Microsoft’s ARM-powered Surface Pro X is getting a refresh this fall with an updated Microsoft SQ2 processor, the introduction of a “platinum” color option, and new Type Cover colors that bring it in line with the standard Surface Pro color offerings already on the market. According to my sources, the new Surface Pro X won’t feature any significant design changes, with contacts describing the refresh as a relatively minor one.
The most significant change aesthetically will be with the introduction of the platinum color choice on Surface Pro X. Platinum has been available on the standard Surface Pro since the Surface Pro 3, so its omission with last year’s Surface Pro X was unique and unfortunate for anyone who prefers it over black.
Surface Pro X’s Type Covers are also being updated with similar colors already available with the standard Surface Pro. The Type Covers between Surface Pro and Surface Pro X are still different; however, as the devices themselves feature different designs. Perhaps Microsoft is trying to give off the impression that Surface Pro X is “ready for mainstream” with the introduction of new colors and accessories.
Part of the reason why this may be happening is that Microsoft is more confident in the new Surface Pro X’s performance. I’m told it will be shipping with the Microsoft SQ2 processor, which is likely based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen2 with improved performance over last year’s Microsoft SQ1 chip.
App emulation improvements?
I don’t know what exactly Microsoft is going to change with the SQ2 over Qualcomm’s stock offering with the 8cx Gen2, but it will likely follow a similar trend to last year’s chip. Interestingly, I’m also hearing whispers that Microsoft is gearing up to announce x86 64-bit app-emulation, which might enter preview later this year.
If true, the introduction of 64-bit app-emulation will solve the “app problem” that Windows 10 on ARM still has. Some applications are 64-bit only, and right now, Windows 10 on ARM can only emulate 32-bit apps. If Microsoft is ready to preview 64-bit app-emulation, the new Surface Pro X becomes a much more attractive sell, especially if the SQ2 chip is tuned for improved performance with app emulation.
Regarding 5G or other new features, I’ve not heard anything specific. It’s possible, but until I hear something more concrete, I’m going to file other improvements under “unlikely” for now.
I’m told that the new Surface Pro X will arrive in the October timeframe alongside a new sub-$600 12.5-inch Surface Laptop codenamed Sparti, designed for students in the education market. In the meantime, what are your thoughts on Microsoft’s upcoming Surface Pro X refresh? Let us know in the comments.