It's no secret or surprise that Microsoft is preparing a successor to its hybrid Windows 8 tablet and freshly leaked details about the Surface Pro 2 have emerged just in time for you to regret the discounted Surface Pro you bought last week. According to Neowin and Paul Thurrott, the next Surface Pro will ship with improved specifications including a Hawell-based Core i5 CPU.
Shifting to Intel's fourth-generation Core chips will obviously be snappier than existing Ivy Bridge-based Surface Pros, but they should also help improve the system's battery life -- the lack of which being a primary complaint about Microsoft's first attempt. The Surface Pro is limited to about five hours of usage, while its follow up will reportedly provide up to seven hours.
Microsoft will also ship the Surface Pro 2 with more memory than its predecessor had at 8GB versus 4GB, though that's as much as anyone is willing or able to share about the device's internals. Externally, you can reportedly expect a "refined" integrated kickstand with multiple positions, while the system's overall aesthetics should remain largely unchanged from today's model.
As for the most important information -- when it'll be available and what it'll cost -- we don't know and we don't know. Neowin says Microsoft is readying a media campaign -- perhaps for Christmas, which happens to be a perfectly sensible time to sell your new product, not to mention that Windows 8.1 is slated for a mid-October release (Friday the 18th if you want to mark your calendar).
As for pricing, we can't see Microsoft getting away with charging more than it did for the original Surface Pro ($899-$999) and asking any less wouldn't put enough of gap between generations without further reducing the cost of its older models. If a $1,000 SKU is inbound, it would be nice to see it come with a Touch/Type Cover of some sort out of the box at a discount, however slight.
Microsoft also plans to use Nvidia's Tegra 4 SoC in an updated Surface RT that will simply be called the "Surface 2," while a 7-inch "Surface mini" is expected to target the Kindle Fire HD, Nexus 7 and iPad mini. With a Surface refresh, a Windows update, a new Xbox and internal restructuring that includes Ballmer's departure, the folks in Redmond are in for a hectic holiday 2013.