One Finite Planet

Surface Pro update: Canary for the problems in journalism?

First Published:

typewriter2Ok, so this post is about what is happening with updates for the Surface Pro and the Surface Book, but is also about the problems in technology reporting, which themselves are symptoms of a wider problem.

Firstly, to the Surface Pro/Book.  There are lots of rumours of an update, and rumours there being rumours is understandable, but the rumours seem to all contain the same conclusion, despite logic to the contrary.  Why the continually repeating the same mistakes, and missing key points.  I mean, one person making an error….ok.  But so many websites repeating the same errors?  What is going on?

First, let me explain what I believe is the logical conclusion of the real news here, then, later the return to the question of journalism.

Surface news summary: Updated Surface Pro and Surface book with ‘Kaby Lake’ to be announced at the October 26th eventFor the reasons why this is true despite many rumours to the contrary, keep reading.

Everyone would love a new product to be announced, which is why there are rumours.  If you are waiting to order a new product then you are waiting.  If you are just waiting to write about a new product, then again you are waiting anxiously. Even if you are just waiting to bag a new version, you still wait with much anticipation.

For surface products, rumours have predicted October as news date, as that makes an anniversary of the last update to the surface line.  But, there is news of a major windows update early 2017, so perhaps the new surface products will not be announced until then.  All sensible speculation.   Now for the crazy part.  Websites over and over keep stating that these new surface products will also be delayed until 2017 in order to be able to use the new Kaby -Lake cpu chips which will not be available until this year, when, with one exception of one model, the updated Kaby-Lake CPU chipsets used in surface products are shipping already.

This is the crazy part.  No one seems to discuss how new CPU chips for four out of five Surface products are shipping, and it seems unbelievable so many people are repeating this same oversight error.  Sure, some Kaby-Lake (7th generation) Intel chips will not be shipping until next year, but the cpu chips for the Surface Pro/Book products are the shipping already as I write this.  In fact, here is a link to a page explaining the full story and cataloguing a list of computers already shipping using these newly available chips.

Kaby-Lake chips (U-Series as used in the Surface Pro/Book as well as Y-Series have started shipping, which is why you could be able to get a Surface Book/Pro device with these Kaby Lake chips sometime next month.  These new chips exactly replace the chips shipping previously in Surface products, and are available for all but one surface device.  No circuit change required, nor any increase in price, the price from Intel is the same.  The higher performance more power hungry versions of Kaby-Lake chips are the ones that will not ship until next year, which is why Apple cannot yet update to Kaby-Lake for the 15inch Macbook Pro, although the chip for the 13inch is available.  With Surface products, it is the i7 Surface Pro which does not have a direct replacement revealed already.

So the reality is Microsoft can simply specify the new chip and need make no other changes.  In fact if they do not update the build specification for Surface products, the range will come under price pressure as will be using a now obsolete CPU chip.

So at the very least, an update to Kaby-Lake CPUs can be announced at the now confirmed Microsoft Device event in late October, and the only challenge is the i7 Surface Pro.

Simply using the new CPU alone does not justify renaming for ‘Surface Book II’ or Surface Pro 5, so this may be simple production specification updates, and not new models.

So what is needed for the release of new models?

Dropping in a new CPU chip made by a supplier, is no real work for Microsoft, so what can Microsoft change to justify a genuine ‘new model’.

Overall, Microsoft logically should update the ‘Display Port’ connector on their devices to a Thunderbolt/USB-C connector as well as move to the rechargeable pen. Beyond these changes is speculation.

But what is repeatedly predicted makes less sense.  The repeated prediction is to change the still useful USB-A port to USB-C, rather than change the Displayport to a USB-C.

A USB-C port implements both USB and Displayport from a new USB-C connector. With both the ports from the previous model now available from a single port, the question becomes which of the old ports do you duplicate with a legacy connector.

Yes, USB-C does combine both of USB-A and Displayport, so it is a choice which of the old ports to keep.  But keeping the USB-A port, and thus have 2 USB ports (and one of those having Displayport functionality),  just makes more sense than keeping the dedicated legacy Displayport, to still in effect have one USB port and two Display port options.

If the Surface devices are to keep one legacy port, surely it makes more sense to keep the legacy USB port, than to keep the legacy Display port?

USB-C also implements display-port but from the USB-C connector, and with Thunderbolt moving from the Displayport connector to USB-C connector, Displayport connectors will become less common.  This is not the legacy port to keep providing.

