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Microsoft announces Surface event on October 2 in New York City

Microsoft is holding a major Surface hardware event in New York City on Wednesday 2 October. The company is constantly teasing this event on Twitter and even invites Surface fans to participate. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will be present, alongside Surface Chief Panos Panay. It seems that we are on our way to an important event, perhaps as large or larger than the Surface 2015 event when the Surface Book, Microsoft Band 2, Surface Pro 4 and three Lumia phones were introduced.

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There have been no major leaks about what we could see on Wednesday, but rumors suggest that we will see some innovations of popular devices such as the Surface Pro and Surface Laptop, in addition to a new mysterious Surface with ARM. The most important part of the day, Microsoft can usher in its plans for two screens for Surface and beyond, and a new Windows variant to realize those plans. Let's see what we will probably and unlikely see on Wednesday.


Surface Pro 6 in matte black
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Microsoft renewed the Surface Pro line-up with the sixth edition last year in a new black matte finish, but crucial without USB-C connectivity. We expect the Surface Pro 7 to arrive on Wednesday, complete with USB-C support. How Microsoft adds USB-C to Surface Pro 7 is not entirely clear, but we hope that the company simply replaces the Mini DisplayPort with USB-C and at least keeps a USB-A port for compatibility. Patents from earlier this year suggested that we might even see a new type of Surface Type Cover with a future Surface Pro.

Outside of USB-C, it is highly likely that the Surface Pro 7 will include the latest 10th generation of Intel processors, and perhaps even some new color options (according to rumors). There could even be a new Surface pen with wireless charging, since a recent FCC request showed that a new stylus is on the way.

Allegedly, Microsoft has been working on an ARM-powered Surface for months, and it is likely that we will see the unveiling on Wednesday. Unlike earlier surfaces with Nvidia Tegra ARM chips inside (Surface RT, Surface 2), Microsoft would work with Qualcomm on this specific Surface. That means the device is probably powered by Qualcomm & # 39; s latest 8cx chip, which was first unveiled almost a year ago.

We didn't see many ARM-powered Windows laptops in 2019, but Samsung recently surprised us with its new Galaxy Book S and a promise of 23 hours of battery life. If Microsoft makes a Qualcomm-powered Surface, this may be the push that other OEMs need to take this type of device seriously. Windows on ARM still lags behind just Windows 10, thanks to some app compatibility and generally poor performance from previous Qualcomm chips, but the Snapdragon 8cx can change things.

Small details have been leaked about Microsoft's Surface ARM plans, and it is not really clear in what type of device we will see this processor. Microsoft speaker WalkingCat has revealed that Microsoft has a & # 39;Surface Pro with thinner ring and LTE, "Suggesting that this might be the ARM-powered device about which rumors have been said. LTE is a natural by-product of using the Qualcomm chips and you would expect a different design than the traditional Surface Pro. If the rumors are correct, it would be surprising to see Microsoft use the & # 39; Surface Pro & # 39; name on an ARM-powered device.


Surface Laptop 2
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

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Microsoft seems to be launching new Surface Laptop 3 models on Wednesday. Although the existing Surface Laptop 2 is only available in a 13.5-inch edition, it seems increasingly likely that Microsoft will launch a 15-inch model. Rumors also suggest that Microsoft will use AMD processors for the first time in the Surface Laptop. If you put the AMD rumors and 15-inch rumors together, we'll probably see a larger Surface Laptop 3 with AMD chips in it.

It is not clear whether the smaller 13.5-inch model will be updated or even contain AMD chips, but it would be surprising to see that Microsoft is just launching a Surface Laptop 3 in a new format and not renewing the smaller one fashion model.

The Surface Laptop 3 from Microsoft can even appear without the notorious Alcantara cover. WalkingCat has hinted that Microsoft could launch a Surface Laptop 3 without Alcantara, and even record it removable SSD & # 39; s as an option. If both changes are true, they would appeal to a number of commercial customers who have to swap discs and not want to take care of the Alcantara fabric as a luxury handbag.

The big surprise of the day is probably Microsoft's scourge for the future of Windows. We've known for a while that Microsoft is working on a Surface Display with two screens, codenamed & # 39; Centaurus & # 39 ;, and the October 2 event could serve as the first unveiling of this new type of hardware. Microsoft has been building a new two-screen device for more than two years, and it has been designed as the hero device for a series of new two-screen tablet / laptop hybrids that OEMs are expected to launch in 2020.

Microsoft demonstrated this new device at an internal meeting earlier this year, showing that work on the prototype has passed the early stages. An important part of this hardware is Windows Lite, the code name for a new Windows variant that powers devices with two screens. Also known as "Santorini" internally, Windows Lite is more a Chrome OS-like version of Windows that is specially designed for dual-screen and folding devices.

Intel has encouraged OEM & # 39; s to make two-screen devices, and much of the hardware might resemble Microsoft's original courier concept or might even contain foldable screens in the future. The Windows Lite interface will be similar to Windows as it exists today, but it will be more a mix of what Microsoft is doing with its Surface Hub shell and the limited functionality of its Windows Phone Continuum user interface. The underlying parts of Windows Lite are built on Microsoft & # 39; s new Composable Shell (C-Shell) and Windows Core OS, a more modular version of the existing Windows Shell that controls many parts of Windows 10.

How much Microsoft reveals about its Surface plans on two screens and even Windows Lite remains to be seen, but we expect to see a sort of teaser on Wednesday. These devices are not expected to be ready until next year, so we will probably not see any definitive hardware or even software, but only a brief look at the future of Windows.


Rumors Surface speaker

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In addition to the more traditional Surface devices, we could see a kind of Surface speaker. Microsoft surprised us all last year with Surface Headphones and a new patent suggests that the company is working on a portable speaker for Microsoft Teams.

The portable speaker itself seems to have a similar design to the Home Mini from Google, with fabric around the top and volume buttons with the ability to make and receive calls and be muted. This indicates that this is related to Microsoft Teams and meeting rooms, and one of the inventors is a principal design manager for Microsoft Teams devices. The device also seems to have a removable base, perhaps to charge it and place it around a meeting room.

Earlier this year, Microsoft also demonstrated a prototype for a new consumer version of Microsoft Teams, called Microsoft Teams "for life". It is designed as an extension of the Microsoft chat app for friends and family. Microsoft is experimenting with features such as sending locations, shared family calendars, and sharing documents. We may see this new version of Teams next to a potential Surface speaker.

Clearly much is planned for Wednesday, but we do not expect updates for other Surface products such as the Surface Book 3 or Surface Go. Although a 15-inch version of the Surface Laptop 3 can certainly compete with the Surface Book, we still expect this product to be updated at some point in the near future. Similarly, no new Surface Go seems to be expected on Wednesday, especially as Microsoft is about to unveil an ARM-powered Surface Pro.

It is also claimed that Microsoft is working on Surface-branded earbuds to handle Apple's AirPods. Amazon has just launched its own Echo Buds with built-in Alexa, and Microsoft unveiled its first Surface Headphones at its Surface event last year. We haven't heard any additional rumors about these potential Surface earbuds coming out before the end of 2019, so it would be surprising to see them on Wednesday.

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The edge will handle the Surface event from Microsoft live, with a special live blog and all the news that happens. The Microsoft Surface event starts on Wednesday, October 2 at 10 a.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.