By Alexandra Burlacu | Sep 21, 2013 11:04 AM EDT
Microsoft is expected to unveil its next-generation Surface tablets at its Sept. 23 event in New York City and we have a pretty clear picture of what to expect.
The purported Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 have starred in various rumors, leaks and speculations recently, all aiming to give a glimpse into the future of Surface.
Microsoft's next-generation Surface tablets are expected to sport a very similar design to the current generation. That means the same 10.6-inch display size, the same VaporMg casing, and compatibility with the same snap-on keyboard and covers. The tablets are also expected to be Wi-Fi-only, without support for LTE, and sport the same number of ports as the current Surface slates.
When the Surface RT and Surface Pro made their debut last year, Microsoft took everyone by surprise by venturing into the tablet market with its own-brand hardware. The software giant had turned to hardware, but original Surface tablets were not the whopping success the company likely hoped for. The slates raised some interest and curiosity at first, but they didn't exactly fly off the shelves. Their steep price tag didn't help much and the Windows RT operating system received plenty of criticism from confused users.
The new Surface RT tablet will reportedly debut as the Surface 2, an ARM Tegra 4-based Windows RT tablet. This model is expected to sport a 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD display, just like the one found on the current Surface Pro.
Meanwhile, the Surface Pro 2 will reportedly boast an Intel Core i5-based Haswell processor. In terms of battery life, the Surface 2 is expected to last for about 8 hours on a single charge, while the Surface Pro 2 should allow for about 7 hours of use.
Windows SuperSite has published a full list of alleged specs for the Microsoft Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2. Another report, meanwhile, tackles something more intriguing: availability and pricing.
"I've heard from one of my sources who has been in the loop on Surface information (and asked to remain anonymous) that both the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 may be generally available on or around October 22 - right around the time Windows 8.1 is generally available, which is October 18," reports CNET's Mary Jo Foley.
"According to my sources, it sounds like there are no huge price cuts in the works, which will surely disappoint those who've been expecting the so-so reception of first-generation Surfaces to have made Microsoft rethink its Surface pricing," Foley adds.
The report further notes that according to the source, the company plans to sell the new Surface tablets alongside the original slates. Microsoft reportedly intends to continue selling the 32GB Surface RT for the same $350 price tag (no cover included), while launching a 32GB Surface 2 for $500 and a 64GB model for $600.
The starting price for the Surface Pro will reportedly remain unchanged at $800, while prices for the Surface Pro 2 will start at $900 for the 64GB model. Larger-capacity 128GB, 256GB and 512GB versions would sell for $1000, $1300 and $1700, respectively.
Microsoft has not yet made an official announcement, so these pricing and availability details remain unconfirmed for now. If they prove to be accurate, however, the company's second-generation Surface tablets might not fare so well in the highly-competitive tablet market. High prices didn't help the original Surface slates and they will surely not favor the second-generation tablets.
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