Microsoft has issued invitations to an event in Shanghai, to be held on May 23rd.
This isn’t that unusual in and of itself: Microsoft, a global company with major consumer and enterprise businesses, holds press conferences and events all over the world on a regular basis. Except that this time, the invitation to the Shanghai event was posted to Instagram by Panos Panay, Microsoft’s hardware chief, with the hashtag “#Surface.”
To hammer it home, Microsoft confirms to the Verge that there will be new hardware at this event, making it a safe bet that we’re going to see some kind of new Surface device.
The safe money is on a reveal of the Surface Pro 5 tablet — which is reportedly going to be a minor improvement over the current model.
But with such limited information, the mystery hardware could turn out to be anything: A new Surface Book, a refresh to the Surface Studio PC, or even, possibly, the long-rumoured Surface Phone.
It’s odd to think that Microsoft would launch another new device so soon: just a few days ago, on May 2nd, Microsoft unveiled the Surface Laptop, a $US999 competitor to the Apple MacBook. And yet, it’s shaping up that way.
Still, if it is the Surface Pro 5, it’s not coming a moment too soon. Microsoft Surface revenue dipped 26% last quarter, by $US285 million, as the 18-month-old Surface Pro 4 started showing its age, and as Windows PC manufacturers released their own price-competitive Surface clones.
Finally, and this part is just a guess, but the time would be right for Microsoft to refresh the original, non-Pro Surface tablet. The Surface 3, the current model, is exactly two years old today. And with the introduction of Windows 10 S, a lightweight new version of the operating system designed to eke more performance out of less-robust hardware, a new Surface to show it off on the tablet form factor could just make sense.
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