This has been a pretty good month for Surface fans so far. In two separate events, Microsoft announced a first Surface Laptop and then the successor to the Surface Pro 4, which is simply called “Surface Pro.” Both devices will start shipping on June 15, and we expect them to sell pretty well.
Beyond the obvious form factor difference, it’s worth reminding that both products are not really targeted at the same audience: during its education-themed event earlier this month, Microsoft made it clear that the Surface Laptop was the perfect laptop for college students. Unlike the new Surface Pro, the Surface Laptop also runs Windows 10 S, a locked-down version of Windows 10 that can only run Windows Store apps (Microsoft is offering a free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro through the end of the year though).
As Surface Pro devices have always shipped with the “Pro” version of Windows, it would have been surprising to see the new hybrid tablet come with Windows 10 S. But as a matter of fact, Microsoft is actually planning to give more options to consumers wanting to purchase a Surface Laptop or the new Surface Pro. Speaking with Techcrunch, Microsoft exec Yusuf Medhi shared that the company will soon offerWindows 10 and Windows 10 S options for both devices (please note that the Surface Book mention in the quote is apparently a mistake, this is about the new Surface Pro. The Windows 10 S option for the hybrid tablet was also mentioned today by Thurrot.com).
Mehdi assures me that a full Windows 10 version of the Surface Laptop is on the way. And likewise, a Windows 10 S version of the Surface Book* is in the planning stages. No concrete dates yet, but it’s coming.
It remains to be seen if the different Windows 10 SKUs could bring some pricing differences. Windows 10 S versions of the new Surface Pro would likely be cheaper than the Windows 10 Pro models, and consumers who want to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro would still be able to do so (at an acceptable cost) if they want to. Anyway, Microsoft is probably right to give more choice to consumers, as we still don’t know yet if Windows 10 S will be well received by Surface enthusiasts.