Microsoft Surface Pro 10, Surface Laptop 6 new hardware in old designs

The software company best known for the Windows operating system and the Office productivity suite hasn’t had the best of luck when it comes to hardware. Aside from the Xbox console, which is practically a separate business, most of Microsoft’s hardware products have either ended in failure or were short-lived. The Zune media player and Windows Phone devices quickly come to mind, and the dual-screen Surface Duo phone is just the most recent example. That’s why it’s almost a bit of a miracle that its Surface brand is still going, though it isn’t free from speculations about its pending doom. After more than a year and a half, Microsoft is finally updating its 2-in-1 tablet and traditional laptop devices, but both have one big reason they might not achieve much fame or adoption.

Designer: Microsoft

It’s arguable that the Microsoft Surface Pro popularized the 2-in-1 laptop design, especially one with a built-in kickstand and a cover that functions as a keyboard. Although the first ARM-based non-Pro Surface tablet flopped for other reasons, it seemed that Microsoft hit a gold mine with the Surface Pro to the point that it created a whole product line around the Surface brand. That family now includes an all-in-one Surface Studio desktop, a traditional Surface Laptop, and a Surface Studio Laptop that’s like a cross of those two.

Perhaps due to that success, Microsoft is a bit wary of changing the formula too much, especially when it comes to design. It was only recently that the Surface Pro shed off its thick bezels, but little has changed since then. In fact, the new Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6 would be dead ringers for their 2022 predecessors. Yes, there are upgrades, thankfully, but the majority can be found inside, like the new Intel Core Ultra processors that equip the portable computers with AI capabilities.

There are some notable improvements in other areas as well, particularly when it comes to accessibility and sustainability. The Microsoft Surface Type Cover, for example, now uses bolder fonts and brighter backlight to make keys easier to see and reduce eye strain. Microsoft also boasts that these two new devices contain the most recycled content it has ever included in its computers, a minimum of 25.8% recycled content for the Surface Laptop 6 enclosure and a minimum of 72% of the same for the Surface Pro 10.

But that lack of notable design changes isn’t what stops these two new products from becoming Microsoft’s big stars. These will only be available to business and commercial customers, which means most people won’t be able to buy them off shelves. Granted, the commercial segment might be more consistent in its buying capacity, but that still leaves out a huge chunk of potential sales. Rumor has it that Microsoft is planning a consumer Surface computer that’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip, the same kind of processor that runs on powerful smartphones. But considering its luck with Windows running on that platform, it remains to be seen if it will finally be able to shake off that curse.