Microsoft announced its latest tablet competitor today, with the Surface Pro 4 unveiled at its Windows 10 device launch in New York. This new release will be expected to both claw back some market share from Apple and its iPad range, as well as revitalizing a tablet niche that has demonstrably diminished over the last year or so.
The role of the Surface Pro 4
This tablet release will certainly play an important role in the future of Microsoft, as the software giant continues to attempt to diversify its revenue streams. While Windows remains an incredibly important product for Microsoft, it has been necessary for the corporation to expand into other avenues as the computing landscape becomes more complex. The Surface Pro range is thus central in a more hardware-focused Microsoft, and the company founded by Bill Gates will be looking for the Surface Pro 4 to establish a strong following in the tablet marketplace.
The Surface Pro 4 certainly has some impressive specs, and will doubtless attract plenty of consumers in this niche. The general anticipation ahead of the release of the Surface Pro 4 is that it would be very much business-focused. Certainly this is a characteristic of the recent Apple iPad Pro announcement, and it seems that Microsoft has similarly ensured that the Surface Pro 4 is a serious productivity device.
Surface Pro 4 display
Central to the Surface Pro 4, as with any tablet, is its display, and the 12.3-inch screen is certainly sizeable for a tablet. It seems that there is a fashion for larger tablets at the moment, and it will be interesting to see how successful this new product niche becomes. Computer users are increasingly using tablets to view media, and thus it does make sense for companies to release products with larger displays.
It is perhaps slightly disappointing for fans of the Microsoft tablet range that the manufacturer has yet to confirm the exact screen resolution of the Surface Pro 4. However, this will certainly intensify anticipation related to the device. What Microsoft has revealed is that the Surface Pro 4 will feature a pixel density of 267ppi, and it is claimed that it will deal with 5 million pixels. This suggests a screen resolution for the tablet in the range of 2,736 x 1,824 pixels; a significant improvement from the 2,160 x 1,440 panel in the previous generation.
Additionally, Microsoft has ensured that the Surface Pro 4 is a thinner device than any previous tablet release from the corporation. There is almost a mania in consumer electronics to release ever slimmer devices, and the Surface Pro 4 certainly does not seem to be exempt from this trend. Thus, the Surface Pro 4 is nearly 8.3 mm thick; 30 percent slimmer than the previous iteration in the series according to Microsoft.
Surface Pen release
Another new aspect of the Surface Pro 4 is the updated Surface Pen. This will ship with the device as new, and does not require an extra investment, as with some of the notable iPad Pro peripherals. The Surface Pen is notable for the eraser that has been included with the device, and it also no longer requires a pen loop. Microsoft has stated that the device will be available in five colors when it is released, and integration directly with the increasingly prominent Cortana was demonstrated at the unveiling event.
Microsoft has also announced a new docking station for the Surface Pro 4, and previous consumers of the series will be delighted to know that it is also compatible with the last generation Surface Pro 3. The device also includes support for four USB 3.0, two 4k DisplayPort and Ethernet ports, and it certainly seems that the Surface Pro 4 is a connectible tablet.
Another new feature included in the Surface Pro 4 is a Surface Pro Type Cover, also available in five separate colors. Microsoft has stated that this will feature expanded key placement. Yet despite the extended key set associated with this device, Microsoft claims that the cover will still be fully compatible with the existing Surface Pro 3.
Security has also been beefed up in the tablet with the inclusion of a built-in fingerprint reader. This ensures that the Surface Pro 4 is fully compatible with Windows 10 ‘Hello’ biometric authentication. This is another aspect of contemporary technology that is becoming more prominent, as companies become increasingly sensitive to theft and privacy.
Microsoft has certainly produced a strong tablet performer, even if all of the details about the Surface Pro 4 have yet to come to light. But what we do know is that this is a device that can compare favorably with the existing tablet computers in the marketplace; all that remains is for us to observe how consumers react to the release of the device.
The Surface Pro 4 will be available starting October 26, starting at $899. Pre-orders start on October 7.