A bit of rumor I gleaned a couple days ago and subsequently posted AS A RUMOR on Twitter has blossomed into a full-blown story in some places. Like the news confirmed about the Microsoft Band 2, the news originated with a Best Buy source and after a follow-up, Microsoft has also confirmed this latest rumor.
The initial statement from a Best Buy source told of how the Surface 3 (not the PRO) was in the midst of shortly being removed from Best Buy shelves. This piece was not a rumor – this was actually happening. The rumor piece was that the Surface 3 would eventually be replaced by a Surface 4, and new Surface devices might start being available in varying colors instead of the stark, bland machine metal gray.
As usual, Microsoft let me know that they cannot comment on unannounced products, so we’ll just have to let the Surface 4 and new Surface devices colors rumors sit for a while. However, Microsoft has confirmed one piece of the story and it’s about the Surface 3’s destiny…
Since launching Surface 3 over a year ago, we have seen strong demand and satisfaction amongst our customers. Inventory is now limited and by the end of December 2016, we will no longer manufacture Surface 3 devices.
There’s a couple ways to look at this, but my speculation runs like this...
Obviously, the Surface 3 has not been the runaway hit that Microsoft wanted. Instead it’s the Pro series that has won the day. And, if you believe a recent article by PC World’s Mark Hachman, neither the Surface Pro 4 or the Surface Book (Microsoft’s latest device offerings) have found favor, either. Microsoft’s Surface revenue tank seems to still be running off Surface Pro 3 fumes. So, Microsoft needs a new devices win, and the next stab at a win probably won’t show up in early 2017 when the company is planning to deliver a round of new hardware based on Redstone 2’s feature capabilities.
Will there be a Surface 4? I could be wrong, but I think it’s highly unlikely. Instead, the Surface 3 could be replaced by the Surface Pro 5 and the Surface Book 2. Personally, I believe Microsoft needs to combine the Surface Pro and the Surface Book into a single device (choose between keyboard types, but have a screen with a kickstand for both choices), but that would also cut into the company’s ability to deliver differently priced devices for different pocketbooks. Of course, even taking this route could result in two different pricing models. Just take the Surface Pro tablet and offer two different keyboards. The current tablet with kickstand would be able to connect into the Surface Book keyboard base with the GPU and extra battery. Get the high end, more costly Surface Book just by buying the keyboard base. Get the more cost effective option by just choosing a Surface tablet keyboard cover.
The Surface 3, however, is still a stellar device. I’d be very willing to acquire one myself as the prices start taking nosedives toward the end of manufacturing. These would make very attractive Christmas presents.