UPDATE 4: Paul Thurrott has published a very nice summary of what to expect at tomorrow morning's event. He theorizes that the new Surfaces won't be shipped until Oct. 18 to coincide with the release of Windows 8.1 One bit of news in the article is included almost as a throwaway, although we've never seen it mentioned anywhere: among the peripherals announced tomorrow will be a Type Cover 2 with illuminated keys.
UPDATE 3: Mary Jo Foley reported on today's Windows Weekly #329 with Paul Thurrott that one reliable source has leaked new Surface product pricing. The Surface Pro 2 is rumored to start at $899. The Surface RT will continue to sell for $349, while the new Surface 2 will start at $499, according to Foley.
No word yet on pricing of peripherals.
Yesterday, Foley also broke news of Microsoft's new trade-in program, which extends beyond iOS devices to include Android and Blackberry and offers up to $350 towards the purchase of new Microsoft gear.
The trade-in program works a little awkwardly: you buy your Surface or Windows Phone first, then go to the trade-in site to arrange the sale of your older device. Once your trade-in is accepted, you receive the value in the form of a gift card.
It will be interesting to see whether this program is successful; I personally can't imagine anyone trading in an iPad. However, I looked up the price for my old 16 GB iPhone 4 (which is currently doing duty as a dedicated Internet music player) and was surprised to find I was offered $120 for it.
UPDATE 2: The Verge is reporting that Microsoft has set September 23rd in New York City as the Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2 (formerly RT) launch event date.
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Sorry, the screen size remains the same.
That being said, everything else about the Surface Pro 2 will definitely improve its performance with graphics applications: 4th generation Intel "Haswell" Corei5 rated at 7 hours of battery life, 8 GB RAM option, two position kickstand...
No word on price. I'm guessing something along the lines of the original SP pricing plus another $100 for the additional 4GB of RAM.
So there's definitely still a place for the mythical Samsung ATIV Q or any other Windows 8 tablet with a few inches more of screen real estate.
UPDATE: While I've been busy testing stylus replacements and DVD drives, a couple of new Surface Pro 2-related details have leaked via Neowin.
First, they are reporting that Microsoft will be releasing a new battery-equipped type cover. The optional device will be called a "Power Cover" and will also work with the current generation of Surface Pros, but not the current Surface RT. No specific word on battery time, but we hope it will be enough to allow the SP to make it through an extra long business day. (I've had many a business trip that begins at 7 a.m. on one coast and midnight on another. Nothing worse than a battery dying during the return flight when you're trying to unwind with your favorite movie or tv show.)
The next leak will also be welcome news to business users: the Surface Dock. No word on pricing or availability, but Paul Thurrott reports the following details over at WinSuperSite.com:
Pro only. It will be compatible with Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2, but not Surface RT or Surface 2.
Design. The Docking Station is kind of a hulking device where the Surface Pro/2 slides in at an angle and is held in place with by arms on the side that are pulled out to release the tablet.
Video out. The Surface Docking Station provides a mini DisplayPort port for video-out.
USB. It provides one USB 3.0 port (on the side) and three USB 2.0 ports (on the back).
Networking. The Docking Station features a 1 Gbps Ethernet port.
Other ports. It also includes dedicated microphone and headphone/speaker ports.
All sounds great to me and negates the need for buying the awkward Plugable USB 3 Docking Station.