Microsoft's high-end Surface Pro tablets have a built-in kickstand that can prop up the screen to give you a better viewing angle to watch streaming content, or to use the device like a laptop with the optional Quick Type cover. Now, it appears that Microsoft is looking to improve the mechanism of the kickstand. A patent application released by the USPTO (via Windows United) reveals some changes to the hardware feature that could be implemented as soon as the upcoming Surface Pro 7.
The patent "Friction Hinge with Clutch-Based Resistance," covers a rather complex bit of mechanics that will allow the user to close the kickstand while employing less energy than it takes to open it. Additionally, the resistance level when closing the kickstand can be adjusted by the user. This should prevent the kickstand from accidentally opening, while still making it easy to close.
You might recall that a previous patent for the Surface Pro revealed that Microsoft is working on a thinner Quick Type keyboard accessory for the tablet. By moving the trackpad's circuitry to the motherboard and etching the keyboard during the manufacturing process, the optional QWERTY keyboard for the Surface Pro 7 could be thinner than previous models.
The patent application was assigned number US20190064886 and was originally filed on August 29, 2017. Images from the application can be viewed in the slideshow below. We could see Microsoft take the wraps off of the Surface Pro 7 this coming October.