Windows 11 is scheduled for full release on October 5, and with two weeks to go Microsoft has a virtual press event to talk about "devices and Windows 11" planned for this Wednesday, September 22nd.
Given the timing, we expect this to be a showcase of new Surface devices that will debut alongside Windows 11, just in time for the fall shopping season. That means we could see the rumored Surface Pro 8, the reportedly redesigned Surface Book 4, the Surface Duo 2 and more unveiled during the event.
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The Surface showcase kicks off this Wednesday, September 22nd at 11 AM Eastern, 8 AM Pacific and Tom's Guide will be covering it live, so we'd love to see you in our liveblog that day. You should also be able to watch the stream in your browser via Microsoft's event page (opens in new tab).
As far as what to expect, we have some pretty good guesses as to what's on the agenda, but we'll have to wait until Wednesday to know for sure. Here's what we think Microsoft has in store for us at this big September event.
Microsoft Surface event 2021: Windows 11
Windows 11 is the most surefire prediction we can make because it's arguably Microsoft's biggest product launch in years. It's also mentioned directly in the event invitation, and sure to be running on every Microsoft device we see this week.
Of course, because of that we also don't expect a lot of new Windows 11 info out of this week's event. Microsoft just did a big preview of the OS in June, and scores of early adopters have been running beta versions of Windows 11 for a while now, so we already know quite a bit about the next big thing in Windows.
Our Windows 11 guide has a full rundown of the changes we've seen thus far; highlights include a new Start menu with rounded corners, productivity boosters such as Snap Layouts for running multiple apps, new widgets and Microsoft Teams integration.
Microsoft probably won't spend a lot of time digging into Windows 11 features, though we hope it will give us more details about system requirements for the update. However, we believe the bulk of theis week's will focus on new hardware.
Microsoft Surface event 2021: Surface Book 4
Microsoft's promotion for this week's event might be a hint as to what we can expect to see unveiled. The teaser image on the event page bears a striking resemblance to a Surface laptop, which could be a hint that we're finally going to witness the debut of the Surface Book 4, which has been tipped for a radical redesign that could include a hinged screen, rather than the detachable display seen on the 2020 Surface Book 3.
If that rumor pans out, the next Surface Book could end up being an intriguing device for artists and creators who want a 2-in-1 laptop/tablet that can be set up like an easel, a la the Surface Studio 2.
Microsoft Surface event 2021: Surface Pro 8
The long-expected Surface Pro 8 could finally make an appearance as Microsoft's flagship Surface device for Windows 11.
Unlike the rumored Surface Book 4, we don't expect the next Surface Pro to look much different than the current version. Instead, look for Microsoft to make minor improvements like enlarging the display by thinning the bezels, bumping the CPU up to the latest 11th Gen Intel chips, and adding Thunderbolt 4 support.
We've also seen leaks which suggest the Surface Pro 8 will get a 120Hz display and a removable SSD, a la the Surface Laptop 4.
Microsoft Surface event 2021: Surface Duo 2
We've been expecting to see a Surface Duo 2 unveiled this year, and Microsoft's Surface event this week seems like a prime time for that to happen. We've already seen photos of this alleged Surface Duo 2 cropping up online that appear to reveal the same dual-screen clamshell design as the original Duo, albeit with an improved triple-camera array.
If everything we've heard proves true, this Duo 2 will also have much better hardware under the hood than the original (underpowered) Duo, including a Snapdragon 888 processor, 5G support, and NFC communication for wireless payments.
Microsoft Surface event 2021: Surface Pro X2?
The Surface Pro X launched in 2019 to moderate fanfare, but this ARM-powered Surface 2-in-1 has since been regularly overshadowed by its more powerful siblings in the Surface family.
However, it's been a year since the launch of the 2020 Pro X, so this week's Surface event would be the obvious place for Microsoft to unveil an upgraded Surface Pro X. But if that happens, don't expect any major redesigns: at most, we're expecting to see a revamped Surface Pro X 2021 with updated components and a better display, perhaps with the same 120Hz refresh rate we expect to see on the new Surface Pro 8.
Microsoft Surface event 2021: Surface Go 3
Last but not least, there's an outside chance we'll see a new Surface Go tablet unveiled at this week's Microsoft event. We liked the Surface Go 2 quite a bit, naming it one of the best tablets you can buy thanks to its impressive battery life, 1080p webcam, and impressive screen, so we're excited to see what a follow-up might look like.
If we do end up seeing a successor unveiled this week, we expect the Surface Go 3 to be a modest upgrade over the current model. Don't expect any flashy redesigns or new features; upgraded internals (including potentially at least an 11th Gen Intel Core i3 option) and an improved screen are likely the best we can hope for. But of course, hope springs eternal, and we'd love to see up to an 11th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU option, as well as more RAM and storage options.
Microsoft Surface event: Outlook
Of course, We'll have to wait and see what Microsoft has planned for its September 22 Surface showcase. We expect to see some or all of the devices outlined above, but there's also the potential that we'll see something totally unexpected. To find out, stay tuned for our coverage of all things Microsoft.
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