Microsoft has sent out invites to an event on 23 September, which looks likely to see the announcement of the next generation of Surface tablets.
Alongside a refresh of both the RT and Pro variants, rumours have been circulating that Microsoft might also unveil an iPad Mini and Nexus 7-rivalling 7in model, although this has received no confirmation from Microsoft.
There is no official word on the specifications of the new tablets, although rumours suggest there will be an upgraded Nvidia Tegra 4 chip in the RT. The Surface Pro looks set to receive an Intel Core i5 processor running on Haswell architecture, which should extend the device's battery life. Furthermore, a battery-wielding Power Cover keyboard is also expected to arrive with the new device range, further extending performance away from power outlets.
The original Surface tablet was announced in June last year, with the low-end Surface RT making its store debut in October alongside the launch of Windows 8. The higher-spec Surface Pro, meanwhile, became available for sale in January 2013, which means that the device may be obsolete less than a year after it first went on sale.
As with any major Microsoft launch, the Surface has come under intense scrutiny while consumer enthusiasm has been limited. Microsoft has cut the price of the Surface RT several times to try to shift the product to stores; it currently costs £279 after originally being pitched at £400. In July, it was reported that Microsoft had been hit by a £900m write-down on RT devices.
Meanwhile it emerged that the Surface Pro, which is currently priced at £639 in the UK – £90 down on its launch price – had only generated $853m in revenue for the company in its first six months on the market.
Microsoft has well and truly confirmed itself as an aspiring player in the mobile hardware market, with its recent buyout of Nokia's mobile division demonstrating a new set of priorities as it tries to make up ground on Apple's and Samsung's mobile and tablet offerings.
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