Microsoft is set to release Windows 8.1 on Oct. 18. That means that the Surface Pro 2, given that it is widely assumed (to 99.99 percent certainty) that Microsoft's tablet refresh will carry that version, won't release before that date. Despite that, on Wednesday, we saw some leaks fly about the device (via ZDNet).
The first leak, originally from Neowin.net, said that Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 tablet, which is Intel-based, will run Intel's next-generation Core i5 "Haswell" processor. That processor has a major advantage over the Ivy Bridge CPUs used in the original Surface Pro: huge improvements in battery life. It's expected, too, that RAM will increase to 8GB and that the new version will include a "refined" kickstand.
Meanwhile, Paul Thurrott at the Windows SuperSite corroborated the Core i5 Haswell information. None of that is a surprise, as Microsoft has to improve battery life and performance on its Windows 8 (not RT) tablet. According to his sources, battery life of the Surface Pro 2 will rise the current four to five hours to up to seven hours.
"Up to" is a key. Microsoft could improve the battery life still further by adding a battery to its keyboard docks. Back in February, Microsoft hinted at such a design, saying that the accessory spine included that capability. Since then, though, there has been no sign of such a keyboard dock.
While not directly corroborating the RAM rumor, Thurrott said the Surface Pro 2 will offer a choice of RAM tiers, possibly at the 4GB and 8GB level (which makes sense, to be honest). The Surface Pro 2 will be identical in appearance to the current model, and the new "refined" kickstand will offer two different positions, instead of being locked into one on the current Surface Pros.
Neither site had information on pricing, meaning the assumption is that it won't change much from current Surface Pro pricing. If Microsoft makes the recent Surface Pro price cuts permanent, the new version could start as low as $799.
There was also no information on a release date. We wouldn't be surprised to see the Surface Pro 2 launch on the same day as Windows 8.1, meaning on Oct. 18, but time will tell.