Microsoft has started teasing more information about its upcoming Surface event in New York City next month. The software giant has sent another invite to members of the press today with a different image attached, and it clearly reveals the Surface logo and what looks like the shape of a processor. The invite also reveals that the event will start at 10AM ET on October 2nd. We understand that both Satya Nadella and Panos Panay will be in attendance, indicating that there will be some significant news this year.
Nadella didn’t attend last year’s Surface event, where Microsoft refreshed the Surface Pro and Surface Laptop lines with a new black option, unveiled a Surface Studio 2, and launched new Surface Headphones. Nadella’s attendance this year suggests that Microsoft has something significant to announce. Oh, and Panos Panay is pumped.
This year’s event will focus on new hardware for the holiday season, and we’ll see some refreshes to the Surface line. Rumors suggest that Microsoft will launch an AMD-powered Surface Laptop, a Qualcomm-based Surface, and a new Surface Pro with USB-C at the event in New York City next month. The event invite could well be hinting at these processor changes, with what looks like a silicon-shaped piece of milled aluminum. Microsoft’s previous invite had 10/2 in silver shapes, and perhaps we’ll see more teases before October 2nd.
Hardware won’t be the sole focus, though. The event will also touch on the experiences Microsoft is planning to deliver on this Surface hardware. If Microsoft is ready to launch its own ARM-powered Surface, then we’ll need to hear more about how Windows is adapting to work better on this hardware. That will likely include a tease of Microsoft’s efforts toward a dual-screen Surface device, and its Windows Lite plans.
Sources familiar with Microsoft’s efforts tell The Verge that the company has been working on the hardware for at least two years, and Microsoft’s own Surface device is designed to usher in a wave of new dual-screen and foldable tablet / laptop hybrids that will launch in late 2020. Microsoft demonstrated this new device, codenamed “Centaurus,” during an internal meeting earlier this year.
Microsoft is also working closely with Intel and some of its OEM partners on a new variant of Windows, codenamed “Windows Lite,” that is designed to power this hardware. Windows Lite is a more stripped-down version of Windows that is initially being prioritized for dual-screen devices. The hardware itself could end up looking very similar to Microsoft’s original Courier concept.
Intel has been pushing OEMs to create this new hardware category, and laptop makers are currently testing both foldable displays and dual-screen devices. The Windows Lite interface will be similar to Windows 10, but a lot more simplified and modern like what Microsoft does with its Surface Hub shell and even the Windows Phone Continuum user interface.
Microsoft could also reveal its mysterious portable speaker. A patent filing spotted earlier this week shows the unannounced device looks similar in size and design to Google’s Home Mini. Microsoft will likely use the speaker for its Microsoft Teams software, and it could well be Surface-branded.
Microsoft is planning to live stream this Surface event, and The Verge will be live from the event to bring you the latest news as it happens.