Next-Gen Surface Pro's Fancy Kickstand Hinges Spied In Microsoft Patent Application
While we are likely a while away from a true replacement for the replacement for the Surface Pro 6, a patent application has surfaced that hints at one of the features of the next-gen device. The patent application describes fancy new hinges for the critical integrated kickstand that props the tablet portion of the device up when users are typing with the removable keyboard or watching video on the device in tablet mode.
On the current Surface Pro 6, the kickstand uses friction created by the hinges to stop and stay at whatever angle the user wants in the entire range of its motion. When it's time to fold the kickstand away, the same friction force resists folding the kickstand flat.
The patent application shows off new hinges that have a lower closing resistance level than when being opened. The result is a kickstand that closes with less resistance than it opens against. The patent application reckons that a lower closing resistance level might be convenient for the user, while the higher resistance when opening provides device stability.
The friction the current kickstand provides when closing isn't something that many Surface Pro 6 users have given much thought. However, it does show that Microsoft is sweating the small stuff, and sometimes that small stuff adds up to big stuff. All the little details matter greatly in the premium product market where the Surface Pro and the Apple MacBook play.
Past generations of the Surface Pro have had missteps; notably, the Surface Pro 4 had a firmware issue that led to Microsoft replacing some of the devices. One of the features that Microsoft has been criticized for lacking on its Surface Pro 6 line of two-in-one devices is a USB-C port, but hopefully this will be rectified with future generations.