Get ready: Microsoft has invited everyone to tune in to an October 12 broadcast where the company will "talk about devices" starting at 10AM Eastern/7 AM Pacific.
This is an exciting event because Microsoft is overdue to announce new Surface devices, and given the Surface-shaped image (seen above) in its promo materials, we expect the company to unveil much-anticipated hardware like the Surface Pro 9 and the Surface Laptop 5. We may also get more information on updates coming to Windows 11 before the end of the year.
Plus, we're still expecting there will be an Apple October event during which the company may unveil new iPads and MacBooks alongside the delayed launch of iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura. Even if Apple doesn't put on a show we expect it will ship new computers before the end of 2022, setting the stage for a Microsoft vs. Apple face-off this holiday season.
While we can't say for sure until we tune in ourselves, here's what we expect Microsoft to show off during its big October 2022 event.
How to watch the Microsoft October 2022 event
The event will be broadcast live via Microsoft's event website on October 12. The broadcast is scheduled to begin at 10 AM ET/7 AM PT, and it will likely be livestreamed on Microsoft's YouTube channel at the same time.
We'll also be live-blogging the event, and we'll have staff there in person to go hands-on with whatever devices are announced and bring you their first impressions. We'll be launching our live blog a few hours before the event kicks off, so stay tuned!
What we expect to see at Microsoft's October event
Microsoft Surface Pro 9
More than anything, we expect to see a Microsoft unveil a Surface Pro 9 during its October 2022 event. The Surface Pro 8 was released in September 2021, and as of September 2022 Microsoft has said nothing about a successor -- but earlier this month some reporters spotted an FCC filing in September 2022 which reveals that a device believed to be the Surface Pro 9 has been certified in compliance with FCC guidelines.
If that's true, the Surface Pro 9 could be on sale as soon as October 2022, which makes it a prime candidate for unveiling at Microsoft's October event.
In terms of what we expect such a device to look like, odds are it won't be much of a departure from the design of the Surface Pro 8. We expect a Surface Pro 9 ship with Windows 11 and sport the same 13-inch (2,880 x 1,920) display as its predecessor, though it will likely pack the latest Intel 12th Gen CPUs instead of the 11th Gen chips in last year's model.
However, we have heard a believable report that Microsoft will reportedly merge its Surface Pro X line of ultra-mobile 2-in-1 laptops with the core Surface Pro line by offering the Surface Pro 9 with either Intel or Qualcomm chips inside. If that proves true it will spell the end of the Surface Pro X, which were effectively Windows tablets with detachable keyboards (sold separately) that ran on Microsoft-branded versions of Qualcomm SoC (system-on-chip) processors.
On the plus side, if it's true it also means that we'll see a Surface Pro 9 being sold later this year with 5G connectivity and a Qualcomm SoC (likely branded the Microsoft SQ3) inside.
Surface Laptop 5
Microsoft released the Surface Laptop 4 in April 2021, and since then we've heard nary a peep about when (or if) we should expect a Surface Laptop 5.
That's a bit surprising given how effective an ultraportable the Surface Laptop is for work and school. In our Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 review I called it one of the best Windows laptops on the market, lauding its comfy keyboard, impressive speaker setup and decent (11+ hours tested) battery life. It's also pretty powerful thanks to its 11th Gen Intel chips, but there's a lot of room for improvement.
That's why I wouldn't be too upset to see a Surface Laptop 5 unveiled during Microsoft's October 2022 event. With every iteration Microsoft gets closer to making the ideal Windows ultraportable, and it would be nice to see the company knock it out of the park next time it steps up to the plate. The Surface Laptop 4 is pretty good and comes in both AMD and Intel varieties, but both the 13-inch and 15-inch models lack a decent port array, a good webcam and the graphical muscle of a discrete GPU. Now that Apple's done such a good job of designing a powerful, stylish macOS laptop with the MacBook Pro 2021, it would be nice to see Microsoft deliver something similar for Windows 11.
Microsoft Studio 3
On the more radical end of the spectrum, a Microsoft patent from 2016 fueled rumors that the next Surface Studio all-in-one may be unveiled at Microsoft's event and may not be an all-in-one at all, with hints of a modular design that relies upon a standalone Surface monitor with the same touch capability and zero-gravity hinge, but without the PC hardware in the base. Such a change could move the Surface Studio away from the all-in-one design of past models and toward something closer to a high-end display paired with a compact desktop, similar to the best mini PCs.
Separating the display and PC would open up the benefits of the Surface Studio to a larger market, but it would be a drastic departure from Microsoft's current product line, turning a single, complete package into less impressive mini PC paired with a great monitor. While I would love for Microsoft to offer a Surface monitor with the benefits of the Studio's ergonomics and input capabilities, doing so with the Surface Studio name would effectively reduce the most innovative Windows all-in-one on the market to nothing more than a nice monitor.
Microsoft October event 2022 outlook
Mark your calendars: October is the month new laptops are dropping from Microsoft. Sure, the company hasn't publicly confirmed anything yet, but all signs point to a slate of new Surface devices being announced October 12th.
As exciting as that is, Microsoft might be facing an uphill battle to claim a meaningful market share with its new Surface devices. While we still haven't heard when (or if) Apple will be having its own Fall 2022 event, we still believe the company will be shipping a MacBook Pro with M2 Pro (and perhaps a new iPad Pro 2022) this year. Will Microsoft be fielding much in the way of competition? Only one way to know for sure -- stay tuned!
What to expect at the Microsoft Surface event 2021
Here's what we expect from Microsoft's Surface event: Going by the leaks and rumors so far, we’ll likely see the Surface Pro 8 revealed, hopefully bringing in a new design and better specs, including access to AMD processors. A new Surface Book is to be expected too, again potentially sporting a rather different design that may draw inspiration from the Surface Studio’s easel-like aesthetic.
We don’t expect to see a new Surface Studio or a new Surface Laptop, but a Surface Duo 2 is on the cards to hopefully build upon the smart design yet flawed execution of the original Surface Duo.
Speaking of smart design, while the Surface Pro X was an interesting ARM-based Windows 10 tablet, we’re not that confident that a new version will be revealed at the event. That’s because we’ve not seen many leaks or rumors around such a device, and we feel Microsoft may have moved away from making its own Windows on ARM devices.
As for other stuff, we expect a bigger dive into Windows 11, perhaps with some tidbits as to how it’ll run on different PCs and potential partner machines from the likes of Asus, Dell, Acer, Lenovo and more.
In short, we can expect a good range of Surface and Windows 11-based products and updates from Microsoft. We're not sure there’ll be a mass of surprises, though the return of the Surface Neo wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen.
Make sure to check back with Tom’s Guide to get all the latest news from the Microsoft Surface event and beyond.
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Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.