Microsoft sets Oct. 6 as likely intro of Surface Pro 4

Will webcast Windows 10 device-centric event

Microsoft today sent invitations to analysts and the press for an Oct. 6 event in New York City where it's expected to unveil the next-generation Surface Pro.

"We have some exciting news to share about Windows 10 devices," the invitation read.

Microsoft will also live-stream the briefing to the general public, a company spokeswoman confirmed.

While the invitation was cryptic -- a common tactic by technology companies for such events -- most anticipate that Microsoft will reveal a successor to the Surface Pro 3, which at 15 months since its on-sale debut, is due for a refresh.

According to Microsoft watchers like Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet and Tom Warren of The Verge, the Redmond, Wash. company will also tout new Lumia-branded flagship smartphones, the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, making good on a promise by CEO Satya Nadella to continue to compete in limited areas of the handset market.

Because of the Surface Pro 3's success -- it has been the best-selling of the company's tablets-slash-notebooks going back to 2012 -- the main event for most will be an update to the 2-in-1. Little information has leaked about a possible Surface Pro 4, signaling that the unit has not yet entered widespread production. (Most hardware leaks originate from the Asian supply chain that manufactures devices like the iPhone and Surface Pro.)

Nor has Microsoft said much about a fourth iteration of Pro.

Eleven months ago, Microsoft did reiterate its commitment to the line -- perhaps triggered by questions after Nadella reworked the company's strategy, dropping the "devices and services" mantra of his predecessor, Steve Ballmer -- by promising "We are here to stay," and backing that up with a pledge that then-current accessories, like the docking station and detachable keyboards, would be compatible "with the next generation of the 'Pro' line of Surface."

More recently, some analysts wondered whether this month's announcement of a partnership with Dell, which next month will start selling the Surface Pro, hinted that Microsoft might exit the hybrid market. Next month's event, if it does include a Surface Pro 4, would put an end to that talk.

The Windows 10 device webcast will be viewable from Microsoft's site on Oct. 6 starting at 10 a.m. ET.

MSFT Win 10 event Microsoft

Microsoft's invitation to the Oct. 6 Windows 10 hardware briefing didn't actually say, 'Surface Pro 4,' but that's the expected top draw.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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