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4 things we want in a Surface 4 powered by ARM

The original Surface RT and Surface 2 were both ARM devices that were locked to the Windows Store, meaning they ultimately failed to gain any traction in the tablet PC market. With the Surface 3, Microsoft changed things up a little by bringing the line to low-end x86 chips with the Intel ATOM. This allowed it to run normal desktop apps, which, as a result, solved the problem that plagued both the Surface RT and Surface 2.

Intel since killed those ATOM chips, meaning there's no viable low-end CPU out there that would make sense in a low-powered Surface 4 device. If Microsoft wants to continue building low-powered Surface devices, it needs two things: desktop app support, and low-powered, low-cost CPUs. Luckily, with Windows 10 coming to ARM, the company can do just that. A Surface 4 powered by a Snapdragon 835 processor with full Win32 emulation would mean you could download your favorite programs from the web without being locked to the Windows Store. It just makes sense.

With that in mind, there are a few more things I'd like to see show up with a Surface 4 powered by ARM. The Surface 3 is an amazing little tablet that's great for light web browsing, email and games. But it's not perfect. Here's what I'm hoping Microsoft improves with the Surface 4.

1. Infinite kickstand

The Surface 3 is currently limited to just three positions of the kickstand, which is plenty for most people. It'd be nice, however, if Microsoft gave us the same infinite-position kickstand found on the Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 4. It's nicer, feels better to adjust and allows for much more control when in your lap.

"Lapability" is a phrase only ever brought up when talking about Surface devices, and while the Surface 3 did a good job at being "lapable", due to its kickstand being limited to just three positions, it meant not everyone had a comfortable angle to work from on their lap. A kickstand mechanism from the Surface Pro 4 would solve this problem.

2. Bigger screen, same overall size

Similar to what Microsoft did with the Surface Pro 4, I'm hoping Microsoft increases the size of the Surface 4 screen by 0.3 inches, which would minimize screen borders while maintaining that same 10-inch device size. This would remove the Surface home button from the screen, but Windows 10 doesn't really benefit from that button anyway.

It would also allow for a slight increase in screen real-estate, which would make Windows feel less claustrophobic when working with multiple windows. The Surface 3's screen suffers from feeling compact, so increasing its screen size just a little bit would help.

3. Improved type cover

Microsoft almost nailed the type cover on the Surface 3, with its excellent key travel but slightly-small trackpad. However, there's still room for improvement. I'd like to see Microsoft introduce a type cover for the Surface 4 that has the same key design as the Surface Pro 4 type cover, with a slightly wider trackpad for precision and a Windows Hello fingerprint reader. 

Type Cover with Fingerprint ID

Type Cover with Fingerprint ID

For cost reasons, I don't expect the Surface 4 to feature facial recognition, so some form of Hello via the type cover makes sense. I'm also hoping Microsoft introduces more color variants of the type cover and maybe even different textures and materials. It'd be nice to see an Alcantara type cover (opens in new tab) for the smaller Surface 4, right?

4. Better battery life

Last but not least, I'm hoping Microsoft is able to improve the battery life on the Surface 4. Considering it'll hopefully be powered by ARM, you can guarantee there'll be improvements in the standby department, but I'm hoping there'll be some improvements to battery life when in use, too.

MS logo

MS logo (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

I'm not saying battery life on the Surface 3 is bad, but I am hoping for some minor improvements in this department with the Surface 4. A device that lasts a little bit longer is never a bad thing.

That's what I'm hoping to see on a Surface 4 powered by ARM. What would you like to see?

Is early 2018 too soon for a Surface phone?

