Later today, Microsoft is holding a Surface press event and yours truly will be attending. While nothing has been confirmed, many are speculating that we will finally see a "Surface Mini" – a smaller Windows tablet bearing Surface branding.
While that is exciting on its own, further rumours and speculation are predicting a Surface Pro 3 to be unveiled. Again, this is not confirmed, but still, as a Surface fan, a third version of Microsoft's Pro tablet has me giddy. Truth be told, I have been daydreaming about what the Surface Pro 3 could be. Here are my 5 wishes for this tablet…
Bigger screen size
A tablet’s screen size can be a tricky dilemma for manufacturers. If a tablet is too large and heavy, consumers can't enjoy it with one hand. However, if the screen is too small, consumers cannot easily create content. For the most part Apple has brainwashed consumers into wanting a 10in tablet, because that is what the iPad is. As an iPad Air owner, the screen size is fine; however, I often want larger, especially when using it with a keyboard attachment.
And that's the thing – yes, a Surface tablet can be used without a keyboard. However, boy oh boy, does it ever shine with one! Consumers that utilise the Surface as a laptop replacement first and tablet second would benefit from some additional screen real estate, preferably 12in (which fortunately is a size the latest speculation is pointing towards).
Of course, a larger tablet would likely be heavier without downsizing internal components. With that said, Microsoft should not kill the 10in models, but add an additional option of a 12in display. To avoid confusion, it should have a distinct name, such as "Surface Pro 3 Max". If the company does release a Mini-variant, a Max would be a smart move too. Choice is a great thing in this case. Surface Mini, Surface Pro and Surface Max? I like the idea of that.
This is such a no-brainer that I cannot believe it is not yet implemented. The Surface Pro tablets come with a digitiser and stylus that allows the user to draw or write on the screen with great accuracy. Sadly, when it’s not in use, there is no slot in which to put it.
By design, the user is expected to attach it magnetically to the power port. The problem? It can still fall off, plus, where do you put it when charging? Many consumers choose the Surface because it is a compact, self-contained unit. Having a stylus dangling off the side where it can fall off is a ponderous solution. It must be addressed.
Full SD card slot (with door)
Currently, the Surface tablets utilise a microSD card slot for expandability, which can be problematic. First-off, many photographers like to upload photos from their camera using a computer. Most cameras use a full SD card and not the mini-variant. This severely limits the Surface as a photographer's tool. Yes, you can carry a USB card reader, but you shouldn't have to. Since microSD cards can be read on a full-size port with an adapter, it only makes sense to offer the full.
My other issue with the microSD card slot is that it is a spring-loaded slot without a door. If a user intends to keep the card in all the time and use it for saving files, it is not safe. While the slot feels secure and I've yet to have my card fall out, it makes me nervous. If a user has sensitive data on the card (which is not a recommend practice) and it falls out of the tablet, it might be disastrous. Microsoft should consider adding a door that can secure the card in place without worry.
When you first see the Surface charger, it seems very neat; and it is. It connects by a magnet and lights up, so the user knows it is connected. Sadly, getting it connected can be frustrating. It is on a slight angle that causes many users to fiddle with the thing before it properly seats. Not a huge deal, but charging a device should require almost no focus. While the concept is great, the design needs to be tweaked so that is it is perfect.
This affects all Windows tablets, not only the Surface models. However, it affects Microsoft's tablets more from a reputation perspective. When the company launched Windows 8, the failure to offer a Modern UI version of Office was a huge faux pas. But, when the company launched its own tablet without it, it was a disaster. For a third generation of the Surface Pro to launch without a touch-optimised Modern UI Office would be a disgrace. Rumours of its release have been rumbling, so maybe we will see it revealed today, but Microsoft is mum on that.
No one outside of Microsoft knows for sure what the future holds for the Surface Pro 3. Again, we don't even know if it will be announced for certain. However, Microsoft has been making some fabulous moves lately and it is quite impressive that it has managed to get consumers excited about the Surface line. While many pundits were in the middle of writing Microsoft's obituary, something crazy happened – the company is cool again.
What do you think Microsoft will announce later today? Tell me in the comments.