Microsoft is working on a new design of its Surface Pro, expected to debut later this year. While the Surface Pro design hasn’t largely changed since the Surface Pro 4, Microsoft is expected to trim the display bezels, add a USB-C port, and make the next Surface Pro design a little more rounded like the Surface Go. We’ve seen a patent that hints at a thinner Surface keyboard, and now one has appeared that shows a Surface Pro with a USB-C port and a new Type Cover model.
Spotted by Windows United, the new patent details how Microsoft plans to use magnets to prevent the Surface Type Cover from flapping around when it’s not in use. You currently fold the keyboard under the device to use it as a tablet, and it’s held in place simply by how you grip the device. Microsoft is proposing to hold the Type Cover in place under the device with magnets, similar to how the company uses. Presumably, this would also work when the Surface Pro is closed the other way so it can’t easily open in a bag.
The patent might be all about magnets, but it has some far more interesting hints included in it about the future of the Surface Pro. Microsoft appears to be altering the port selection on its Surface Pro, and if you look closely at the image above you’ll notice there’s a new USB-C port on the side, alongside the regular USB-A and Mini DisplayPort. If you squint a little more, you can see that Microsoft has also moved the headphone jack down to the bottom, and adjusted the tab you use to access the kick stand.
The most interesting part of these patent images is that there’s no Surface Connect port on this particular device. That could suggest that Microsoft is preparing to break from its magnetic charger to push towards USB-C charging for its Surface line. Microsoft has been notoriously cautious about adopting USB-C, and in particular about removing ports like the Mini DisplayPort. “The last thing I want is to take away the port they need today and tomorrow and the next day, to achieve a technology milestone where I then put a barrier in front of my customers,” said Surface chief Panos Panay during the launch of the Surface Pro 5 back in 2017.
If Microsoft is truly ditching the Surface Connect then it makes way for the company to move to USB-C and ThunderBolt 3. Microsoft’s proprietary Surface Connect was never built with ThunderBolt 3 in mind, and it’s even limited to a maximum of 120 watts that caused some issues for the Surface Book 2. Microsoft might not fully ditch the idea of magnetic attaching charges like Apple did for its USB-C charging. A previous patent hinted at a USB-C Surface charger with magnets.