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • I guess it's the Surface 5 though.
  • They will skip '4' to mark a change in architecture
  • Or just jump straight to "Surface
  • :D
  • Then where is the Surface Pro 10?
  • and what about Xbox One 10 (aka 1-10)?
  • That'd be Xbox Ten.
  • Or just Xbox 10. All devices, for everything 10.
  • ...Xbox One...OneCore....Windows 10... Get it?
  • it should have been OneWindows or Windows1
  • Perhaps Microsoft could actually stick with a marketing strategy for more than five minutes and call it the Surface One. To go with OneDrive, Xbox One, OneNote, OneCore....
  • I doubt that it's about the architecture but simply about the timing. The Surface 3 did appear later than the Surface Pro 3 but not by a lot. By the time the next Surface iteration is ready for release, the Surface Pro 5 will have been released or be near to release, so using the name Surface 4 would make the device appear quite old, whereas Surface 5 would make it appear more up to date.
  • Or Surface Mini
  • Surface 95
  • Lol. Surface 3.1 sounds good.  As long as it's not Surface XP...
  • It will be Surface ZR2S10
  • I'll take Surface XP over Surface-Vista any time any day
  • I would love to see a 8 incher.
  • Come on over the house then. Oh you mean a Surface, nevermind.
  • Lol!!!!
  • PAUSE!!
  • Is that what your girlfriend said?
  • I have a 10 inch
  • I love my Xiaomi MiPad 2 8 incher only if was faster with better performance.
  • Surface DOS.
  • Ill stick with my surface book with performance base
  • It must be nice to have large pockets unless you're a spend thrift which it really wouldn't matter
  • iSurface
  • That's what Apple should have called their iPad Pro...
  • They wanted to, but it wasn't good enough.
  • Samsung tried skipping a number to not make the "new" product not seem like it was old...we see how that worked out for them. *BOOM*
  • I wish lumia 2520 had a successor now... It had awesome design.
  • My screen broke the other week and I cant get parts, so hoping something similar would be arriving. I don't need a full Surface Pro, an ARM powered version is sufficient for my purposes with it.
  • I wish MS make a version of w10m for 2520, it was an awesome tab.
  • I wouldn't be surprised if they skip 4 and go straight to 5 assuming they launch it alongside the SP5 like Samsung did with the note 7 to keep the numbering consistent with the GS. Aside from that I think they could get away with axing the full size USB in favor of type C in order to make it thinner (keep it on the pro) and maybe offer both a 10 and 12 inch version (while dropping the m3 model pro) in order to better compete with the iPad pro on a price/battery level while leaving high performance to the pro line with i5/7s  
  • Only if they include a USB-C-to-USB A cable in the box.
  • they should include 2 USB-C ports and 1 DP port.
  • WoA and Window 365 and windows 365 mini(free) will mark the end of android and ios duopoly. I'm also rooting for windows 365 (aks education) with 'class 365' (intune for education) to send chromebook to abyss
  • How? Edit: what's Windows 365 and 365 mini?
  • I think he talks about the Cloud SKU.
  • What worries me is that Universities and Colleges of under developed countries start to buy Chromebooks or Windows 365 cloud machines as you call them (Windows 10 Cloud SKU) for college or University students, that cannot afford to purchase a laptop that comes with Windows, Linux or OS X. Most scientific degrees need software that is not available on iOS, Android or Windows RT2 (Aka Windows 10 cloud).  Are we really interested in making kids smarter in industrial revolution 3.0 or we're just making a smoke curtain with all these fancy laptops that run on the cloud and look beautiful in the outside.
  • That's not a new problem, and it already has a solution. At my high school, every computer lab had ~30 Windows 7 computers with Office and other basic programs. One computer lab used by the graphics students also had Photoshop on their machines.  Now, the school has switched to Chromebooks for all their students, and most of the computer labs have been converted to class rooms. However, they still have a computer lab for the graphics students who need Photoshop.  For the students that just need a word processor and web browser, a Chromebook or Windows 10 Cloud laptop makes a lot of sense. The scientific students could have their own computer lab or other means of accessing that software. 
  • Sounds like a lot of investment in computer lab infrastructure which these schools might not have, I'm sure that companies like Siemens, Cisco, Motorola, etc. are going to hire graduates that know how the smart grid works with all these new communications and security protocols to build cyber-physical-systems and I'm almost sure they won't hire a student that only knows how to use a Chromebook or a Windows 10 Cloud machine.
  • I think if a low budget, rural Indiana school can have a dedicated computer lab for heavier programs, other schools can find the room in their budgets.    And it's not that hard to learn how to use a new machine, especially for someone in a technical field. I've never used macOS personally, but I can get by well enough with it when my friends need me to fix something. In fact, if someone can't learn how to use a new system, should they even be in a technical field?
  • That's why Win32 emulation exists on Windows 10 on ARM. You still get your software.
