In terms of themes, the Surface Pro and the iPad Pro have been nearly equal, both advertising the ultimate computing portability. The similarities end there, however, with Apple’s slate taking the lead in battery life, connectivity, and even weight and thickness. At the mercy of Intel’s chips, Microsoft has never been able to scale the Surface line to an iPad-like size and experience. That may very well change with the rumored ARM-based Surface 7 but it remains to be seen if Microsoft can pull it off after a third try.
Windows, at least past Windows CE, and ARM have never been great friends. From the Nokia Lumia 2520 to the first two non-Pro Surfaces, Microsoft’s Windows RT platform hasn’t been warmly received in both sales and reviews. Windows and the market has grown since then and perhaps Microsoft has discerned it’s time for another stab at it.
According to FrAndroid’s source, this ARM-based Surface, codenamed “Campus” will be launched as the Surface 7 and will take on the iPad Pro more directly, including in appearance. Gone are the wide bezels the Surface line has been known for, save for the top bezel for the camera and bottom bezel for the keyboard. Additionally, this ARM-tablet will ditch all the usual Surface connectors save for on USB-C port, pretty much like all the other modern tablets in the market.
In comparison, the Surface Pro 7 “Harper” has fewer external changes, though it does ditch the MiniDisplay port and only that port for a USB-C one while keeping the Surface Connect and USB-A port. The Surface Laptop 3, as already leaked before, will have a 15-inch model, some of which may even run on an AMD CPU for the first time.
Undoubtedly, the ARM Surface devices will be interesting but also worrying given Microsoft’s history. The expectations will probably be the same, that a Windows 10 on ARM would have access to the platform’s most popular software without being bogged down by performance issues. Whether Microsoft has finally achieved that holy grail, we’ll find out in a few days.