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Intel's impressive Skylake reference devices give us a glimpse at the not-so-distant future

The big story is high-end specs, ridiculously slim form factors. We've not seen an all-in-one as thin as this before, not least one packing a 4K touch display. That's probably the showstopper, but the 2-in-1 shown off is no slouch, comprising a super-thin tablet with a keyboard dock.

We've not been able to find the actual devices, but we've got a very short clip below which at least gives a glimpse at them. If this is what Skylake makes possible, sign us up.

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

100 Comments
  • I need about 5 and one for each room making two about 40 inches or so...
  • you don't need any physical screen at all when you have a pair of hololens.
  • Yes but for guests when they come over and when the. HoloLens is charging. Works still has to go on... Hehehe
  • If you're going multiple TV's could just as easy go multiple hololens. Besides, orgy potential.
  • Yeah... But also like I said guest... Will not be having guest playing around with the HoloLens unless they have their own different story. Even now I don't let anybody use my laptop or tablet.
  • This. Don't tough my electronics.
  • That's right. No one touches my electronics either. I maintain separate WiFi connections also - though I have work vpns at home too.
    -
    I wonder: Will this skylake job appear in the new xps15. I hope they do jump broadwell. And also in a meaty nvidia gpu tho boot. Though devices that thin; thermals are going to be a nightmare...
  • Why a nightmare when you have Cortana and she can almost do everything now...
  • Not everyone wants an always on listening device. Besides, I pay staff for that.
  • For Cortana to be activated by Conan you will have to train it for a specific command otherwise it will not work. So it is not a bad thing. Just make sure to train it when you are not sick or with high allergies times.
  • Running Windows 10??
  • Upgradeable regardless.
  • That tablet 2 in 1 had horrible lag when he swiped but the all in one looked amazing.
  • the small one running android.
  • *Chuckle
  • Pmsl
  • I second that. The All-in-one is gorgeous.
  • Yeah, I noticed that. Very bad.
  • Actually no there was no lag .. the pictures were showing in a slide show in which they slowly appear but when you click u make the slide show faster. Before he even touched the screen the pic were changing 
  • If you rewatch it you will see that he slides right then left. A few seconds after he does that the pictures go right then back left again. You can tell because the same car shows up again. The same application is running on the All in one and you can see how fluid it is.
  • yes I just checked it again and yeah you are right 
  • I'm betting that MS will use these bad boys on the Surface Pro 4
  • Then you're gonna lose! Why? Because it's been said that the actual Surface Pro 3's docking station will be usable with the SP4 and that means the same forme factor and the same tickness. I expect this for the next iteration though.
  • "It's been said" doesn't mean it's a fact. Plus its entirely possible for them to make it lighter and thinner while still being compatible with the sp3 keyboard.
  • It is a fact because it's been said—officially and repeatedly—by Microsoft: the SP3's docking station will be compatible with the SP4. And this alone means the very same form factor with the very same connectors at the very same locations Period.
  • That does not mean exact same form factor, It just means it's compatible. So what you are saying is not a fact. Period.
  • You haven't seen the SP3's docking station, have you? If you had, you'd have understood that considering how you connect the SP3 to it, even a slight variation in thinness (or length, or width), expecially with a thinner tablet, cannot work because the mechanism is extremely precise. It's simple physics, you know. If you're not able to understand this, so be it.
  • I f*cking hate it when people use the word 'fact'....especially when it is about something that hasn't even been released yet!
  • It is a fact. I read it on a public bathroom wall, right next to the 8675309 phone number.
  • Don't call her, Jenny is a tramp.
  • Yeah, and I quite dislike when people prefer to question official statements and simple physics just because they don't like the implications and prefer to believe in utopia. And this is all the more valid when people can't articulate a thought without using words like "f*ck" or "hate". So that you know: "We are pleased to share that the following Surface Pro 3 accessories are designed with our product roadmap in mind and will be compatible with the next generation of the 'Pro' line of Surface: Surface Pro 3 Type Covers, "infrastructure" accessories such as our power adapter, Ethernet adapter and  the Surface Pro 3 Docking Station."—Brian Hall, Microsoft's Surface general manager And BTW, the type cover part also implies the SP4 will have the same length and width too. :-P So, you'll come to a serious disappointment when the SP4 gets presented if you keep doubting elementary stuff like this!