  • But Windows Cloud wouldn't be Windows 10 on ARM. It wouldn't be able to access Win32 applications. 
  • Windows 10 Cloud isn't Windows 10 on ARM. Windows 10 on ARM is the one Microsoft showed in their video. Windows 10 Cloud would be more like chromebooks, only being able to run windows store apps. 
  • Right, but Josh was replying to a comment about Windows 10 Cloud. Windows 10 Cloud (presumably) won't have access to Win32 apps that people say are crucial. 
  • Honestly for my use case (EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT), I would be interested in a Cloud SKU if it was a lightweight, portable device with good battery life. Oh and make it cheaper than a full W10 laptop. I am a biomedical science major and the most intensive programs I use are Excel on rare occasions. My entire workflow consists of Edge, OneNote, and Office. I even tend to like the UWP office more because it is lightweight and simpler to use. Anyways, long story short, I think there is a market for this if the price is right.
  • I honestly don't mind thicker device since I still think the current device is way too thin. And make it slightly thicker can give a lot more room for battery
  • For me tablets should be as portable as possible so the lighter and thinner you can make it, the better.
  • But when it is So think I always get the feeling that it is gonna bent in my bag. Also the battery life on the current device are simply trash, Surface pro 4 is the prime example. It would have been a perfect device, but it is hindered by it's battery
  • I've been using an SP4 for the last few months and feel that the battery life is perfecly fine.  If you kept the same form factor, simply moving to an ARM processor will give you better battery life.
  • It needs to be thin and light to keep up with the iJonses. Any fat and heavy 'consumption' level Tablet (non-Pro) will fail. Personally I want thin and light too, certainly nothing thicker than my current Surface 3.
  • I agree!
    Same with the mobile phones. A 10mm phone is not bad at all the handle. And you can definately use that space to have more battery;")
  • The only thing I care about with Windows on ARM (WoA) is that it is truly feature compatible and that it performs as well as the Surface 3, which had good performance (Intel Atom processor). If it maintains the same performance and improves battery life, then that's a big win because it will encourage more UWP development and OEMs will also be encouraged to release WoA-based devices. If Microsoft effectively releases another Surface RT, then they are asking for failure. I owned a Surface RT (and Surface Pro) and I quickly became disappointed with its performance and I'm not certain that ARM processors have improved enough to stem that problem. The performance was a much bigger problem than the lack of apps on it, which says a lot.
  • Question: Will WoA run desktop apps? *confused*
  • Yes. In the demo it did
  • Ok thx. So then don't you think the UWP model will diminish, because there's no direct urge to use it?
  • No, UWP can support all type of device. legacy software not so much.
  • But if Snapdragons run full windows, who would even need UWP...
    Paradox world, with a fully powered Surface Phone, and a low end "Cloud" laptop I guess...
  • It is not paradox but logical. UWP can be use on many type of device phone, tablet, AR/VR headset, pc etc. X86 software can not do all of that.
  • Theoritically you are right, but UWP has no takers for now.
  • Adobe is a big one though
  • ARM running x86 will lead to some apps never becoming UWP apps, unfortunately. However, any future development should be UWP because it's not only a simpler app model, but it's also the focus of Microsoft, so your apps get resolution scaling and other benefits for free with no extra effort. Frankly, anyone doing Windows development should be very excited about UWP because it's much simpler to write software compared to Win32. I'm also not certain if ARM's x86 emulation extends to x86-64 emulation, which will become more relevant once such ARM devices have more than 4 GB of memory.
  • if they want their app run on VR headset they should built UWP
  • It also depends if Microsoft will enforce UWP development on ARM devices to achieve native performance. It's very likely that only Native UWP and probably Centennial apps can run native performance on a ARM machine. Whereas Win32 X86 will remain in emulation only.        
  • Will Win 10 on ARM (I'm not talking about Win 10 Cloud!) run *all* x86 (32 bit) apps? What about those using Intel's numeric libraries such as LAPACK? As used in, e.g., the NumPy package of Python?
  • My understanding is that, if the CPU instruction exists on both AMD and Intel processors, then it will exist in the ARM emulation layer. If it is dependent on some optional co-processor or otherwise brand specific, then it won't (and likely can't due to legal reasons).
  • Yes, Microsoft demo'ed full Photoshop running on a Snapdragon 820
  • Yes, but Windows 10 Cloud will not. Because Microsoft. 
  • No, not because Microsoft. Because it's made for people who don't need desktop apps and can therefore save some money by not paying for support for desktop apps.
  • I'd like to see the Surface Connect port. This would bring it in line with the Pro 4 and Book, allowing for more truly universal accessories such as the dock.
