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Microsoft's Big Surface and Lumia Event: What to Expect

Now that Windows 10 is in the wild, Microsoft is ready to unleash a slew of new gadgets that take advantage of its operating system. The company's upcoming Windows 10 media briefing has the potential to be one of the its biggest press events yet, with new Surface tablets, Lumia smartphones and a new wearable all expected to appear. We might even hear more tantalizing news about HoloLens and Xbox. Here's what you need to know about Microsoft's big event before it kicks off on Oct. 6 at 10am eastern time.

Surface Pro 4 and Super-Sized Surface

Microsoft's long-rumored Surface Pro 4 is likely to be the star of the show. The latest version of Microsoft's flagship 2-in-1 is expected to pack Intel's speedy Skylake processors, which allow for better battery life, graphics performance and video playback. The Surface Pro 4 may feature an improved display and souped-up stylus, though the overall design is expected to remain the same so that those upgrading from the Pro 3 can keep using their old accessories.

While the core Surface Pro model might look the same, a report from Digitimes points to a possible 14-inch variation aimed at power users who prefer larger laptops. There's little in the way of rumored specs, though a plus-sized Surface would likely require a new, bigger Type Cover and possibly its own stylus. 

"These devices should feature UHD displays, Windows Hello, and, I hear on the 14-inch version, an optional 1TB SSD," said Windows Central Editor-in-Chief Daniel Rubino in an e-mail with Tom's Guide. "Will they mix mobile abilities, like calling from a Surface into the mix? Windows 10 lets them do anything, so maybe."

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Lumia 950 and 950 XL Smartphones

With Windows 10 expected to land on a variety of Lumia phones this month, Microsoft may have two brand-new flagships to coincide with the launch. Previous leaks from Chinese site WPXAP suggest the impending arrival of new Lumia 950 and 950 XL smartphones, which may feature 20-megapixel cameras, reversible USB Type-C ports and 5.2-inch and 5.7-inch quad-HD displays, respectively.

As pointed out by The Verge, the new phones are expected to launch with Windows Hello, a Windows 10 feature that would allow owners to unlock the handsets via facial recognition. The devices are also expected to support Windows 10 Continuum, which would allow the phones to act as full PCs with the proper accessories attached. A wireless dock could let you attach a monitor, keyboard and mouse, turning a Lumia phone into a mini desktop.

"As this tech trickles down to lower price segments it will matter a lot for emerging markets where your smartphone is your first -- and likely only -- computational device," said Rubino regarding Continuum.

Microsoft Band 2

Microsoft may reveal an improved version of its Band wearable, which impressed us last year with its accurate fitness tracking and built-in GPS in spite of its somewhat awkward design. Fortunately, if leaked images from Microsoft Insider are to be believed, the Band 2 will sport an attractive curved design with a rounded display that wraps neatly around the list. Other rumored specs are scarce, but we expect to see an improved version of Microsoft's Health software to go along with the new device.

HoloLens

While there haven't been any recent leaks or teases surrounding Microsoft's HoloLens augmented-reality headset, the device has shown up at most of the company's major media events. With a developer version of HoloLens expected to launch sometime next year, we could get a closer look at how the device will project Windows 10 apps onto our real-life living spaces -- and maybe even a more specific release window.

"News on HoloLens is guaranteed," said Rubino, who expects to see both an early release date for select developers and possibly new consumer-facing features."

Xbox One

With a new, Windows 10-powered interface coming to Xbox One in November, we wouldn't be surprised to see Microsoft's gaming console get some stage time. Dubbed the New Xbox One Experience, the latest version of Xbox's software offers a sleeker look and faster performance, and it would make sense for Microsoft to show it off one more time before launch. There have also been rumors of a new, slimmer Xbox One, but considering Microsoft just unveiled five new Xbox One bundles last week, a hardware refresh is probably a ways off.

Where to Watch

Microsoft's Oct. 6 briefing will be streamed live at Microsoft's event page. You can also follow along on your Xbox One by downloading the Xbox Live Events player app.