsoft is currently selling the Surface Pro 4, a device it released in 2015. There had been some speculation that Microsoft would release the Surface Pro 5 in October alongside the other Surface devices to round out its lineup. Instead, Microsoft ignored the Surface Pro, causing some to wonder what the fate might be for its high-end tablet.

The Economic Daily News report is slim on details and focuses mainly on the Chinese manufacturers that might be partnering with Microsoft to bring the tablet to the market next year. However, the report does say that the rumored Surface Pro 5 could ship with a new high-end Ultra HD display topping the 2736 x 1824-pixel resolution in its current 12.3-inch screen. Microsoft is also reportedly planning a new Surface Pen to support the Surface Book 5 that would use magnetic charging -- a first for the company's Surface Pro line.

Exactly when Microsoft might announce the Surface Pro 5 is unknown at this point, and it's possible the company's plans might change as it gets further into the manufacturing process. But if the Surface Pro 5 is released in the first quarter, it might be battling on store shelves with new versions of Apple's iPad, which have also been tipped for an early 2017 release date.

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