  • Aaah...because Microsoft has never done a u-turn on anything ;)
    (Cough, McLaren, cough).
  • That's a possibility but till they annonce something like that, I'll hang to what they previously said instead of considering the potential conjectured eventuality of a u-turn. :-D Moreover, the SP3 has been successful so I don't see them changing completely the direction they're heading and its form-factor when there is money to be made with small and regular yearly incremental product iterations à la iPhone. And much like Intel with its Tick-Tock, I don't expect anything major till SP5. Last, the Pro series is for, well, professionals, and that statement is there to tell them: you may invest in the Surface brand and its accessories: they won't be obsolete when the next model gets released.
  • The problem with the SP3...it can't directly compete with the iPad because it is much chunkier. If something like this could reduce the device dimensions dramatically, then MS could go after the iPad as well as the Macbook Air.
    Thinner and lighter is what sells....so it would be a misstep on Microsoft's part to stick with something because of comments such as the one you quoted.
    Let's just wait and see...
  • The SP3 isn't just a tablet—and certainly not a 'pad' (i.e., you actually 'write' on a tablet not on a pad ;-) )—but it's a 2-in-1 computer and it doesn't address the needs of people solely interested in consuming content but prosumers'. You know, I definitely do not use the SP3 like someone uses an iPad. I use it docked at the office with two external monitors, keyboard and mouse and logged to a Domain. I use it on the move like a laptop and I also use it at home as a consumption device. Its strength lies in this versatility. Moveover, I've never considered the first iPad heavy, yet it was weighting as much as a SP3! And for the consumer market and to compete with the iPad frontly, there is the Surface.
  • Your usage is kind of irrelevant. What IS relevant is that the majority of Microsoft's tablet line do not compete with the iPad (which for all its faults IS the class leader).
    I think the Surface Pro line is brilliant. However, I think it would be that much more brilliant IF it was made to be as thin as an iPad, yet have the vast amount of capability that comes from Windows 10.
    I'm not criticising the SP3 as such...I just think it's a brilliant opportunity to dominate a segment that has been owned by Apple for too long.
    Why buy an iPad and a Macbook when a SP4 is as thin and light as the former, and yet even more capable than the latter....
  • OK, then what MS has presented, the usages described during presentations and ads are irrelevant. More seriously, repeat after me: the Surface Pro isn't an iPad contender, it's a tablet that replaces your laptop, your desktop and can also be used as a tablet. :-) And, yes, in a not-so-distant future it will be as thin and light as a pad. Or maybe a pad will become as powerful as a computer workstation and will be able to run a full PC OS and 3D CAD software within Hyper-V.
    Till that time arrives, more than a few people will still need a bit more power than an iPad to get a job done while on the move or at their desk. And these people, myself included, will need that kind of devices and certainly not an iPad. The SP3 isn't sporting a Qualcom chip but a bloody Intel core CPU, you know! That's where my usage scenarios are relevant because that's actually how prosumers use their SP3. And guess what? This is precisely for this market that MS actually designed the SP3! If I want to get a pure tablet's err pad's experience, I use a HP Steam 7 Signature Edition costing less than 80 bucks...
    Anyway, what makes the Surface Pro 3 brillant is the fact that regular consumers get attracted to it to the point of buying one when they probably have little use of it! :-)
  • Cough, Surface Mini, cough also ;)
  • Cough, Windows 10 on all devices, except Windows RT, cough also ;)
  • Who said anything about win rt?
