Will Microsoft unveil the Surface Pro 5 this spring? That's the big questions these days amid all sorts of rumors floating around about the 2017 Surface Pro 5 specs, features and release date.
Let's make it clear right away that Microsoft's Surface Pro 5 is not likely to arrive until at least late spring 2017.
Microsoft launched the Pro 4 in October 2015, so October 2016 seemed like the most probable release date for the Surface Pro 5. However, at its October Windows event, the new Surface hardware was limited to the new Surface Book i7 and the Surface Studio. So we're expecting the Surface Pro 5 in 2017 for starters.
Some were then holding out for an announcement following the launch of the latest big Windows 10 update (called the Creators Update). That's now been and gone though, with no sign of the Surface Pro 5 yet, though we're still expecting an announcement some time this spring.
Waiting a bit longer to release the Surface Pro 5 will give Microsoft more time to get the product ready - the Pro 4 launched with a number of issues including battery drain.
One promising leak that at least suggests there will be a Surface Pro 5 is a mention of the device on LinkedIn. It's since been changed but product designer Toby Fitch's profile said he worked on products including the HoloLens, Xbox and Surface Pro 5.
There are some specification rumors circulating. One is that the Surface Pen - the stylus bundled with Surface Pro tablets - will be updated so that it contains a rechargeable battery that charges wirelessly when magnetically attached to the tablet. The current Surface Pen attaches magnetically but is not rechargeable as it takes an alkaline AAAA battery.
It's also possible, and rumoured, that the Surface Pro 5 might come with the Surface Dial which debuted with the Surface Studio all-in-one PC. We think that if there is a version for the new Surface tablet it will be smaller and an optional accessory.
Another more obvious rumour is that the Pro 5 will have the latest generation of Intel processor. Some say it will be the sixth-generation Skylake chip, but other rumours suggest it will be the following generation, codenamed Kaby Lake.
Yet others say that because Microsoft has demoed Windows 10 running on an ARM processor, the Pro 5 will switch to a Qualcomm Snapdragon system-on-chip (SoC) in order to give better battery life.
There was a lot of speculation that the new Surface will use a Qualcomm Snapdragon 635 processor instead of an Intel Kaby Lake chip. The benefits of this would be longer battery life, and potentially the addition of LTE for mobile connectivity.
But, let's not forget we're talking about the Surface 5 Pro here. The Pro has always been about having desktop power in a portable device, and a seventh-generation Intel Core chip would be the logical choice.
The most likely is for the Surface Pro 5 to go up to a 7th-generation Intel Kaby Lake Core i7. Following CES 2017 this is even more likely considering the new Lenovo Miix 720 has the chip.
The photo below from a developer shows a wall in Microsoft's building 88, and suggests Microsoft has more than one new Windows Surface in store, so it's feasible that the Surface Pro 5 may go with Kaby Lake, and a Surface 5 (the non-Pro version) might have the ARM chip.
Despite plenty of talk about the device getting Intel's latest Kaby Lake chips, it's possible the Pro 5 might actually run on an AMD processor instead.
The theory has emerged due to a trailer for Alien: Covenant which appears to show a Surface device. The film is sponsored by Intel's rival and the description reads: "Intelligence powered by AMD, Ryzen and Radeon".
A leak from a Chinese website (via Digitimes) claims that Microsoft has given the manufacturing contract for the Surface Pro 5 to Pegatron (which also makes the Surface Studio).
The report suggests the Surface Pro 5 will come with a 2K screen but there will also be a 4K model for those willing to splash the cash. It also touts an upgrade to 16GB of RAM, presumably for cheaper models as the Pro 4 is currently available with this capacity.
The report also states that the Surface Pro 5 will launch in Q1 2017. That means January - March though, and in case you haven't noticed, we're a bit past that now - so take the other claims with a pinch of salt.
One other candidate for an upgrade is the USB port. The Surface Pro 5 could be the first in the range to get a USB-C port rather than the USB 3.0 port on the Pro 4. This could also be used for charging: the proprietary charging connector is an annoyance that could quite easily be solved by USB-C.
Cameras are the other likely components to see upgrades, along with the latest versions of Wi-Fi (hopefully with MU-MIMO support) and Bluetooth.