It’s less than 12 hours before Microsoft’s big Surface even and the rumors and leaks have already piled up to excite both fans and curious onlookers. But moving away from the Surface devices themselves for a moment, we’re also hearing word, or rather seeing a picture, of one of the brand’s key accessories. If those rumors are correct, we might finally see a Surface Pen that charges wirelessly. But if this latest tidbit is also correct, it’s going to be a controversial change nonetheless.
Right from the start, the Surface Pen, which used and inherited technology from N-Trig, was already the odd one out. Unlike Wacom’s styluses, which is also used on both phones and tablet PCs, the Surface Pen required and active electrical charge to function. But unlike Apple’s Pencil, it actually used replaceable batteries to do so rather than having a built-in one that just required recharging.
That system proved to be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, downtime is as short as swapping out batteries and you barely need to worry about charging since the batteries can last for months, even years. On the other hand, you do have to mind carrying not so common AAAA batteries with you all the time rather than simply plugging or attaching the stylus.
Recent rumors and patents suggest that Microsoft is moving towards a new system that resembled the Apple Pencil 2 and the Galaxy Tab S6’s new S Pen. That is, the stylus would charge wirelessly through a magnetic connection. This latest leak, however, shows that, instead of attaching to a tablet, the Surface Pen would have to be put inside a charging cradle that itself is plugged somewhere via USB-C.
The source doesn’t exactly say if it’s the only way to charge the new Surface Pen or if it’s an additional way only. If it’s the former, it will make some wish that Microsoft never changed it in the first place.