While the Surface Pro 7 has only just been released, it seems like Microsoft is hard at work on its successor, the Surface Pro 8, with a new patent emerging that seems to indicate that the company is looking at creating an attachment that adds louder speakers to the 2-in-1 laptop/tablet hybrid.
The Type Cover is a peripheral for the Surface Pro that not only covers the screen when not in use – to protect it from damage – but also works as a keyboard and stand. Adding a built-in speaker to the Type Cover would be a nifty way of improving the sound quality of future Surface Pro devices.
Of course, putting a speaker into the Type Cover brings certain design challenges – as Microsoft won’t want to make the cover too bulky, which would impact on the thin and light design of the Surface Pro.
According to the patent, which is called Expandable Enclosure for Electronic Device Resonance Box, the speaker is positioned opposite the display, and could be used in both “a closed configuration and an open configuration, such that in the open configuration,” which means the extra speaker could be used even when the Surface Pro 8 (or whatever future Surface Pro device it appears on) is closed.
Microsoft aims to avoid making any future cover with a built-in speaker too bulky by positioning the speaker on an “outer surface of the expandable enclosure and oriented so that the drive magnet assembly faces an interior of the resonance box, and so that the speaker cone faces an exterior of the resonance box.”
This, according to the patent, means that the Surface Pro “gains the benefit of amplifying audio via the resonance box without adding significantly to the device volume or requiring an auxiliary speaker system.”
While the additional speaker may not increase the size and weight of the Type Cover, it could certainly have an impact on the price. Microsoft sells the Type Cover separately. The Type Cover for the new Surface Pro X, for example, costs a hefty $269 (£259, AU$429). If a future version also includes a speaker, that price could climb even further.
Still, for people who use their Surface Pro devices to watch movies on or stream music, having an extra speaker could make a huge difference, bringing a big improvement when it comes to sound quality compared to the small and tinny speakers that are built-in to the body of the Surface Pro.