  • I'd much rather see the next wave of Surface devices (Pro 5, Book 2 etc move to USB-C with Thunderbolt.This would do everything the current Surface Connector can.. and more.
  • Add Thunderbolt port to enable universal single cable docking please!
  • Am I the only one who thinks Intel shot themselves in the foot by killing off the Atom processor?  That move seems to have lit a fire under Microsoft to get Windows 10 working on ARM.  Before long, I can see many OEM's offering their own flavor of 2-in-1's running on ARM.
  • It was a business move. The chip must have cost too much for the margins they were getting. I'd rather they scrap Atom cores all together and keep working on bringing Core down. A dual-core Kabylake stripped down to ULV Pentium status would be a noticeable upgrade. 
  • Intel Atom performance always has been pretty abysmal though. I think Microsoft was working on Windows on Arm for quite a long time as they must've noticed the big advancements arm chips have made overtime compared to low power atoms in a similar time period
  • Intel's next move in mobile chip will probably come from the Core-m series.  Better performance than Atom (on par with low-end Core-i) and very good on power, though not yet as good as Atom were.  And still a bit too expensive for low cost tablets. But if they don't hurry, all the low-end market will move to ARM...
  • From what I heard and from comments here the return on investment from the Atom line of processors was not worth it.  The Core M series is even more expensive. "But if they don't hurry, all the low-end market will move to ARM..." I think the ball already started rolling when Intel discontinued Atom processors.
  • Microsoft had to be at least entertaining the idea of WoA already. And I would say intel has but putting that gun together long before the cancellation of mobile atom. They are even spending business into other fields. They know they've been screwing up.
  • Love to see some form of wireless display dock and wirelss charging. I want to be able to just lay down my Surface and use a BT mouse and keyboard with a full size screen. Same could be said of the next generation continuum. :-)
  • This would be nice!
  • The only thing missing to make this reality is the wireless charging spools...
  • LTE again, of course!
  • If it uses the Snapdragon processor, that would be baked in wouldn't it?
  • But does that mean it would be turned on? Don't manufacturers have to pay extra to activate certain features in these chips?
  • I don't believe they need to with ARM chips. I think it's all just there and can be used if the OS supports it.
  • No, that's not the case. The chip technically supports everything but you have to pay for each feature you enable. A Snapdragon 835 device with LTE would therefore be more expensive than one without, despite using physically identical chips.
  • Ahhh, my mistake. Thanks for clearing that up John!
  • I like the 3-stage kickstand better than the infinite-angle one on SP3/4 because it's so much easier to adjust, especially with one hand.
  • What if they offer the SP5 with full Windows and surface 4 (5) with Windows Cloud? Based on how I use my surface 3 I would be happy with a 'cloud' version if it can remain light and efficient.
  • I just had a thought, Maybe, just Maybe, Windows Cloud is what Windows on ARM is currently being called. hmmm
  • These are pretty moderate wishes for a "new" system / new opportunity.
  • The author was trying to be reasonable in his requests for a lower budget Surface device.  Did you expect him to ask for a device with 2 year battery life?
  • It's funny, my dad has a Surface RT, and he loves it.  He uses it all the time for web browsing, and showing off pics of my kids, lol.  Of course, he's 61, and not much of an app user, so it's not like he'd miss anything a Pro or Surface 3 could do.  As long as he can get eBay, Craigslist, and Amazon on his web browser, and it doesn't crap out on him, he'll probably keep it forever.
  • And the day it fails he could get a slightly newer non-pro Surface cheap :)
  • I'm happy with my 3. My wife is looking for a new laptop replacement in 2017. Here comes the question: will this Surface 4 (ARM) come to my country!
  • Please make a device that runs Desktop Windows 10 not the cloud WindowsRT abomination announced yesterday please on ARM device.
  • My guess is that the Windows Cloud version would only be on low budget devices.
  • It needs a surname, so Surface Tab, Surface Pad, Surface Note or something. And it needs mobile connectivity.
  • I'm betting this will have a well-below-Pro price, so I'm thinking the full range hinge might be a stretch. I see it being very thin and light, having USB-C only that handles charging as well. It needs to be the aspirational WOA device, after all. 
  • AT LAST an ARTICLE about SURFACE 4. After years? :P Im rly happy now that the Surface (original surface, non-pro) is still alive :P
  • 1) Surface "didn't fail to gain traction in the tablet PC market". It didn't fit the market as a tablet, because it created a new category. As such, it was difficult for it to be a success as a tablet because it was much more. That came with time, and it was thanks to those humble but trusty first Surfaces with RT. 2) I don't care much for infinite stand, to me 3 or 4 fixed positions would be ideal. Also, the infinite stand looks to be mre expensive, ie, it has more custom built moving parts. Moreover, to me lappability is overrated.
