This week Microsoft will put the finishing touches on a very busy month with a launch event in Shanghai, China tomorrow - 23 May 2017.
The busy month for Microsoft began in New York City with the companies big education focused event that included the announcement of Windows 10 S, free Office 365 for Education, the new Surface Laptop, and other software and services for that sector.
Then just a couple of weeks later, the company hosted their annual developer focused conference, Build 2017, in their own backyard in downtown Seattle. During over 5 hours of keynotes we heard about new Azure services, the Microsoft Fluent Design Language, the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, and several new development tools that will make Windows the center of a users ecosystem.
In between those two events we learned that Microsoft would be hosting some type of event in Shanghai, China later in the month, that date is tomorrow as mentioned above, and we now have a very good idea of what that event will be all about.
First, lets's talk time and how to keep an eye on the 90 minute event.
Just a short while ago, Microsoft published this placeholder on the official Windows Blog as the apparent location for updates about the event in Shanghai. Note: There is also this event page that will likely have additional content relating to the event when it goes live and several reports indicate there will be a live stream of the event hosted on that page.
According to the blog post at the Windows Blog, the Shanghai event will happen from 4:00 AM to 5:30 AM Pacific Time. That translates to 7:00 AM to 8:30 AM here on Eastern Time which is really quite respectable and much better than what I thought it could have been. I know that also means it will be inconvenient for many of you but you can translate that time in your own local time zone using this link just so you have the time sorted out.
Of course, the other place to watch is social media and according to the event homepage the hashtag will be #MicrosoftEvent so you can keep an eye on that for myself and others to be discussing the announcement as it happens.
So that is timing and how to track the event sorted out so now let's talk about what to expect.
During Build details were discovered that showed HoloLens would launch in China on 24 May 2017 so the timing of this event is such that we expect to hear about HoloLens and its arrival there. There were some good demos at Build 2017 along with hands on time across the Build Hub and Showfloor with not only HoloLens but also the Acer Head Mounted Device (HMD) for virtual reality. I think we will of course see an appropriate demo of HoloLens for sure and possibly the Chinese OEM 3Glasses and their Windows Mixed Reality HMD's.
We have known there would be a Surface related element to this event shortly after it was announced because Panos Panay, the man in charge of building devices from the Surface hardware line, shared a link to the event and used the #Surface hashtag as well on Twitter. That is a near 100% guarantee that Surface hardware was going to be involved.
Then late last week, infamous tech leaker Evan Blass, published images over on VentureBeat that showed off what he described as a Surface Pro 4 refresh that would have updated internals and maintain the same outward appearance of its predecessor that was released in late 2015. He did indicate that this refresh would also include new Surface Pen's and keyboards.
Then to add further confirmation to those two items above, Panay tweeted the following image from onsite in Shanghai:
As you can see there would seem to be four new Surface Pro keyboard accessories launching and they appear to be in similar colors to the Surface Laptop options that were launched earlier in the month.
If the new colors are coming for keyboards as shown in Panay's tweet and include the new colored Surface Pen's that Blass showed in his article then I have a bold prediction for this hardware launch.
What if they launch updated Surface Pro devices but they are made available in the same color schemes as the Surface Laptop?
Tune in tomorrow, follow me here on Twitter, and we can discover what happens together.