Microsoft patent hints at redesigned Surface Pro with a thinner keyboard

A new Surface Pro design is rumored for 2019

Microsoft patent hints at redesigned Surface Pro with a thinner keyboard

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Microsoft has filed a patent for a Surface Pro Type Cover redesign that would potentially make it thinner. Spotted by WindowsUnited, the patent includes details about cutting or etching the Surface Pro keyboard to create a thinner version. Microsoft also appears to be exploring integrating the trackpad directly into the circuit board used for the keyboard.

Microsoft used to sell a Surface Pro Touch Cover, with a thinner profile and fabric keys, but the company has been largely focused on tweaking its Surface keyboard in recent years. The keyboard has been tweaked with minor improvements through the Surface Pro 4 to Surface Pro 6, and older type covers still work on modern devices.

Microsoft patent hints at redesigned Surface Pro with a thinner keyboard

A thinner design for the keyboard would fit with rumors that Microsoft will heavily redesign its next Surface Pro. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that the company is experimenting with models that include USB-C, thinner screen bezels, and a more rounded design like the Surface Go. Microsoft is expected to launch this new Surface Pro by the end of 2019.

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Having had a surface pro 4 since it came out, for me the issue was never the thickness of the keyboard :/. USB C sounds great though, and thinner bezels. What really needs improvement is Windows 10 UI with touch. Still very much behind everyone else.

By _smartz on 11.27.18 9:07am

who is everyone else and how is W10 behind…. MacOS does not even support touch…and one can’t really fairly compare a mobile OS with a full desktop OS like W10

By FilthPig on 11.27.18 9:12am

Well, in all fairness win10 in tablet mode is so limited there is barely any functionality for using it as a tablet.

For example the keyboard rarely pops up when I tap on an input field, the word suggestions are never even close to what I need, the swift typing rarely works, I really wish they implemented a lenovo like joystick on the virtual keyboard to help move a cursor around (like they did on windows phone.) Not to mention the fact that majority of the time the keyboard doesnt push windows up it just covers them including the input field I’m trying to type in.

In retrospect these are all pain points that don’t even require a lot of reworking from a development standpoint.

Win 8.1 had really good tablet functionality and I miss it tremendously when I am using my surface in tablet mode. I just wish they brought some of those features back!

By cdm89 on 11.27.18 9:42am

For me keyboard pops-up 100% of time. At least in last 2 years, there were some issues with older W10 versions.

As for tablet friendliness, office and edge are perfect. File explorer is ok but needs some work. General UI is perfect. Old third party apps not so much, the new UWP VLC on Store is outstanding.

By Lonsargg on 11.27.18 12:29pm

I respectfully disagree….I think it depends a lot on what apps you’re using…..personally I’m using my Surface Pro in tablet mode with the pen more than I am in desktop mode with the keyboard

By FilthPig on 11.27.18 12:32pm

I think it really depends on what you’re working on i guess, I do find using the pen much better for sure but I feel like I should also be able to use my finger just as well…as for the keyboard I am working off of a sp3 so maybe that’s why i have keyboard issues? but i don’t think the hardware should matter that much its an i7 with 8gb ram. and yea maybe it pops up more often than it use to but there are a lot of other features they can add/ reintroduce from win8.1 that would make it a lot more functional

By cdm89 on 11.27.18 1:25pm

For whatever reason, Microsoft the option to "show the touch keyboard when not in tablet mode and there’s no keyboard attached" turned off. If you turn this on, tapping text boxes will almost always show the touch keyboard. I don’t know why they don’t have it on by default. The way tablet mode is designed, I prefer to have Windows 10 in desktop mode and then touch the screen. But because non-Windows 10 apps don’t cause the touch keyboard to appear when tapping text boxes, I would have to switch to tablet mode just so I can tap the box. Even in tablet mode with non-Windows 10 apps, tapping the box didn’t cause the keyboard to appear. So this option pretty much guarantees that the keyboard appears when tapping a text field.

By dirtyvu on 11.27.18 6:17pm

Why even bring up MacOS? Windows 8 was more functional for tablets than the current Windows 10 tablet mode. They can start there if they need some direction.

By Darkness690 on 11.27.18 10:34am

Windows 8 was headed in the right direction on the touch side, but everyone complained, forcing them to change course somewhat.

They lacked the courage of removing that start button and keeping it that way, too.

