Microsoft’s Redstone Windows 10 upgrade is landing in two phases. The Anniversary Update will arrive next month, while Redstone 2 (rs2) will be launch in 2017 after being pushed back from a late 2016 roll out. Microsoft was said to be readying new Surface hardware to launch alongside Redstone 2, but new rumors suggest that the company will actually launch hardware after that.
This means customers holding out for a Kaby Lake powered Surface Pro 5 or Surface Book 2 will have to wait a little more than the traditional yearly cycle. ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley broke the news earlier in the year that Microsoft would hold off hardware releases until the launch of Redstone 2.
However, Mary Jo has tapped back into her sources and they tell her Microsoft has changed its plans and will launch new Surface devices in the summer of 2017, after the second Redstone roll out. Needless to say, Foley is about as reputable a source for these kinds of things as you can get, so this is fairly credible information.
While the prolonged wait for a new Surface Pro hybrid is frustrating, it is forgivable considering the Surface Pro 4 is doing good business for Microsoft. It is hardly slouching behind newer products either and remains probably the best Windows 10 2-in-1 on the market.
Sadly the hardware push back means Microsoft’s oft-rumored Surface Phone becomes even more of a mythical handset. Sure, Redmond is said to still be working on the device, but in my experience, the longer a company works on a superphone, the less super it actually is when it launches.
The reason for this is a delayed flagship device usually falls behind in terms of cutting edge hardware. For example, the Surface Phone was rumored to launch this year with all the leading hardware (latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, QHD screen, etc.), which would put it at the top of the market.
Presumably Microsoft is now deep into development on the handset, so changing the hardware wholesale to match the top specs of mid-2017 (newer Snapdragon, possibly more RAM, and better camera) is hard to do so far into development.
Of course, the Surface Phone may not be quite as far along as some reports suggest, which could be a reason why Microsoft is delaying its hardware launches until about a year from now.