Microsoft Surface Pro Release Date Rumored For Jan. 26 or 29; Retail Employees Allegedly Tip Launch For End Of Month

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We’ve known for quite some time that Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet would launch this month, but the Redmond, Wash.-based company has decided to leave the exact release date a mystery. Some have speculated that the higher-end Windows 8 tablet could debut at CES 2013, but now several sources are saying the Surface Pro will launch at the end of the month.

CNET reports that several Microsoft store retail employees have said that they expect the Surface Pro to arrive at the end of January. One store in particular said that the device could hit shelves on Jan. 26. That date would mark exactly three months after the Surface for Windows RT was released back in October. This also aligns with Microsoft’s comments concerning the Surface’s launch:

“Surface for Windows RT will release with the general availability of Windows 8, and the Windows 8 Pro model will be available about 90 days later,” the company said last year.

The exact date is subject to change since Microsoft has not revealed it yet, but another rumor indicates that the heftier slate could debut on Jan. 29. Tech new source Softpedia has cited sources close to Redmond that have said the Surface Pro will be unveiled on the 29th and go on sale as soon as the 30th. No other launch information has been specified, but this is likely to be a quiet rollout since the tablet was announced with Microsoft’s initial Surface unveiling.

Microsoft’s Surface Pro will come equipped with Intel’s Ivy Bridge processor, a 16:9 ClearType display with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 and a Mini DisplayPort among other specs and features. It will also come packed with Windows 8 Pro, which means that it will run the full version of Microsoft’s newest operating system rather than Windows RT. Microsoft announced that the Surface Pro would be available in two different flavors: $899 for the 64GB standalone version and $999 for the 126GB standalone edition.

Although the Pro version of Microsoft’s self-branded tablet is a bit pricier, it will offer more PC functionality than its predecessor. With increased storage space and full Windows 8 functionality, the Surface Pro could be an attractive prospect for business and enterprise users. In addition to some bumped up specs, the Surface Pro will launch with its own stylus. Back in August Microsoft patented an advanced multi-touch stylus known as the e-Pen, just in time for the Surface Pro.

Sales of Microsoft’s Surface for Windows RT got off to a shaky start, but only time will tell if the Pro will fare well in the tablet market. While it does boast higher performance than the Surface, manufacturers have offered a number of Windows 8 tablet-laptop hybrid PCs at lower prices. Even still, the Surface has gained somewhat of a following, most notably Oprah Winfrey who professed her love for Microsoft’s tablet via Twitter. She did, however, post the tweet from her iPad.

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