  • I love my Surface 3, it's my favorite device I own, ( I just got a nice HP Pavilion laptop and the new Alcatel W10 Phone).. The Surface 3 is perfect for school and work. I agree they need to increase the screen size, improve trackpad and battery life. I would like to see the better pen support. I think it should be called the Surface 5 to be consistent with the new Pro lines. it should start with 4 GB of Ram and move up to 6 GB or RAM IMO.
  • I think what you want to go for is amazing design. Take advantage of the tiny processor to make a tablet that blows away all other devices in design. That could mean thin, no bezels, foldable display, light as a feather. Consider that to run Windows 10 the Qualcomm chip is going to have to be pretty high-end which means around flagship phone price. That's going to be a tough sell, so the allure of a Surface 4 has to be amazing hardware design. You're not buying this device for the power or for the low cost. The Surface 4 should be a device that makes the iPad Air look old fashioned and clunky.
  • I agree, it should have a fantastic design as that's what you'd expect from a Surface, though the Surface design scheme is looking pretty good as is right now. As for the features you listed, they'd be cool but it comes down to functionality at the end of the day. Bezel-less displays means there's nothing to hold onto the tablet with when using as a clipboard, and that seems to go against its intended use. Likewise, an ultrathin design would be cool but you'd need to sacrifice battery capacity and other features like particular ports to get there. But a foldable display would be an amazing feat and yeah, again, extra special hardware is the big thing here.
  • Great ideas al - but is this more of a 2018 product at best? By then MS will be at least two generations further behind the iOS and Android offerings, and with the quality of Office on both of those platforms, what is the incentive for folks to switch?
  • Can you install and run desktop applications on iOS and Android?  The demo from Microsoft suggests that Windows on ARM can.  (albeit in emulation)
  • Well anyone in need of running hardcore application would need a powerful machine, Arm may not be suitable and anyone who has basic comupting needs, will be satisfied with apps on ios and android.
  • Smaller screen... Make a surface mini
  • I like my Surface 3 (2gb) but find it a little slow, even when simply internet browsing.  I do like how it can run Stardew valley and vanilla WoW though.  
  • I will be very happy to have the suspend/sleep behavior of the prior ARM based Surface versions back.  If I set my Surface 3 down and pick it back up the next day it's either completely dead because it didn't sleep properly or you have to wait for it to boot back up.  Really diminished the 'tablet' experience IMO.
  • YES I feel the same way... I've almost resorted to selling it.  But I changed the power options on it to go to sleep after 15min, and i just deal with the startup time the next time i use it.  
  • Im not going to be the first one on this. Still bad taste from RT and RT2
  • But surely that was because of the OS rather than the hardware. I have a Surface 3 and, like just about everyone who does, think it's great. The hardware is fine for the price and the OS has all the same capabilities as on any other Windows device. A Surface 4 or 5 should be in the same category.
  • Are you all Crazy!  Charging! Charging! Charging.   Battery life isn't great, but with a 2.4A 5V (12w) i.e.micro usb charging port you better make sure you have it plugged in All the time you're not moving.  How much juice can you pump down a USB-C without it going on fire? I LOVE my surface 3.  I killed paper notes completely with this device.  It is just fast enough so ARM better not be slower or I'll be heartbroken and have to get an SP4 On a less urgent note, I don't know why they changed from Micro HDMI on the Surface RT to Micro Display port on the 3.   Display port is that little bit less useful.
  • I believe the Display port has much better throughput than HDMI.
  • I wouldn't expect the first 3 design changes; affiliated more to a SP5 Pro or something like that. Better battery life is probable since it'll be running on ARM.
  • A USB C port and USB A port, one of each would be nice.
  • Usb-type c, 5G wireless, office with vba abilities, windows Hello cam
  • "Intel since killed those ATOM chips". It's not true. Do your homework. They killed *some* chips, but they *will* introduce new Pentiums, Celerons *and* ATOM chips in 2017. Those are even called Atom x5 and x7. Here are the specs: lake#@All I think it'd be absolutely silly to have a Surface 4/5 with an ARM chip. I believe Windows 10 on ARM will - if the rumors are true at all - be reserved for phones. But considering the gravity of the whole idea of running Windows 10 on ARM with 100% x86 compat and the cost that will have on performance and the headaches of actually making that work, including all its ramifications on connected hardware (graphics, DX, legacy devices, etc), I actually think the whole idea is a hoax and it'll rather be that there will be 10nm Intel chips that match ARM power efficiency and performance at the same time. Especially with some sort of 3D X-point memory that neither needs refreshing nor is meaningfully slower than DRAM, since that could mean the system simply stops using power once the screen backlight turns off. All power it'll use is to stay always connected, but instead of using power for slow DRAM refresh or comparingly slow and power consuming hibernation to/from flash memory/persistent storage, it'll use a tiny fraction of energy just to transition to/from extremely low power ultra deep sleep. And when it's on, the DRAM refresh is gone as well, meaning that the whole system will shave off meaningful power consumption when playing games or using it extensively as well.
