Rumor: suppliers hint that Microsoft could release a Surface all-in-one in 2016

Laurent Giret

Earlier this week, Microsoft’s Retail Marketing Director Ben Rudolph and Corporate Vice President of Devices Panos Panay hosted a livestream tour of the company’s Surface Lab. The experience has been fascinating as it’s quite unusual for a company as big as Microsoft to open the doors of its secret research centers.

However, those who of you who watched may remember that the Redmond giant took the necessary precautions to hide away all the new products currently in the pipeline, though Panos Panay may have inadvertently revealed the Microsoft Band 2 successor that he was wearing under his sleeve.

But what if Microsoft’s Surface Lab could actually hide a brand new Surface-branded device right now, which would not be a tablet nor the rumored Surface Phone? According to a report from Digitimes today, Redmond could be working with suppliers to build an all-in-one Surface PC that could be released “in the third quarter of 2016 at the earliest”.  The Taiwanese newspaper added:

The Surface AIO PC is apparently an alternative for Microsoft’s second-generation Surface Book, which will be delayed to the first half of 2017 instead of the original schedule set in the second half of 2016 due to delayed shipments of Intel’s Kaby Lake CPUs, said the sources.

Surface Microsoft Employee
Microsoft Surface devices in a Microsoft Store.

As usual, we recommend you to take this report with a large grain of salt. Unsurprisingly, Microsoft has not confirmed the report. We’re not sure that it would make sense for Microsoft to release a Surface-branded all-in-one PC as so far the Surface brand has been dedicated to new product categories: hybrid tablets such as the Surface and Surface Pro detachables, laptops with detachable screens such as the Surface Book (will “laplets” become a thing?), and interactive whiteboards like the Surface Hub. There may be some room left for innovation for all-in-one PCs, but this may not align with Microsoft’s “mobile first” ambition.

Moreover, if you’ve been paying attention, Microsoft has also been emphasizing its Surface docks and Continuum docks as great companions for its mobile Surface devices over the last few months. We think that these complementary accessories that enable a desktop-like experience from a mobile device are probably a more forward-thinking approach, though we could be wrong.

Do you think it makes sense for Microsoft to release an all-in-one PC in 2016? Let us know what you think in the comments below.