According to a recent, and unconfirmed report by Digitimes, Microsoft is working with upstream suppliers to create a Surface desktop AIO, which could launch as early as the third quarter of 2016. Rumors suggest that the new desktop PC will be a desktop alternative to the Surface Book 2, whose launch could be delayed to 2017, as a result of a delay in Kaby Lake CPU shipments.
If the rumor from Digitimes’ undisclosed sources is anywhere near accurate, Microsoft could be seriously considering tapping into a market currently dominated by an Apple-Lenovo duopoly.
Also according to Digitimes, AIO global shipments could drop from last year’s 14 million units, to 12.6 million units. This means that if Microsoft is serious about unveiling an All-In-One desktop PC, the final product will have to be able to stack exceptionally well against both Apple and Lenovo’s offerings.
Considering how soon this new Surface desktop is rumored to be announced, the internal specs should be fairly easy to guess, for the most part, which could include a Skylake CPU(or even an AMD FX variant), RAM upgrades up to 32GB (or even 64GB, fingers crossed), 1-3TB SSD, and an NVIDIA GPU.
The external specs are a bit more tricky to guess, but we have to remember that this product will have to compete with the Apple iMac Retina 4K and 5K, as well as current Lenovo AIOs, which means that anything less than a 4K display will make this PC far less appealing.
The Surface AIO is one of two products rumored to be unveiled within the next 12 months, the other being the Surface Phone, a devices whose existence has been pure, yet persistent speculation, almost a full year prior to Windows 10’s release. With that said, it’s difficult to say which product is more likely to be real.
Considering that Microsoft no longer has control of its Lumia assets, it’s possible that Microsoft may be looking to tackle the phone market once again with a product that ties into the Surface theme better than Lumia ever did. By contrast, there is the question of whether Microsoft really needs to release a desktop PC version of its Surface tablet, especially in a market where AIO PC sales seem to suffer from a year-after-year decline, compared to laptops, tablets and smartphones.
By that token, however, prior evidence exists, in favor of a Microsoft Surface desktop, in the form of a patent filed by Microsoft in May of this year, which describes what seems to be a modular Apple iMac competitor.