Chalk this up as a rumor of a rumor. There’s been no confirmation that a Surface Pro 4 is officially going to exist. In addition to the device only being rumored to exist, the potential release date in the second half of 2016 is speculation as well. That being said, there’s enough information here to pique interest and speculate.
Business Korea Magazine and Engadget Japan reported information that Newsburn added insight to. Microsoft and other “high profile tech outfits” have reportedly ordered a large amount of 256 GB SSDs that use Samsung’s NVME technology. SSDs like this can reportedly transfer data at 2 GB/s which is over three times the speed of the Surface Pro 3’s 600 MB/s. This would be a dramatic increase that would differentiate between the Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 4.
There are reportedly 20 million SSDs that are scheduled to be shipped during the second half of 2016 which would push the release of any device running them to later next year.
Rumors surrounding the Surface Pro 4 have ranged from a release accompanying Windows 10 this summer to now a mid to late 2016 release. To be frank we don’t have verification of any of these rumors. What is interesting is the concept behind this idea. If Microsoft is going to release a Surface Pro 4, which many believe that they are, it will have to be substantially better than the Surface Pro 3 which is selling well.
The jump from the Surface Pro 2 to the Surface Pro 3 was dramatic. A different form factor including a larger screen and thinner body, better performance, and a new brand of stylus all made the Surface Pro 3 look and run better than the Surface Pro 2. In fact, one could argue that the success of the 12” Surface Pro 3 paved the way for the Surface 3 being successful because the pro and non pro were more clearly diverged. The form factor may not be the change that separates the rumored Surface Pro 4 from the Surface Pro 3. Though a size change is possible, the biggest change could be internals.
An SSD that is over three times as fast as the previous line would cause heads to turn. Other hardware factors such as a fanless design or the latest Intel chip would make the Surface Pro 4 be a long stride forward rather than a baby step.
In addition to having to take time to develop a substantially better device, Microsoft also could benefit from letting the Surface Pro 3 ride out its success. The Surface Pro 3 is the first Surface product to be roundly revered as a successful product. Cutting it off now while it’s still making money could hurt the line and create fear that products will become obsolete quickly as the often do in the tech world.
On the other hand, Microsoft could use a Surface Pro 4 launch to bolster Windows 10. While the operating system is generating plenty of buzz on its own, having a high end piece of hardware to show it off on would give a finite object to look at when talking about Widows 10. Both a back to school or holiday release in 2015 would give Microsoft a chance to show off Windows 10 while also putting premier hardware out there on the biggest stage.
These SSDs that will ship could of course be for a variety of devices, but since Microsoft doesn’t make a wide variety of PCs themselves, they are likely somehow involved with the Surface line.