  • It is not rumors and absolutely not hoax.. MS actually show W10 on ARM running SD820 on reference device last year
  • I guess you missed the demo they did when they had Photoshop and World of Tanks running.
  • I think Intel completely killed their mobile Atom chips meant for phones.
  • Rumors to be true? It was specifically mentioned for tablets and 2&1s with no plans for phones at the moment
  • I agree with that list, and hopefully it'll come with built-in LTE on all models (because ARM). The new kickstand, bigger screen, and better battery life would be great. Built-in Windows Hello support of some kind (Iris, facial, or fingerprint) would be killer. I currently have a SP3, but never use it to its full potential, so I'd seriously consider a Surface 5 if it had these features.
    EDIT: and a USB-C port for charging/data/display, or maybe two? Or a full-size USB along with USB-C? :)
  • I can't agree with having LTE on all models. Qualcomm charge a license fee for each chip feature utilised so a model without LTE would be cheaper. For those of us who don't want a separate data plan and would rather just tether our phone, that difference matters.
  • Thinner, same screen and bezel, always on/connected standay without the hibernate, USB-C and quick charging...
  • Anyone who says they don't care for a home button on these devices had never used them in tablet mode for prolonged periods. Reaching that software windows key in the bottom left is awful, especially with the type cover still on. You have to change your left hand grip to get to it and set yourself up for a possibly doing the device. God I miss swiping from the right and using the charm bar "Start"
  • Agreed to a certain extent.  I always seem to inadvertently hit the Windows button by mistake.
  • I'm OK with my Surface 3. It really lacks nothing for me AND the price, a bit over 500 bucks, with keyboard and pen, was fine with me. That said, I will be keeping an eye out for the next generation Surface. Just hope it doesn't cost and ARM :-) and a leg.
  • Agree with them all. And can we get it in OLED? OLED army here.
  • Battery life on rt and 2 was incredibly long, so we can expect at least the same 10-14h half brightness video marathon the 2 was able to provide
  • Also need much faster internal storage and charging.
  • A Qualcomm processor should inherently provide faster charging.
  • Here is a good example of disparate interests. I;m sure this was written as a way to drive comments and reads.
    And so it has.
    Let's start with the first point. An ARM chip. It's ok as far as it goes, but isn't WINDOWs on ARM only going to occur when in continuum? So, running Photoshop on a small screen isn't going to work. Per se. Isn't windows on Arm, really more like Windows Mobile PLUS? so odd as this may sound, I'd rather have Windows Mobile. I NEVER use desktop apps on my Surface 3. NEVER. In fact, I never use desktop mode. at all. So multiple screens is uesess to me. And conversely. I use the WINDOWS button on the bezel a LOT. I want a Surface that is TOUCH first. How dow I do Windows key and G for Gamebar? Microsoft has swung TOO far the other way in defaulting to KEYBOARD first. As a Tablet I want Portrait. and while I do agree for more screen, I want that screen in 4:3 aspect ratio. Pen based and touch first. I want it to be USB C powered.
  • I get what your saying but some of the "MOBILE" APP's don't actually work, or don't work well. It's nice to have the flexibility of the "PC" APP's from the APP store.
  • As with the article, your mileage may vary. I want a 10 inch device I can use on the treadmill. Fitbit, great on mobile. Groove. Same. The only challenge for me is mobile browsing and edge extensions. Can't live without unblock origin. Though may try Ghostery. Otherwise I good, and preferred the original one note with radial dial, instead of ,menu.
  • It all depends on who's developing the app. And what device they have. And then what they list as the target device types with which the app can run. Some app makers are totally stupid ticking the boxes for all types of devices once they tested it on their phone or tablet. Or they didn't at all consider that the device may have touch and a small screen... Perhaps that's the problem with UWP these days.
  • We do have the App problem, as for the orientation and screen sizes, C-Shell might solve it or make it easier to adapt.
  • I could use good primer on C Shell, a link?
  • I want 4:3 screen ratio. Figure since they made everything scroll vertically...may as well make a screen that'll play nicer that way. 
  • I can't see that happening. The logic behind the 3:2 aspect ratio is that it matches a piece of paper. There's really nothing to recommend 4:3 as it doesn't correspond to anything else in common use today.
  • I just hope there is a Surface 4 or 5, whatever it ends up being called. They need to have something in that 10 inch size range. I absolutely love my Surface 3 even though I recently picked up a Surface Pro 4.
