Last year’s launch of the Surface Pro 7 happened alongside the Surface Pro X. While the Pro X debuted a new design that offered a thinner tablet, comfortable curves around the edges, and smaller bezels; the Pro 7 remained on the older angular design.
A glance at the contemporaneous reviews shows that one of the big questions was why Microsoft stayed with the older design on the Pro 7 while the Pro X picked up the flashy new look. If you’re looking for a reason why the Pro X could do this, the answer is the processor. The Pro X is Microsoft’s first ARM-powered Surface machine. Thanks to the chip running at a lower temperature the internal design could dispense with the fan and pack components closer together.
The benefits are similar to those illustrated by Apple in the new MacBook Air.
Microsoft is expected to launch the presumptively-named Surface Pro 8 during 2021. The latest leaks show off the outside of the new device, and any Surface fans looking for a refreshed design on the Pro 8 – even to deal with the large bezels and boxlike structure if not the thickness – are going to be disappointed. The Pro 8 leaks show a machine that could easily be mistaken for an earlier Surface.
The bezels remain. The harder edges remain. the cooling vents remain.
Now, there’s a potential argument that this is a scratch build to test the new internals, including Intel’s Tiger Lake Core processor along with Gen12 Xe graphics, but the tightly packed design of a tablet design makes me feel that ‘two designs’ of Pro 8 would be unlikely but not unthinkable.
With the Surface Pro X pushing forward in the fashion stakes, the Pro 8’s older design will not look attractive to consumers. Yet icould be a virtue in one respect… enterprise partners who have invested in various fixtures, fittings, and peripherals, who will welcome continuity in design.