Microsoft is planning to hold what it's described as a "special event" in New York City on September 21. The company has given no indication of just what to expect from the event and, for now, at least, those who have been invited know nothing about the announcements that will be made. But based on recent rumors and its typical launch schedule, we can make some pretty good educated guesses.
The invitations that have been sent out are very secretive, bearing the promise that there will be "more details to follow." But although Microsoft is keeping its cards close to its chest, there have been plenty of clues in recent months about what's likely to feature.
This is the time of year that Microsoft usually announces new Surface hardware, and it's hard to imagine that various new and updated devices from the range won't play a major role. Microsoft, like just about every tech firm, has made big investments in artificial intelligence, and there will almost certainly be numerous AI-related announcements, too.
The as-yet-unnamed event may not be too far away, but if the sense of anticipation is just too much for you to stand, join us as we take a look at what Microsoft is likely to unveil.
1. Surface Laptop Studio 2
It's approaching two years since the original Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio emerged, so it could be argued that an update is not so much due as well overdue. There have already been various rumors suggesting that Microsoft has been working on the successor for a while, and leaked benchmarks hint at some seriously impressive hardware, particularly on the graphics front.
If the leaks are to be believed – and there's not really any reason to disbelieve them – the Surface Laptop Studio 2 will be powered by a 13th generation Intel Core i7-13800H processor and there will be 64GB of DDR5 SDRAM.
While such hardware enhancements are certainly welcome, it is hard to imagine that there will be many surprises with the Surface Laptop Studio 2. It is safe to assume that this will be a textbook case of evolution rather than revolution, but this is not necessarily a bad thing.
Microsoft will be keen not to make any missteps with the Surface Laptop Studio 2, so a pleasingly beefed-up version of the debut model is likely to be what's on offer.
2. Surface Pro 10
While we already have the Microsoft Surface Pro X, we're still waiting for the Surface Pro 10. The latest addition to the Surface Pro family is usually released in October, so it would be unusual if the same didn't happen this year. Additionally, an October release date would tie in nicely with this September's event. But what can we expect from the device?
We're predicting that Microsoft will unveil two models of Surface Pro 10 – a familiar 13-inch version, and a more portable 11-inch edition. The smaller version will make it easier to treat the Surface Pro more as a tablet than its larger sibling, and this is something that holds a great deal of appeal.
Choice is always a good thing, so having two versions of the Surface Pro 10 to pick between will keep many people happy, particularly as a smaller model will (presumably) be a little cheaper.
We're not expecting anything major in the way of changes to design, but inside a 13th-generation Intel chip is likely to be hard at work. In addition to faster, better-specced internals, there's a good chance that the keyboard will also get something of an upgrade, too.
3. Surface Go 4
A refresh of the Surface Go 2-in-1 is almost certain to make an appearance at the event, and there has already been something of a bumpy journey to the arrival of the successor to the Surface Go 3.
Earlier in the year, Microsoft decided to postpone launching an ARM-based Surface Go (and it is worth reiterating that this is a postponement rather than a cancellation... for now, at least) but that doesn't mean a lengthy wait for a new device.
An updated Intel-powered Surface Go device is expected, in the meantime but it's unclear as to whether this with be a Surface Go 4, or a Surface Go 3 Plus – the precedent was set with the Surface Pro 7 Plus, after all.
The chip is likely to be an N200, helping to keep costs down. This is an important factor at the Surface Go is very much aimed at education and business environment where budgets are likely to be limited.
4. Surface Laptop Go 3
For anyone who prefers a more traditional laptop rather than a 2-in-1, there should be some good news in the form of the Surface Laptop Go 3.
While an update to the line, complete with higher specifications, is to be welcomed, a better-equipped entry-level model is likely to mean something of a price hike. Just how much of an increase we're talking about remains to seen, but we can expect to see the base RAM jump from 4GB to 8GB, and the 128GB SSD is also expected to double in size.
An Intel 12th-Gen Intel Core i5 will be at the heart of the Surface Laptop Go 3. This may not be a top-of-the line processor, but it's more than capable. And by opting for a chip of this generation, Microsoft should be able to avoid having to implement a price hike – so that's good news for buyers' pockets.
As with some of the other expected announcements, the Surface Laptop Go 3 should be viewed as a minor refresh to the product line. It may not be a particularly exciting upgrade for existing version 2 owners, but for first-timers there is a lot of appeal.
5. Surface brand accessories
Having decided to ditch Microsoft-branded accessories earlier in the year, the company indicated an intention to focus on the Surface brand.
While nothing has been confirmed or even strongly rumored as yet, it would not be surprising if we see a range of Surface-branded accessories announced. This could include everything from mice and keyboards to webcams, and it will be interesting to see what approach Microsoft takes here.
Will we see old favorites re-released with a new Surface badge slapped on them, or will we instead be treated to a completely new range of accessories and peripherals that have been designed from scratch? With the Surface range now covering everything from cheap, entry-level hardware to absolutely top-of-the-range kit, Microsoft has given itself massive leeway to release a wide range of accessories with the new branding.
Moving away from hardware, Microsoft is likely to give software more than just a passing mention at its September event.
At the moment, just about every piece of software seems to be receiving an AI overhaul, or an AI add-on, and Windows is no different. Having already firmly embraced artificial intelligence with Bing AI and various other products, Microsoft has been working on its AI assistant for Windows – called Windows Copoilot – for a while now.
Testers have been granted access to early versions of Windows Copilot, with Microsoft promising that the tool will "transform the way you interact with Windows." We have already seen hints of what Windows Copilot is capable of, but Microsoft has huge plans for this next-generation assistant. We can look forward to finding out much more about what is on the horizon as the march of artificial intelligence continues unabated.
It is clear that Microsoft is looking to make Copilot as useful as possible to as wide a range of people as possible. It isn't being tailored to any particular purpose, with the aim being to simply make everything easier. And the focus will be on ease of use, with Microsoft offering a shallow learning curve as Copilot lets users communicate with it in natural language rather than having to learn specific commands and syntax.
Want to summarize the document you are reading and paste it into a Word document? Just ask Copilot to do exactly that. The beauty of Copilot is that it works across Windows and the apps you are running, as well as being internet-aware. Expect Microsoft to make the most of this and to talk about it in a big way.
7. Windows 11 23H2
The existence of the Windows Insider program means that we get to learn about many new features and changes well ahead of a general rollout to everyone. The next big update for Windows 11 has already been made available to testers, so there are no surprises to look forward to for anyone who has been keeping abreast of Windows-related news.
At this special September event, Microsoft is not only likely to publicly advertise all of the new features added to Windows 11 by the next major update – dubbed Windows 11 23H2 – but, importantly, reveal just when it is going to be released to everyone. We are expecting an October release date, but this is yet to be confirmed.
We're already expecting Microsoft to talk about Copilot, and this is a key component of Windows 11 23H2, but there's a lot more. We'll learn about support for more archive formats such as .rar files, significant updates to the Explorer app, and much-requested features such as the ability to ungroup taskbar buttons. Other changes and additions that will be showcased include Windows 11 gaining built-in support for controlling RGB lighting, and a new volume mixer.
Many people tuning into or attending the event will already know about all of these things, but bringing them to a wider audience is the start of Microsoft building up the hype and excitement for Windows 11 23H2.