When will Microsoft launch the Surface 4 and what will it be like? We round up the Surface 4 UK release date, price and spec rumours. See also: Best convertible tablets and laptops 2016.

Also see: How to watch Windows Event | Windows 10 Creators Update | Surface Pro 5 | Surface Studio | Surface Book i7 | Surface Phone

Since the range can be a little bit confusing, we're talking about the Surface 4 here - not the Surface Pro 4, which is already a product. This will succeed the Surface 3, which is currently on sale for £419 as a more affordable alternative to the Pro.

We say currently because as of December 2016 Microsoft will end production of the Surface 3. Whether or not this is to make space for a new Surface 4 model in the line-up, or because it isn't making enough money, we can't be sure.

One thing we do know, though, is that there was no sign of a Surface 4 at Microsoft's Windows Event in October. This show was very much focused on performance PCs.

Read: The best new tablets coming in 2016.

Surface 4 UK release date and price rumours: When is the Surface 4 coming out?

It's been more than 18 months since Microsoft launched the Surface 3 in March 2015 (it went on sale in May), and the product is now coming to the end of its life. Microsoft has confirmed it will halt production in December 2016. But has the cheaper Surface hybrid been discontinued, or is Microsoft merely making room for a new product?

There was some evidence to suggest we might see a Surface 4 announced in October, but we did not. Rumours said there would be at least one new Surface PC coming in October, but it was not the Surface 4 but a Surface Book i7 and Surface Studio AIO PC.

A recent leaked image suggests Microsoft has more than one new Windows Surface in store. The photo below from a developer shows a wall in Microsoft's building 88 during a recent visit. You can see placeholders for what looks like a Surface device with '2016' and 'coming soon'. There are also three devices which say '2017'. This might mean we see the Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 Surface Pro devices in 2017, and the Surface 4 now. 

Surface Pro 5 release date

In terms of price, we expect the Surface 4 to come in at a similar price to the current model which is £419 for the basic 64GB model and the Type Cover keyboard not included. This would make it a more affordable option if the Surface Pro 4 is a bit too expensive.

Surface 4 specs and what we expect

It's possible Microsoft will go for a bigger screen on the Surface 4 but we wouldn't expect it to get much larger than the current 10.8in so as not to encroach on the Pro 4's size of 12.3in. The resolution could also be bumped up to 2736x1824 like the Pro 4 but we expect it to stick at 1920x1280 which is plenty for a lower end device.

See also: Surface Pro 5 release date, price and specs.

The biggest upgrade is likely to be the processor as the Surface 3 runs on an Intel Atom x7 chip. For the Surface 4 we expect Microsoft to jump to a Core M or even a Core i processor – there's a good chance you'll be able to choose between those chips.

More storage and RAM as standard would be good but that's by no means a certainty. Companies make decent money from customers upgrading these elements and Microsoft will need to keep the Surface 4 lower spec compared to the Surface Pro 4.

The other specs of the Surface 3 are quite decent including 11ac Wi-Fi, an 8Mp camera and Mini DisplayPort. Something Microsoft could do is switch from full-size USB to the newer Type-C port which is also reversible. This would mean the device could be thinner and lighter, too.

At the moment things are almost entirely speculation which is concerning as almost every the product gets leaked. If and when any details of the Surface 4, erm, surface online then we'll update this article.