  • New pro 4 style type cover with fingerprint reader, smaller bezels, USB-C port for docking/charging, and better pen storage than a magnet...
  • Wow, you really though long and hard on these changes. Could have just sumed this up in one sentence and say you want an SP4 with an ARM processor. 
  • Hmm maybe windows 10 for arm will fix my original windows Surface running the tegra 3
  • Well the Snapdragon 825 only supports 8 GB of RAM which won't cut it for a lot of people.
  • I highly doubt they would do another ARM tablet, waste of resources and time.  Let the other OEMs handle the ARM space.   People were confused with RT surface 2/3, will continue to be confused.   Releasing another one would be a waste especially at a more higher price ponit then their OEM partners
  • This is a long time coming. There are a lot of iPads at my job because people want a large screen to check email and read documents. With log battery life. Microsoft's close ties with Intel has cost them greatly over the last decade.
  • To stay within Zacs suggestions: 1. not really an issue for me. I think the 0-150 degrees of motion should stay, but the important factor for me would be the best durable design with integrity of strength and no loss of hinge tolerances over time (spanning at least 5 years).
    2. ambivalent on this one. Not sure the tablet experience will be better. Have used a surface Pro design for years. Bezel definitely helps with accidental presses when holding the device in your hand(s). For me its in part about the discussion of form over function. But I would agree that a larger screen in the same firm factor would be an interesting enhanced immersive experience. Worried about increased battery consumption though. I like the windows button on the bezel. I have used it for years. It is useful when using a surface as a tablet and on convenience in landscape desktop usecase. The windows software key button on the taskbar for me in reality is too small, inconveniently too much in the lower left corner and too much prone to accidental pressing with other keys in the lower left corner and lack of response on a surface Pro device. My experience is that that key is dysfuntionally placed and needs some thought in ergonomics when used as a tablet. 3. My experience with all generation type covers is that they are all great to use and should be standard with all surface tablet pc devices. The only thing I would change is a version with no trackpad. I only use the trackpad 5% 9f the time for inly a handful if websites that do not support touch input with menus. All else a surface device can be used conveniently and efficiently with keyboard, touch and pen. The type cover for me could be improved if there was an upgraded version of the power cover with bult in Bluetooth so that I could also use the type cover as a bluetooth keyboard. 4. Off course! :). I can't understand why they can't make some kind of mophie juicepack type protective cover to increase battery life on the go. Connection possibly via the type cover connector. I wouldn't mind the pro 4 to be 1 mm thicker for some more battery capacity. Other ideas:
    That one side of the surface could contain some kind of lock port to hold a silo accessory that can hold a stylus without losing it in transit. The magnet is a joke solution in my experience. A version that supports swappable batteries. Based on my experience with the pro first gen that I ise as my daily driver. Hardware still strong , but battery is weakening after 4 years. A fresh swap to take it another 4 on windows 10 with little issue. Surface is quite an amazing device and durable in use and performance. support for built in glonass gps chip/module. Would be great to use with many mapping and navigational software and location based search and web queries on and offline. More immersive map experience on a larger screen. Ip68 dust and waterproof for improved outdoor capabilities. A more universal (fast) charging solution than proprietary. USB C for example. The proprietary is a nuisance when broken, lost or stolen, rendering your surface useless when battery is drained. An E-ink screen overlay layer for those moments of consumptive reading ebook/blog/news/office document or some light notetaking with stylus where system resource use is at a minimum with little battery consumption. Support for Qi wireless charging.
  • I'd prefer an actual increase in screen size, even if it meant large tablet... Just not thicker or heavier if possible
  • I would like to see a 5" variant, like my beloved L930 :)
  • I'm not so sure they should even build an Arm based tablet, but an ultrabook instead. The main problem with the Surface RT was that it was constantly compared with iOS instead of Chrome OS. While Microsoft compares the Surface Pro to MacBook Airs, bloggers equally compare it to the iPad. A low priced 2in1/convertible may be better first product than going the Surface route. The tablet market is receding, so why go there.
  • You're asking for all the features of a Surface pro.. So buy a pro
  • It's disappointing that Intel have given up on this market.
  • Well they failed to take off with Android and MS didnt have any thing for them at that point of time.  
  • Zero chance there will be any full Windows device released this year on ARM. Maybe late 2018 at best.
  • What I would like too see is a free windows 10 upgrade to surface RT users.