How many USB devices do consumers have they wish to keep and not need adaptors for, vs how many Display port devices might they need adaptors for?   In fact the mini display port already needs an adaptor for most people!

Not only would this rumoured “delete the existing USB port” change be of less benefit to customers, it would also be more difficult for Microsoft, as it is more work to have a second display port.

Who knows which combination is correct, but for so many web pages to report the same choice by Microsoft of the illogical “delete the USB port, and keep the existing Display port” to make room for the new USB-C, either there are repeated leaks, or each site is echoing what that others say.  Leaks or just repeating mindlessly?  Perhaps when the Surface 5 is actually released it will become clear!  Note I believe Microsoft will add not simple USB-C, but Thunderbolt3, which is basically USB-C ‘on steroids’ and acts as plain USB-C with when the greater speed of Thunderbolt3 is not in use.

I will follow with another post to continue on the worrying journalism aspect, but to return to discussion of the new CPUs.

Device SkyLake (Current Surface Device, Sept 16) Kaby Lake (Avail Oct 2016)
Surface Pro i3 m3-6Y30 m3-7Y30
Surface Pro i5 i5-6300U i5-7200U
Surface Pro i7 i7-6650U i7-7500U  ?? (see note)
Surface Book i5 i5-6300U i5-7200U
Surface Book i7 i7-6600U i7-7500U

Note:  The i7-7500U is the direct replacement for the i7-6600U, but not for the i7-6650U which is used in the i7 surface pro.  The 7500U is in general a better performer than the 6650, but the GPU is one step back (the GPU has half the execution units).

So what is Microsoft to do. The choices are:

  • Hold back on any update at all, resulting in the surface product line being the lower spec choice for new buyers as competitor products will almost all have Kaby Lake
  • Hold back updates of models based on the one Surface Pro CPU effected?
  • Twist Intel’s arm to get the new CPU for the Surface Pro i7 quickly
  • Update the Surface Book, and wait to update Surface Pro

Remember, the Surface is support to be a flagship product line.  The goal has been to be a reference, not a discounted product using lower cost but superseded components.



Table of Contents


A different perspective: Humans maybe the greatest threat to life on Earth but also the only hope.

The title ‘one finite planet’ can be mistaken to be yet another proclamation of how we live on this amazing planet which could even be unique, and we humans are foolishly placing it all at risk. Boring.

No. Instead, the perspective is we are living on a planet that is naturally hostile to humans, where nature dictates only a limited total amount of life, can only exist for a limited time, and that time is almost at an end. When seen from this perspective, even the environment mission changes from just not interfering, to the more complex task of tackling the challenge of overcoming nature, while yes, quite importantly, not bringing life to an early end in the process.

Read More »

Surprise, Shortest day ever recorded: Not just the solstice, but climate change?

This page is more under the heading of ‘fun facts’.

The first ‘fun fact’ is that while everyone knows how the length of daytime and nigh time vary throughout the year, it may come as a surprise to realise the length of the entire day, also varies. Partly because, second fun fact, the a day is a longer than one rotation of the Earth, which lead to the third fun fact: we just had the shortest total day ever recorded.

Read More » to the Next Level: Plugins, Elementor, CoBlocks?

Something completely different. A discussion on how this site is hosted: on

Anyone who has started a “blog” or other site on, may get to wonder, what are the options for upgrading the website? What is the value of the free, personal or premium plans and beyond? What real world benefits are there, and, alternatively, what would you lose and/or gain from moving away from This is a page discussing being in that situation. If you are not considering having a website, it may be of little interest.

Read More »

Images, Making Animated GIFs & Solving colour problems.

This is part of series of pages I will be adding on things I have learnt as part of building this website, and I will soon try and enable following by topic (when I get this page working), so people can separately select notification on building websites and/or population or other issues, without being notified of things outside their interest. Standby for that update.

Meanwhile this page provides general help on making an animated GIF for a series of images, specific help on a challenge with animated GIFs, and a list of sites with free images as a resource for those building images.

Read More »

Fool’s Gold, Scams & realities of a Hydrogen Future: “Where does the hydrogen come from?”

The race to stop CO2, has led to many ‘scams’ projects involving hydrogen, but it is not always clear who is being scammed: the public, or the proponents of hydrogen projects. What is the attraction behind the obsession with hydrogen? This is a look at the motives, the myths and the facts around hydrogen projects.

Spoiler: There are some valid roles for hydrogen, but hydrogen has no role as an energy source, and even any potential role as an energy carrier is highly questionable.

Read More »