Surface Pro 5 rumored to include improved Pen with magnetic dock

Surface Pro 5 rumored to include improved Pen with magnetic dock
The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 was a definite improvement over the Surface Pro 3, but it wasn't a huge leap by any means. It seems, for better or worse, Microsoft has found the recipe it wants to use with the Surface Pro hybrid tablet lineup and is simply working to tweak what it has to make it better. A new patent filing indicates that the Surface Pen may be next up for improvements.

The patent shows that Microsoft is looking into two changes for the Surface Pen: the battery and the dock. So far, the Surface Pen has run on AAAA batteries, which has been a perfectly fine solution because the single battery used in the Pen could last a number of months and maybe even up to a year, depending on usage. However, Microsoft is at least looking into the possibility of using a rechargeable battery in the Pen. 

The patent describes a stylus charger that "may take the form of a dock that holds the stylus in a particular location during charging and/or while the stylus is not being used." The dock would hold the stylus in place magnetically, and charge the device with "charging circuits" which look like rings that would work similarly to pogo pins. The question is where said dock would live. 

Microsoft has previously said that it can't have future Surface Pens go inside the tablet, because the Pen is thicker than the tablet itself, but the dock appears to be a separate accessory that would need to connect to the Surface in some way. Obviously, Microsoft is trying very hard to not repeat the insane design decision Apple made to have the Pencil charge by sticking out the side of the iPad Pro via the Lightning dock. 

We'll have to wait and see how or when this idea is used in a future Surface device and what it might mean for the capabilities of the Pen itself. If the Pen is getting more functionality, its battery life might need a recharging option. 


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20 Comments

1. SirYar

Posts: 351; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

And the pen comes with the surface for free! What a deal!

10. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

Surface pro is way to go, in terms if functionality and productivity. No one comes close.

12. aBoss

Posts: 164; Member since: Sep 15, 2014

All surface pro needs is longer battery life at least 24 hours

20. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

I have the Surface Pro 4 and I get 2 days of usage from a single charge. I have the i5 model with 4Gb and I have a 128GB microSD inside. The only time it died within 24hrs is when I played SimCity 5 on it. Because the game even with all the settings at low, kicks the fan into high gear and it gets hot and even if I play only 1 hour, the battery loses 40%-50% of its charge. The other issues UI noticed that uses lots of power is using the web browser. ANY OF THE WEB BROWSERS. Whether its Edge, IE, FireFox or Chrome. When you open more than 3 tabs, the fan kicks to high gear and the battery will drain. I try not to charge it much to help keep the battery at a reasonable high compaticity for the life of the device, because replacing the battery inside isn't for the faint of heart. Even though I did manage to do it on the Surface 3, I wouldnt wish that chore on anyone because it is a risky undertaking. Here are things I've done to save power. When at home, I use my Surface with an external display and I turn off the Surface's display. The display is the biggest killer of the battery and then the CPU. I always use the default power settings and I tweak them...like I set the display to turn off within 1 min of no usage. It's best to get a dock that has an RJ45 vs using the Wifi. Wifi uses more power vs plugging in a module into the USB port. I also lower the resolution. The resolution fo the Surface Pro is awesome, but it sucks for application I use liek Photoshop because it makes thinsg so tiny. So I lower the resolution to 1366x768 and when I play my old arcade games on MAME, I lower it to 1024x768. This takes the strain off the GPU so it too doesn't suck up so much power drawing an image big that I dont need. My display is usually at 40% brightness because that is more than bright enough even in a dark room. If I am reading a webpage and its white, I lower the brightness even more since white uses more power than dark.

17. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Well its included int he price. It isn't free. But yes, at least it comes with. What people need to understand is the Pen to the surface is like a Mouse/MousePad to your PC/laptop. So it is a necessity where as for the iPad its an accessory. Just like the Apple Watch is an accessory to the iPhone because it doesn't have many standalone functions. That is what Apple gets away with not having the pen with the iPad Pro because the pen to the iPad Pro, is not equal to what the pen is on the Surface.

19. Niva.

Posts: 440; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

Apple gets away with all of it's products because of fanatical fanbase and people committed to their eco system. If a company NOT named Apple, came out with equivalent products today and tried to charge Apple prices for them, it would be a quick trip to bankrupcy. That's all they're trying to say, carry on now.

2. ZeroCide

Posts: 810; Member since: Jan 09, 2013

The surface pen works really well. This will be a welcome improvement on the current design.

13. magnanimus

Posts: 565; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

I have the pro 4 and I'd rather they focus on battery life. The pen is already good enough and the magnetic attachment works quite well.

3. Nexus4Matic

Posts: 37; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

I like these ideas, I'd like to see a 4K 14 inch model with a massive battery and an HDMI port to upgrade my SP3

21. SemperFiV12

Posts: 949; Member since: Nov 09, 2010

A 14" screen would be really nice, i'd like that too! Don't think it will happen, but hey...

4. darealist

Posts: 107; Member since: Feb 25, 2015

I rather have a Surface phone phablet.

5. Martineverest

Posts: 521; Member since: Oct 27, 2015

Solution for iPad pro's problem

9. BradyCrack

Posts: 835; Member since: Dec 29, 2015

Yes, I wish they had a couple more smart connecter for the Apple pencil as a magnetic port.

6. Martineverest

Posts: 521; Member since: Oct 27, 2015

I want a surface phone that can power oculus

7. htcisthebest

Posts: 435; Member since: Nov 15, 2011

Patiently waiting for the Surface Phone

8. xq10xa

Posts: 808; Member since: Dec 07, 2010

damn this is gonna be good. I like the surface pen. works great. I just wish I could draw and photoshop would be so awesome.

14. vuyonc

Posts: 1089; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

Fingers crossed, AMD and Nvidia's upcoming FinFET dGPUs and HBM VRAM can fit inside the SP5.

15. Iodine

Posts: 1478; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

Considering the insane pace Apple is setting, I wouldn't be surprised if there would be an HBM-like solution in an iPad sooner than in any niche device like a surface.

18. vuyonc

Posts: 1089; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

Not sure about the future of iPads or Android tablets for HBM or anything similar. Samsung didn't show any plans for mobile HBM for example. Maybe Apple will copy Intel and just add an L4 cache for graphics.

16. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

My not just put the charging connector on the sides of the surface where we can stick the pen now. amke it so the pen only lines up a certain way on the side so it is connected each time. Or this...make a microUSB port just for charging the pen on one side. Inside the pen, have it so you slide the connector for charging from the side of the pen and plug it into the port. Not with a cable, but a mechanical thing where you press it and the connector swings out and you simply either slide the connector into the Surface, or the pen has a connector inside and you life a cover and the connector is on the Surface and it slides into the pen. What Apple did was poorly thought out and show pure laziness and no caring.

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