Microsoft Documents Confirm New Surface Features
Microsoft has kept the Surface name at the head of the ‘innovative computer design’ race for since the launch of the early Surface device over ten years ago. That pace is not dropping, with details on a new hinge and design being featured in documentation from Microsoft.
The details can before found in a recently published patent titled ‘Computing Device Hinges’. Windows Latest’s Mayank Parmar reports:
““The display hinge may include a stand hinge between the display and the stand. The stand hinge may be any type of hinge. For example, the stand hinge may be a friction hinge similar to the base hinge,” the patent application reads.”
Essentially the patent describes a hinge that allows the laptop screen to be sent at any tilt angle, while lifting the screen into the air to provide for better ergonomics. From the design, the screen would close up against the keyboard normally; be able to lie flat; and also rotate the screen around so the keyboard can be tucked away at the rear for a standalone tablet experience.
While many will note the similarity to the arrangement used by Apple with the iPad Pro and its Magic Keyboard, it’s also similar to the hinge of the Surface Studio, which allows the 28 inch screen of the artistic desktop to be rotated, lifted, and placed in the air with the minimum of effort.
Microsoft’s Surface devices have a storied history around hinges and form factors. The detachable screen of the Surface Book, alongside the fulcrum hinge that allowed for the unique form factor of the laptop to stay balanced is one. Another is the full width kick stand at the rear of the Surface Pro 2-in-1 tablets. While not a traditional laptop hinge, these are definitely hinged and allow for the screen to be placed in countless orientations.
It’s the Surface Book where I think this design is targeted at. The form factor fits the patent (as well as the Surface Connector port visible in the drawings). While the Surface Pro range’s physical dimensions have remained constant for a number of years – partly to allow enterprise customers to use the same peripherals over a mix of tablets – the Surface Book, while retaining a similar form, has went through a number of small changes to the size of various areas.
Accommodating a new hinge assembly would refresh the Surface Book line-up with a new and exciting form factor that would set it apart from the increasingly popular Surface Laptops with their traditional laptop hinge.
If Microsoft‘s push for innovative design is going to continue, maybe we have our answer on what the next step is.
Now read my review of another unique Microsoft device, the Surface Duo…