Microsoft's new Surface Book reportedly entered mass production recently and shipments are expected to rise each month, according to sources from the related upstream supply chain. The sources believe Microsoft is likely to announce the new notebook at the end of March or April.
The new Surface Book is expected to adopt a clamshell design instead of its traditional 2-in-1 and will feature a starting price lower than that of its predecessors.
Microsoft has recently cut the prices for its existing Surface Book products with the Core i5 128GB model dropping from US$1,499 to US$1,299. The sources believe the move is meant to help Microsoft clear its inventory to welcome the new product's arrival.
The new Surface Book continues to feature a 13.5-inch display and chassis made of magnesium-aluminum-alloy. The product is expected to be priced at around US$1,000, much lower than the starting prices of Microsoft's existing Surface Books, which range from US$1,499-3,199.
The sources believe Microsoft's decision to lower the price range for its new Surface Book is because the existing Surface Book's high price level has significantly limited demand, while the detachable design also created conflict with its Surface Pro product line in terms of product position. Because of the two factors, the sources estimate that Microsoft only shipped 500,000 Surface Books in 2016.
With the Surface Book to be positioned as a traditional notebook product and feature a friendlier price level, the sources expect related shipments to reach 1.2-1.5 million units in 2017, while the Surface Pro, despite weakening demand for tablets, will enjoy on-year shipment growth of 20% to reach six million units in 2017.
However, such a strategy change is expected to impact notebook brand vendors' performance, and competition in the notebook market is also expected to remain fierce.