- Microsoft (MSFT +1.2%) had already suggested new Surface models would launch this year, but their arrival dates had remained a question mark.
- First-gen Surface sales have underwhelmed, particularly for the ARM-based Surface RT. FY13 (ended in June) Surface sales only amounted to $853M, and Microsoft took a $900M Surface RT inventory charge in the June quarter.
- The rumor mill indicates the Surface Pro 2 will have an Intel Haswell CPU, better battery life, an adjustable kickstand, and up to 8GB of RAM. The second-gen RT model will reportedly have a better display (1080p) and improved battery life. Both models are expected to offer new Power Cover (keyboard with built-in battery) and docking station accessories.
- But more than any hardware improvements, the consumer reaction to the software improvements delivered by Windows 8.1 could determine whether the new Surface models fare better than their predecessors.
- With OEM partners largely turning their backs on Windows RT in the face of weak demand, Microsoft could soon have the RT tablet market mostly to itself.