By NewWorldOrder on 11.27.18 1:11pm

While I think Windows 8 was a breath of fresh air, it really isn’t better than Windows 10 for touch. The only thing that was arguably better was the Start menu, but in tablet mode it’s largely the same (full screen). Outside of that, I can’t think of a single thing it did better, for touch or not.

By BausFight on 11.27.18 1:23pm

I would say that MacOS wisely doesn’t support touch. Can you imagine how badly it would work trying to hit the red/yellow/green lights? They’re tiny to begin with… and that’s just the windows of the programs themselves, ignoring everything else that has small pointer hooks.

Windows has much larger buttons since 8 for those same functions… there are other things that would make life easier on touch for Windows, but it’s already miles and miles ahead. The on-screen keyboard getting some love would be a good start that would go a long way.

By BulletTooth_Tony on 11.27.18 11:12am

Of course we can compare, Apple has positioned the iPad pro as a ‘computer’ replacement and Microsoft positions the Surface as a tablet despite both lacking somewhat in those specific areas (being especially kind to the iPad), that’s why they so often get compared regardless of how appropriate.

The changes mentioned above are things which improve the area it’s weakest (as a tablet) yet until they better tackle the UI and the lack of quality apps in the store it’ll always come up short when compared to something designed solely as a tablet.

I’m personally OK with that, I’ve owned a few different versions of the Surface, I feel comfortable in what it does well but eventually someone is going to better combine the two and that could leave the current design feeling as outdated as the earliest Windows tablets do now.

By Series on 11.27.18 2:06pm

I see this complaint constantly, but no one ever explains exactly what Windows 10 needs to not be "behind in touch". I’ve seen reports of the on screen keyboard not activating when it should, but that’s more of a bug fix than a design issue. I’m all for improvements to tablet mode, but I use it constantly and don’t really have any problems with it. The only problem is the fact that developers have completely ignored the touch-centric UWP. Heck, Microsoft has mostly ignored UWP.

By pallentx on 11.27.18 9:47am

Ready to buy

By Darwm on 11.27.18 9:30am

Hinting at next Surface Pro right after announcing the current one when all we ask for is really Surface Book 3

By Homidjohn on 11.27.18 9:38am

A Surface Book 3 with a new hinge design to eliminate the gap would be awesome.

By captobie on 11.27.18 10:21am

that would be too much to ask for, realistically speaking…

But putting USB-C on the tablet part, properly place the headphone jack, ARM, and a not-too-expensive LTE model would be more than enough!

By Homidjohn on 11.27.18 10:47am

For the folks who actually draw on the SB at their desk though, the gap is a positive. I don’t think they’re going to get rid of it for that reason.

By Polycrastinator on 11.27.18 11:41am

they are really getting better at getting better

By Mr.Mulderfox on 11.27.18 10:07am

Really excited to see what Microsoft unveils. I’m ready to upgrade my SP4 and was disappointed that they didn’t have a big refresh this year.

By captobie on 11.27.18 10:19am

I am so tired of this quest for thin, when it virtually always comes at the expense of durability, reparability or longevity (battery or otherwise).

My probably $2500 investment in a Surface Pro and related accessories was basically wasted when the battery charging circuitry failed just out of warranty. I’m attempting to repair it myself, but the absurd amount and unnecessary strength of the adhesives used to hold the device together is simply appalling. It’s impossible to conclude anything other than these things are being designed specifically to make repairs difficult to impossible, turning them into throw-away commodity devices.

That would be fine (outside a very legitimate waste argument), but for the fact that the prices are in decidedly premium territory. We’ve all been brainwashed into believing that thinness and slick design equals quality when, in fact, we’re spending exorbitant amounts of our hard-earned money on mass produced crap designed to fail and be thrown away every 1 to 2 years.

I, for one, am done with it, and the Surface brand is pretty much dead to me. As the saying goes, it’s hard to earn trust and easy to loose it. Can’t wait until corporations regain an understanding of that.

By Npco543 on 11.27.18 10:30am

Have you attempted to contact Microsoft? I’ve had them fix or replace out of warranty products in the past.

By Darkness690 on 11.27.18 10:37am

I can’t believe you spent $2500 on Surface… LOL… LOL!!~!!!!!

By AlanTuringsGhost on 11.27.18 1:58pm


By IamDefiler on 11.27.18 10:34am

Quality software please.

By AlanTuringsGhost on 11.27.18 1:55pm

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