  • "Compatible" doesn't necessarily mean that they will be the same thickness.  They may provide an adapter for the Surface Pro 4 to be "compatible" with Surface Pro 3 docking station.  I have not seen exactly how the Surface Pro 3 connects to the docking station to know if it is possible to make an adapter. Then they could still release a new docking station for the Surface Pro 4. I hope the Surface Pro 4 uses Skylake.  I think it would be a mistake for Microsoft not to use the brand new chip set.  I don't need it to be thinner, though.  Maybe they will use the extra room to pack in more hardware, like a Pureview camera or something.
  • It's a fact that those people are just trolling. How I wish there was an ignore function here.. Then again, people who are just now "joining" wc community would just see those assholes spouting their nonsense without anyone correcting them.
  • The SP3 was compatible with Surface RT keyboards and accessories, but it's a bad fit because of the significantly different form factor. So just because Microsoft said the SP4 will be compatible with SP3 accessories, doesn't mean it will be the same form factor.
  • I wonder if they will just put out an adapter to make it fit the SP3 dock. Like those universal cellphone docks that have an adapter u put in it for thinner phones.
  • That would work with a smaller form factor I suppose. But it would be a bit harder to make the actual SP3 type keyboard fit another Surface Pro with a different length and width... All in all, producing an adapter or even adjusting a port location just to fit an accessory seems like a lot of work just to be true to a statement. The logic here is that they keep using a Tick-Tock model and reusing the SP3's form factor with better specs before moving to another improvement/form factor with the SP5 and so on and so forth.
  • So what? If you want to you can put what is inside tha tablet inside a 120" TV.
  • TIL processor equals form factor
  • It's not a fact.   Just because it has to line up with the ports doesn't mean they couldn't add a USB3.1 port in addition to the full sized port.  If you make it 2mm thinner all you have to do is just include a 2mm thick sticker.   Problem solved.  Slap that sucker on the back of your docking station and everything lines up again.  Now, I don't expect the SP4 to get thinner, I expect it to just have better battery (10-12 hour) maybe SP5 will go thinner but there'll always be a tradeoff between size and performance and I suspect the Pro line will always sacrifice thickness for performance while the Surface (Atom) line can pick up the slack with acceptable mainstream performance while delivering the form factor. 
  • Yes, you could do that. But would you do that and risk damaging your port and the SP with this trick when you know how much a dock and a SP cost? Beside, this is all but a "Pro" approach and so far away from the standards MS wants to be accountable for. Not sure enterprise clients will be delighted by this kind of approach... So, yes, you could stick something to the back, maybe something else to adjust height if necessary too. All is conciveable but it's far far off from that statement and what "compatible" is meant to be especially considering they talk about all the actual SP3's accessories. Indeed, you could go with a smaller type cover too but who really uses a SP3 with a SP2 keyboard?! That being said, I agree with your thought on the Surface Pro vs. the Surface. As such, I think the SP4 will be a refinement of the SP3 much like the SP2 was an amelioration of the original SP. SP5 might be something else though. Probably thinner, possibly a bigger screen too and not necessarily in very different form factor... 13" anyone? But this is conjecture except this "compatible" word that is making people so eager to think it may mean another size format for the SP4. The Surface team may have a dream but marketing is certainly telling them to focus on what already works and improve on it.
  • You still haven't told us why the form factor would prevent the use of skylake in SP4
  • I wouldn't talk in those terms because it's not that simple. Nothing prevents the use of Skylake in the SP3 form factor per se. However, there are issues arising with Skylake, like the compatibility with DDR3 which may force a few important inner changes in the hardware and a lot of additional testing for manufacturing... So, I wouldn't bet on Skylake on the SP4 this soon even if we might have a surprise there.
  • Bring on the ultra thin skylake Surface Pro 4!
  • Boy oh boy, I sure hope MS waits for Skylake before putting SP4 on the market. A SP4 with an Intel M series chip would be a MStake MS can't afford.
