We have a date, we know what is going to be upgrades, so what do think Microsoft is going to update with the new Surface Pro 7 2-in-1 ultraportable. Ahead of the October 2nd event, I want to take a look at some of the key features that Panos Panay’s team will be considering.

Although the Surface Pro range are widely shown off in tablet mode – and the tweaks to Windows 10 suggest there are some new software features to improve the touch interface – the Type Cover is a key piece of hardware. Not only does it offer screen protection when carrying the Pro, it offers a full keyboard for input and a small touchpad for mouse input.

Compared to the comfort of the full travel keys, I find the touchpad cramped and small. Improving the touchpad would be one of my goals. And, as noted by WindowsLatest, Microsoft has been working on improvements, to allow more gestures to be recognised and better use of multi-touch across a wider touchpad:

Microsoft patent hints at techniques to enable a combination of touch input surfaces to be characterized as a single logical input surface. The single logical input surface is divided into different touch input ‘zones’ and each zone can receive touch input to invoke a different respective functionality.

“For instance, when an operating system or other system process is in focus, the touchpad can be configured into different zones based on a particular zone layout defined for the operating system,” Microsoft noted.

The internal specifications will be bumped up – as Microsoft do with every release – but I’m expecting the Surface Pro 7 to do more than equalze itself with the competition. Stand by for the tenth-generation of Intel Core processors to feature, likely with the U- or Y- series depending on the power/performance/price option that you decide to buy.

Microsoft has also been working with other chip suppliers. It would not be a surprise if one of the Surface devices launched in October will have one variant with an ARM chipset. I think it’s more likely to feature in the Surface Laptop compared to the Surface Pro, but an ARM-powered Surface Pro is not out of the question.

Finally, how about some connectivity? I’ll take it as read that someone in Redmond is going to be sensible and has thought about Thunderbolt connectivity. I want to look at the cellular side.

The last major iteration of the Surface Pro hardware offered a number of connection options, including a 4G LTE version that offered a huge amount of portable connectivity. While wi-fi will suffice for most travellers (with the option to use their smartphone as a hotspot if required) there will always be some advantages to having mobile connectivity built into the device.

I would be shocked if there was not the option of 4G connectivity in one of the new Surface SKUs, but I think that a visionary product family (and the Surface Pro is certainly a powerful vision) needs to look up and push the envelope occasionally. And that means looking at a 5G version

Sure it would be pricey, it would probably need a new chassis to accommodate the larger ariel and the increased battery capacity, and it would a small target audience compared to the rest of the range, but it would be a strong statement of Microsoft’s commitment to supporting future technology.

None of these are especially sexy, the Surface Pro is very much the workhorse of the Surface family, so Microsoft will not want to disrupt the basic offering too much. There are other rumored Surface devices that will push innovation, so the goal here is to iterate to create a better package to bring in new users and satisfy existing partners looking to upgrade.

Now read the three things I would push for the next Surface Laptop…

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