Microsoft has kept details close to the vest, and we don’t have a lot more official information than the time and date, 7 a.m. Pacific on Oct. 26. That said, several rumors of plans for the event have made their way around the internet in the last week.
GeekWire will in be New York for the event Wednesday, but in the meantime, here are some of the things we expect Microsoft to announce. You can follow along Wednesday morning on a livestream.
This year’s event is not expected to match the flurry of new devices — Surface Book, new Windows smartphones, Microsoft Band — announced last year. Microsoft will likely focus on Windows 10, as the company itself is calling it a Windows 10 event, more so than showing off new devices.
But there are a couple of exceptions. Most observers agree that a Surface desktop PC will debut at the event. Rumors about the device began circulating earlier this year after a patent application was published in February that showed a modular desktop computer. The rumored goal of the Surface PC is to turn the user’s desk into “a studio,” according to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley.
We also know the Surface PC could include its own custom keyboards, according to documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission earlier this year.
The other new device Microsoft followers expect to see is a possible Amazon Echo competitor. The device could be a hub for linking multiple devices or it could be a speaker like the Echo, powered by Microsoft’s digital assistant, Cortana. Microsoft, like competitors Amazon, Apple and Google, has emphasized its AI assistant and recently announced a breakthrough program that can recognize speech as well or better than humans can.
Moving on to the software side of things, Microsoft is expected to give details of a pair of Windows 10 updates reportedly planned for next year. We don’t know much about what will be in these updates, but they could focus on productivity and simplifying the process of working across multiple Windows 10 devices.
Windows 10 updates as well as Surface PC details could emphasize 3D and virtual/augmented reality. A pair of leaked videos earlier this month showed a 3D feature for Microsoft Paint that could be an example of how the company’s mixed reality HoloLens device will interact with other Microsoft products. Another example could come with gaming. Earlier this year, Lenovo announced a pair of Windows 10 powered PCs that are VR ready and built for high-intensity gaming.
Here are a couple of things most Microsoft followers don’t expect at the event: A Surface phone or new versions of the Surface Pro and Surface Book, a new Microsoft Band device or updates on the Xbox Project Scorpio. We also don’t expect much talk about Office, as Microsoft has scheduled a separate event for that next week.