  • For me a light's device main asset is portability. So an 8 inch tab running windows 10 with a detachable pen is something many people would love to have. Windows ink on a device like this would turn it to a really practical notebook/sketchbook.
  • In addition to that, I would like to see the Surface 5 generate less heat. The biggest problem I had with my Surface 3 is, when plugged in, in the blazing hot summer, the tablet will generate so much heat that it actually throttles. With Windows 10 on ARM, this concern may not be necessary. But I hope it's something Microsoft would bear in mind and the eventual product won't have this problem.
  • The one thing I disagree with here is losing the start button. I love having that on my Surface 3 when I'm using it without the type cover. Much easier than that tiny onscreen button and also has haptic feedback. Would be a big usability loss for me.
  • They'll not do anything with the Snapdragon 835, certainly not Surface-branded.
  • I'm thinking about getting a Surface 3. Pro is too expensive for me and I'm currently fine with my Surface (RT) 2 but I want to have a pen. How well is the performance? I had Windows tablets running Atom but the performance is horrible compared with my Surface 2
  • What about built-in 5G for communication, as an alternative to wifi? I hope emulation of x86 works. What about also including some built-in "terminal" software a la Teamviewer? I.e., allow us to log in remotely to some "workstation" and run 64 bit software on this workstation. With file syncing between the Surface 4 (or whatever) and this "workstation", files can be made easily accessible on the Surface 4 for easy inclusion in Word or other UWP software.
  • Surface Vista ME Edition.
  • I'd love to have the device you imagined Zac! (Typed on my Surface 3 (not Pro))
  •   I really like my Surface 3, I wish the new "Surface 5"could have... 1) 13 inch screen. 2)Longer than 10 hours battery life on video playback while wifi and bluetooth is enabled. 3)New surface pen with battery-free 4096 pressure levels and tilt sensitivity. Well, it looks like impossible utopias.
  •   My one bone to pick with the current surface is the stupid charge port.  Give me a magnetic port or some form of USB-C port.  Its the one thing that i loathe about my surface three.    Processor - i could use a tiny bit more punch  Larger Screen - Honestly, No care - I hate the surface 4 becasue it lacks the windows Capacitive button.   Now, if windows 10 incorporates the windows key back into the stupid hamburger Notification menu.  I'm all cool with it, but again no biggy. Kick stand --- Don't care.  I'm fine with what i got.         
  • Including the keyboard, or at least the pen, in the base model would be a nice touch.
    True SSD instead of eMMC would be on top of my list.
    It should have USB-C with QuickCharge X.0, micro USB will be obsolete by the time this Surface comes out.
    Otherwise, I agree with author's ideas.
  • LTE...  LTE... LTE
  • LTE-Adcanced and LTE-Advanced Pro would be better.:)
  • Could not agree more. The selection was bad last year and this year it's even worse. Stuck with my HP Spectre X2 with its horrendous battery life.
  • fully adjustable kickstand, STRONGER keyboard...I hated my surface 3 keyboard...I was like typing on a wet noodle, More power under the hood and MUCH more storage. like 512gb or 1tb option. I bought the surface 3 over the 3 pro because of its size....NOT how cheap it was. I want power in a small form factor.
  • The Surface Pro 4 keyboard is infinitely better than the 3's (and all other previous models), plus the trackpad is night and day better. I bought one and use it with my SP3, and it changed the SP3 from a device I hated to one I actually enjoy. I have absolutely no idea what the author is smoking in saying the SP3's keyboard was almost perfect. It and every other pre SP4 keyboard was absolute garbage, and the trackpads were worse than garbage. 
  • Even though my typecover for S3 is not too bad, but I would additionally buy bluetooth keyboard and mouse, at least I can keep a bit distance from my S3 screen while I'm browsing, and I can use hotkeys conveniently while I'm doing digital creation on my S3.
  • I just want them to add LTE to the Surface Pro 4 or Surface Pro 5 or Surface Book.     I have a Surface 3 with the cherry hill processor and LTE but its just to slow for me to want to spend much time on   Apple is smart they provide Internal Cell connections as an option on all their iPads.
  • More USB ports. Better and stronger keyboard-touchpad-cover. Do not care about ARM.
  • I thought I loved my SP2 when it first arrived. And even more so when I upgraded it to Windows 10. But the SP4 was a giant leap upwards and I feed my family using that amazing device.
    But.......(yea, isn't there always a but?) When I get home from work I often leave the SP4 in the truck. Between my 950XL and 2520, I rarely touch anything else. I can't believe how connected I have always been to my 2520. I can't completely explain it but I can't deny it either. It's just so effortless.
    Someday It's gotta finally die. Right? I am now optimistic that Woa means there is likely some device that will eventually be my new "2520" Man I just gotta believe that. And it should even be better since it will overcome my one complaint of the sweet Nokia tablet; the 2gig ram
  • Edit: Double post mistake.