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Report: No Surface Pro 5 but a spec-bumped ‘Surface Pro’

A report suggests the next Surface Pro is just an update of the Surface Pro 4, with the latest Kaby Lake Intel processor, new keyboard and stylus colours, but no USB-C.

If you were expecting Microsoft’s oft-rumoured Surface Pro 5 to be a major refresh, with slimmer new design, a mix of USB 3.0 and USB-C ports, some kind of augmented reality 3D-scanning camera tech, off-screen gesture natural user interface gesture controls, and other advanced technology, none of that appears to be the case.

If a report from VentureBeat of new Surface Pro leaks is to be believed, the Surface Pro 5 doesn’t exist because the next model won’t, supposedly, have any model number.

It will apparently "just" be a Surface Pro, much like a MacBook is a MacBook rather than a MacBook 2 or 3 or some other number.

Indeed, there are rumours that the 2017 iPhones won’t feature numbers this time around but will revert to simple things like iPhone, iPhone Plus and iPhone Pro.

Copying Apple in this regard, as Apple has done with its iPad line with the iPad and iPad Pro models, appears to continue the starting up of the photocopiers in Redmond, as the old Apple saying goes.

It looks like the Surface Pro 4 is just getting a minor spec bump to Intel Kaby Lake processor, and some new coloured Alcantara covered keyboards as well as matching coloured stylus options.

The same USB 3 port appears to remain, as does the DisplayPort.

Any hopes of Microsoft joining 2016 with USB-C ports in its 2017 Surface Pro appear to be dashed.

It’s a shame, but presumably a newer and better design just isn’t warranted at the moment, and is being held off until 2018.

Of course, VentureBeat’s report could be a bit of clever misdirection, with Microsoft set to unveil something truly special and amazing at its 23 May conference next week in Shanghai.

Or perhaps Microsoft really will unveil the long awaited Surface Phone in the hope that all of the attention flows in that direction, especially given the very positive reports that Samsung’s S8 and S8+ dock called Dex has received, allowing the S8 or S8+ to turn into a more traditional desktop that can, according to multiple reports, actually give the Windows desktop environment a real run for its money.

That said, Dex is a version 1.0 of a smartphone to desktop environment and presumably still has a long way to go until it can truly challenge Windows its massive legacy app library.

On top of that, the actual launch of a true Surface Phone is likely still months away, if it will ever appear at all, so perhaps the next Surface Pro really is just going to be just a spec-bump after all.

Time will tell, and that time is next week, so at least we won’t have to wait too long to find out.

Until then, may your outlook on life always be vastly richer than merely skimming across the surface, so you don’t just experience life’s breadth, but its depth, too. 

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.