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December 31, 2022

Microsoft in 2023: predictions, expectations and what we want to see in the new year

From the Surface Pro 10 to a HoloLens 3, we look at what we might see from Microsoft next year.

We are fast approaching the end of another year, and 2022 was an eventful year for Microsoft. Years after we first heard about it, Android apps finally became available on Windows, we got the first major update for Windows 11 and a few Surface devices were launched – some more interesting than others.

But that is all behind us, and now it is time to look at what lies ahead. With 2023 knocking on the door, it’s a good time to think about what we might see from Microsoft in the coming year. We have rounded up some of our predictions below, starting with the most obvious and slowly descending into more out-there guesses. Some of these things may not happen, but that’s part of the fun. Let’s begin.

Surface Pro 10

This one is almost a guarantee, which does make it a little less fun to talk about. The Surface Pro line is renewed almost annually, and 2023 should be no exception. In particular, the Wi-Fi model is likely to be updated with Intel’s 13th-generation mobile processors, bringing more performance to the table. We discussed our expectations for the Surface Pro 10 and are also looking for more ports and a better keyboard.

However, the 5G model may not see such a major upgrade. We don’t expect a new Arm-based processor anytime soon, so Microsoft probably won’t have a new component to use in a new model. We hope to see colorful models for the Surface Pro 10 with 5G, and perhaps options for more RAM and storage in line with the Wi-Fi model.

The Surface Pro 10 will likely launch in the fall of 2023, about a year after the Surface Pro 9, so we’ll see then if it can live up to our expectations.

Surface Go 4

Another that is very likely to happen is the announcement of the Surface Go 4. It has been more than a year since the Surface Go 3 was launched, and thanks to the shift to Intel’s hybrid architecture, there should be notable performance improvements in the new model. But that’s not all. Microsoft might also launch an Arm version, just like the Pro lineup. It will probably have a less powerful processor, such as a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c, but this is still very good news because it will provide always-on connectivity to a device with more budget.

We’d also like the Surface Go 4 to shake up the design. The Surface Go family looks largely the same since its debut in 2018, aside from a slightly larger screen introduced with the Surface Go 2. Since recent Surface Pro models have a more modern design language with rounded corners, it would be nice to see the same for the Go models. Some new color options would also be great, of course. We might also see support for the Surface Slim Pen 2, at least in the sense that you have the ability to save it with the device itself.

Surface Go releases have not had a very consistent time frame, but we are guessing it will happen in the summer or second half of the year.

Surface Laptop Studio 2

Compared to the Pro and Go lines, the Surface Laptop Studio series is less predictable. Microsoft debuted a brand new form factor in 2021 with the Surface Laptop Studio and it remained untouched for 2022, although Microsoft decided to revamp the Surface Studio desktop. However, it is very rare for Microsoft to give up a new form factor after just one release, and the Surface Laptop Studio is actually fantastic, so we definitely expect a new model at some point. 2023 is the time to do it.

This new model would have newer Intel processors, presumably 13th-generation models and possibly new Nvidia graphics, as we should see RTX 40-series laptop GPUs in 2023. However, we wouldn’t be too surprised if Microsoft stuck with rtx 30-series cards. We would also like to see a more refined design with some more ports such as HDMI and an SD card reader.

We expect the Surface Laptop Studio 2 to launch alongside the Surface Pro 10 in the fall, but it could happen sooner.

Call of Duty games coming to Game Pass

Call of Duty games coming to Game Pass

Microsoft announced its plans to acquire Activision Blizzard in early 2022 and the process is underway, albeit with some legal challenges. But Microsoft executives say they still expect the deal to be approved, hoping everything is fixed by the end of fiscal 2023, which ends June 30.

Assuming that comes to fruition, one of the first things you can expect is that Activision Blizzard titles will be available on Xbox and PC Game Pass. That includes major franchises such as Call of Duty, Diablo, Overwatch and even Crash Bandicoot, a former PlayStation exclusive. This probably won’t happen immediately, but having these games available at no extra cost (assuming you already have Game Pass) will be huge for both Xbox and PC gamers, even if Microsoft raises Game Pass prices as a result.

