The iPad range is basically the royal family of the tablet world, and the iPad Pro is one of the best tablets you can buy. But the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 may steal one of the iPad’s best features. And possibly make it better.
According to a new patent filing (opens in new tab) (spotted by Windows Latest (opens in new tab)), Microsoft has developed its own take on the floating hinge included with the latest iPad Pro Magic Keyboard. There's no guarantee this feature will make it into the Surface Pro 8, but this potential upgrade is exciting.
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The floating hinge debuted on the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro last year, and allows for more adjustability in the tablet’s viewing angle — between 85 and 130 degrees. However as my colleague Henry T Casey noted in our Magic Keyboard review, adjusting the angle feels limited, and he was always hitting the limit before he felt he should.
But while the iPad Pro’s floating hinge relies on magnets to operate, Microsoft's patent utilizes a mechanical mechanism that you can see in the image above.
While technically the hinge isn’t ‘floating’ per se, it still means the tablet itself doesn’t have to rest on the keyboard cover for support. That means you would have more freedom to adjust the viewing angle than previous models.
The fact Microsoft opted for a physical mechanism for this patent would offer enough support to allow a much greater range of angles than Apple’s floating hinge. According to the text in the patent, the display can be held anywhere between zero and 135 degrees. This would give the Surface Pro 8 a significant advantage over Apple’s own efforts.
Of course, patenting a design doesn’t mean Microsoft is actually going to use it in one of its products, whether it’s the Surface Pro 8 or some future Microsoft-made tablet.
That being said, current tablet stands are a little limited, and the limited number of viewing angles puts them at a notable disadvantage when compared to the best laptops. In other words, this is one patent we’d like to see make it into the real world and soon.
Current rumors point towards the Surface Pro 8 having almost exactly the same design as the Surface Pro 7, which some people have already expressed their disappointment with. Rumors also suggest that the tablet will have a minimum of 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Leaks also suggest that the top-tier model will pack in 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, though you would likely need to cough up the cash for a Core i7 model if you want either of them.
LTE is also rumored to be available with the Surface Pro 8, but only with models powered by a Core i5 processor. The rest would be Wi-Fi only. However, we're hoping for a 5G option.
The Surface Pro 8 has been overdue for a while now and Microsoft hasn’t revealed any details. But we hope this upgrade makes it into the final product.
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