Microsoft irked Surface Pro customers by not including a USB-C Surface Connector in its newest devices. It was easy to assume the company was holding back for the release of the Surface Pro 5. However, Microsoft says they are sure about the user experience of such a port. That means USB-C compatibility could be missing from future Surface's too.
While Microsoft will persist with its own Surface Connector, the company could be working on something to appease those yearning for USB-C ports.
A patent filed by Jan Raken, Director of Surface Design for Microsoft, shows that the company is working on a connector that will hook to the Surface port on one end and USB-C on the other. Yes, an adaptor in other words.
The device will carry the magnetic connection of the Surface Connector. However, these would also be some drawbacks if the patent is released as a product. For example, it will only support USB 2 speeds, which is a two-generation gap.
We guess as long as it supports solid charging speeds, many users would overlook that shortcoming. That said, the female side of the new connector should be fully USB-C compatible.
Still, I am unsure this would satisfy users. Is this an optimal approach to solving customer criticism? I am not so sure. While many Surface users want USB-C, there are also many who want full Thunderbolt 3 support.
As always, it is worth mentioning that this is just a patent. There is no hard evidence to suggest Microsoft will ever turn this into a reality. It was filed in 2016, so it could be the company has known for some time it will not adopt USB-C anytime soon.
Despite recently launching the Surface Pro, the device feels like a stop gap. That's exactly what it is, of course, a beefed-up Surface Pro 4. It is not the Surface Pro 5 that we all want to see. Microsoft will still likely drop that product later in the year. Perhaps the company will have something to say about the connector debate then.
If we were betting, our money would not go on Microsoft ever releasing this connector.