The company has also offered to bring Call of Duty games to PlayStation Plus subscribers. Xbox head Phil Spencer even announced that the games would be coming to Nintendo platforms, where they have not appeared since 2013. These moves may not happen in 2023, but we should still see some major Xbox Game Pass shakeups regardless.

No major Windows 11 update

Around the time Microsoft launched Windows 11 version 22H2 (or the 2022 Update) in September, the company said it would use a new rollout approach in the future that would include smaller feature updates throughout the year in addition to major annual releases. However, we don’t actually expect major annual updates to be more of a thing based on previous reports. Microsoft is shifting its focus entirely to these smaller periodic updates, and we do not expect a major new annual release.

That does not mean, however, that there will not be significant new features. Indeed, we already saw the first of these smaller updates in November, including new Explorer tabs and a new Photos app. Microsoft is currently testing a new screen recorder feature in the Snipping Tool app, which will make its way to the public in 2023, and many other notable changes may happen in the next 12 months.

We could also see the first glimpses of the next generation of Windows – Windows 12, if you will – even if only in the Insider program. Don’t expect much on that front, however.

Surface Duo 3

Microsoft has not exactly found much success with its Surface Duo line of smartphones, but the company has still made an effort to support existing models. The Surface Duo 2 was a major upgrade from the original version and has received updates, albeit a bit late. Recently, the company even introduced a completely revamped user interface for the phones, making them look more like Windows 11. So we believe a Surface Duo 3 is most likely in the works, and since the Duo 2 is already more than a year old, it’s time for an announcement.

There are plenty of things Microsoft should improve with the Duo 3 compared to the previous model. For starters, the cameras are not that great on the Surface Duo 2, despite being a huge jump from the original Duo. It could also have 120Hz screens instead of 90Hz, since that’s what most flagship phones have these days. Perhaps most importantly, Microsoft really needs a strong software experience, as the previous two models both had some problems at launch. And of course, a new model would also have newer processors.

It would also be great to see some sort of external screen for quick, clear information. Microsoft tried to address this with the Surface Duo 2, using the curved edges of the screen to display notifications when the device is closed. Still, a small panel on the cover, similar to what’s on the Galaxy Z Flip series, could make that information much easier to access.

Surface Hub 2 upgrade?

A recent report said Microsoft plans to release an upgraded compute cartridge for the Surface Hub 2 that would include all the components that run it, allowing users to keep the same screen. It would also include a new 11th-generation Intel processor, which should offer much faster performance than what is available in the current model.

We do not expect any new features with this card, but it is theoretically possible that it could run a new version of Windows. When Microsoft first launched the Surface Hub 2, there would be two models, the 2S and 2, each with different compute cards. The Surface Hub 2X was never released, but would have offered support for things like tiles and animated backgrounds. We don’t expect that to be in this new model, but it would be interesting to see.

HoloLens 3?

hololens 3

Finally, we have arrived at our wildest prediction: a HoloLens 3 announcement. This one is complicated because it has been almost four years since the HoloLens 2 was announced, which came three years after the original model. But earlier this year it was reported that the headset may have been canceled, although the former leader for HoloLens development, Alex Kipman (who left the company this year), quickly denied these reports. Recently, Microsoft also discussed the need to deliver meaningful upgrades with each iteration while talking about the HoloLens, but it did not specifically say it was planning a new model.

Still, the HoloLens 2 is definitely in need of an upgrade. It is still powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 Compute Unit, and many newer components are currently available. Microsoft has even announced that it is working with Qualcomm on a chipset for AR devices, so it is certainly possible that this could be part of a future HoloLens model. Microsoft is also likely to work on increasing the headset’s field of view, and the resolution could be higher so that AR experiences feel much more realistic. A higher refresh rate may also be part of an upgraded model.

And those are the big things we expect to see from Microsoft in the coming year, from the fully expected to some more off-the-wall guesses. It could be a very interesting year for Microsoft, depending on whether the company can live up to these predictions. Moreover, we may get some big surprises. It would be interesting to see something like the Surface Neo resurface or a new HoloLens iteration, but that probably won’t happen.

Source: xda-developers

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