  • They've got $95 billion in the bank. They can afford a myriad of mistakes ;)
  • Yep same here. They've waited this long as it is... They really need Surface Pro 4/4 to be cutting edge of they are trying to make a lot of noise with Windows 10 and show what the superior OS is. Unfortunately they are that far behind Apple and Samsung in brand power. The Pro 3 just needs to put out less heat and more battery. So I'd buy a Pro 4 that's a refined version of that. A little more power, more efficiency, lighter/slightly thinner. Needs to work with existing dock and type covers. I'd be stoked about that.
  • Is skylake a new chip or what?
  • yes, its the 6th gen. Intel cores. and coming next year are the cannonlake chips. ah technology, they grow up so fasst  
  • Intel's Tick-Tock development model... :-)
  • dayumm, ARM might have a problem next year...
  • Problem or evolve... Hehehe arm is going to grow differently... And adapt... New and better hardware...
  • so you are expecting them to suddenly be able to run x86 code? pff if intel matches them in energy efficiency they are doomed
  • There is about to be about to be a boom in tech in all different areas because of Windows 10 and everything will tested and tried. Don't be surprised if you see arm and arduino devices. Don't forget about the wearables that is boombing... Microsoft band 2 is on the horizon and 3 will be right behind it and more OEMs doing some little big things also.
  • They still stand a chance with IoT...
  • Yes... Very much indeed... IoT has so much potiential. And Cortana is about to be true everywhere and alive... Hehehe...
  • .
  • Damn it, just bought a surface 3 as a secondary laptop/tablet. Do I return it and wait for maybe the surface 4? Hopefully its as thing as what's shown and lighter too. Or do I wait and upgrade my primary (yoga 2 pro) to Lenovo Yoga 4 Pro?   #FirstWorldProblems
  • I'm keeping my Surface Pro 3 and will not upgrade until Surface Pro 5 comes out, now that will be one awesome upgrade :)
  • You upgrade your primary to the Surface Pro 4! :)
  • Skylake is an Intel Core chip and it's highly unlikely it will be used in the regular Surface 4 due to the cost. It's possible that it may be used in the Surface Pro 4 depending on timing of release.
  • The Surface 4 will most likely continue to use an Atom chip, possibly a Celeron SoC while the Surface Pro 4 will hopefully use a Skylake chip.
  • Maybe this will change your mind? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsknvi3POMk This makes it rather tempting to get a Surface 3 lol.
  • I watched that vid a week or so ago and temptation was given into... I'm loving the shit out of my Surface 3! Had the original Surface RT from launch (3 years) and loved it too, but the recurring thought using the S3 is, "this is what the RT should have been."
  • @Gunnerak47, I totally agree. The only things that was lacking for the "RT" models was touch first office combined with touch centric system apps and pen support. They could have unpinned the desktop. "RT" was perfect for most users as not everyone uses Win32 Apps these days. The bloggers and people that moaned about the lack of Win32 app support didn't get the purpose of the o/s. It was designed to be a light weight and battery efficient secure environment without the baggage of Win32. A perfect companion consumption device and useful as a POS system. If they added pen support, it would have been amazing for places that have adopted e-signatures using services like signable or docu-sign without the worry of viruses. If MS had merged RT with the Courier tablet pushed out a docking station, the iPad wouldn't have sold all too well. Or Apple may have revised it and put a much more competitive product on the market. Competition is good for everyone as it fuels innovation.
  • Thanks TechFreak1! Been waiting and waiting on the Pro 3 to come down in price but with that video I don't think I'd need the extra horsepower. 4 GB Ram Surface 3 is what that guy is using in the video and that looks to be sufficient for my needs. Yay, I can save some money.
  • Your welcome :). The 4gb version appears to handle alot pretty well. If my bank balance wasn't what it is right now. I would have got it on finance lol.
  • You won't see this on the SP4 because it will use the same form-factor as the SP3 and use the very same docking station. Much like Intel, MS is also using their version of the Tick-Tock model with the Surface products, so I wouldn't expect this till SP5 next year...
  • So what? Isn't skylake processor, not form-factor?
  • Surface Pro 3 can use the same accessories as the Surface RT, but the form factor is SIGNIFICANTLY different between the original Surface RT and the Surface Pro 3. So the SP4 most definitely can have a different form factor from the SP3.
