Intel Kaby Lake, 4K screen and new Surface Pen expected
The Surface Pro 4 has impressed despite a troubled launch, and a follow-up is definitely on the cards. The only question surrounding Microsoft's next tablet is when.
The biggest revelation to-date comes courtesy of MobiPicker, which cited manufacturing sources in China in shedding some light on the expected specs.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 5 will use Intel's 7th-generation Kaby Lake processors, which improve on the current-generation Skylake chips in terms of power efficiency and therefore battery life.
The Kaby Lake CPU also means even faster integrated graphics chips as standard, so expect an upgrade to the Iris GPU.
The Surface Pro 5 won't have impressive 4K visuals as standard, but they will be offered as an option. The Surface Pro 4 currently ships with a 2K display, which will remain a staple of the base model.
There are also whispers of the new Nvidia Pascal or AMD Polaris GPUs making an appearance, but these dedicated GPU offerings will come at a premium.
Microsoft's Surface Pen is reportedly getting an upgrade to support wireless charging with the introduction of a replaceable battery. Patently Mobile recently showed a patent that points to such an innovation.
We could also see USB Type-C (rather than USB 3.0 on the current Surface Pro 4) and better camera technology.
Windows 10 Redstone 2
It's also been suggested that a new Surface Pro will launch only after the next major update to Windows 10. The Windows 10 Anniversary Update lands on 2 August, but a second, codenamed Redstone 2, is expected to arrive in spring 2017.
The Surface Pro 4 was launched in October 2015, which has led eagle-eyed commentators to perhaps read too much into the recent Surface Pro 4 price reductions.
A photo taken at Microsoft's Building 88 in Redmond seems to suggest that a new Surface-branded product will arrive before the end of the year, but it just might not be the one we expected.
This image points to one Surface device in 2016 and three in 2017.
We were led to believe at Computex in May that production of the new Kaby Lake processors would begin by the end of the quarter. However, a consumer roadmap seen in leaks implies that the first Kaby Lake-powered devices will break cover in 2017.
So any Surface devices introduced before the end of this year will not feature Intel's next-generation CPU, suggesting that the next Surface will be an incremental upgrade rather that a completely new machine.
Microsoft officials have also been quoted as saying that manufacturing of the Surface 3 family will cease in December. If true it's highly likely that another range will take its place.
We can once again expect a range of configuration options with the Surface Pro 5, with i7 and 16GB RAM combinations sitting at the top end. Prices should start as low as £749 if Microsoft sticks with the entry-level i3.