  • OK, let me repeat it once more: "We are pleased to share that the following Surface Pro 3 accessories are designed with our product roadmap in mind and will be compatible with the next generation of the 'Pro' line of Surface: Surface Pro 3 Type Covers, "infrastructure" accessories such as our power adapter, Ethernet adapter and  the Surface Pro 3 Docking Station."—Brian Hall, Microsoft's Surface general manager It doesn't mean that you'll be able to use it in a silly way like a SP2's keyboard on the SP3. It implies that it will work well with the SP4. It is there to increase trust by saying to prosumers and compagnies: you can invest now in the Surface Pro brand and  its accessories without a second thought because you rstuff won't become obsolete when the next generation gets released. The rest is just blabla bla.
  • It still doesn't mean the SP4 won't be thinner, lighter, bigger or smaller. As long as the ports are in the same position and are the same ports, they will be compatible. There's nothing wrong with using a Surface RT keyboarf with the Surface Pro 3. Yeah it doesn't cover the screen completely and it doesn't have the same stability supports, but it still works perfectly. Likewise, the SP3 accessories will be fully compatible with the SP4, but that still doesn't mean the SP4's form factor won't change a little bit.
  • Ok do me a favor: get close to a SP3, connect it to its docking station and see why nothing else will work! Then we'll talk. See, it's not your usual dock solution connected through cables and all; its two clamps hold the SP3 locked—and physically connected—there with precision. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iebK72p4bdA
  • I'm sure the basic dimensions of the Surface Pro will stay the same in regards to height and width, but there's no reason they can't make it thinner and still use the dock. All it needs is a spacer behind it to make sure the ports line up.
  • Beautiful tablet.. I hope they'll put it on the market.
  • Will we see skylake devices this year?
  • A couple early devices later this year, but won't really pick up until about early to mid Q2 2016, assuming no manufacturing delays (Which Intel says there aren't any).
  • Cool. Seems like cannonlake devices will be on 2017 then.
  • Don't forget about Thunderbolt 3.0!
  • Even i3 processor, i dont have one, im stuck in Celeron 2.16 GHz
  • Skylake in the Surface Pro 4.... Yummy
  • More like surface pro 5.
  • Maybe or maybe not, the surface 3 is currently the only mainstream tablet using Cherrytrail, (there maybe other tablets region locked to their specialised). Other mainstream tablets have been announced but are due later this year.
  • what a lovely combination..... Windows 10 and 6th generation of intel processor
  • I'm waiting for the announcement they've had to change the name after Sky file legal action. /rolleyes
  • Won't be able to sell these in the UK because people might think they are TV stations.  ;)
  • OneLake
  • And probably all soldered crap because of everyone's fascination with making devices thinner and thinner. No upgrading, no nothing. More money for less freedom.
  • I doubt many people are too concerned about the possibility of upgrading the CPU in their tablet.
  • Just seeing him how he was interacting with it made me a little nervous about walking around with one of those things as well.  I get they are proto's but looks like the biggest advancements will have to come from materials to support the light-thin form factors.  Monolithic fully customized chasis with low tolerances and very low repairability.  Not saying that is bad, but it looks to have gotten to that point...
  • I like thin stuff but want a full sized USB port so that limits how thin a tablet can be. folks it coulb be there will be a 14 inch Surface  pro 44 model as well as an updated Surface pro 3 with last years screenn size with little modifactions to the Surface pro 4 -12in screens case soit can use last years Acceessories. howevr the  Surface PRO 4- 14 inch screen model's case may require a person to buy new accessories to hook up to it.
  • I found the Panther sitting at an industrial design company: www.duckyoungkong/panther.html The Starbrook IDV, I can't find...  But, IDV may give a clue:  Intel Intelligent Desktop Virtualization? I always wonder if these very early reference designs aren't nothing but a dumb virtulized environment?  Anyway, they are both pretty cool looking, let's hope something similar hits the market by fall.