Intel recently previewed its upcoming energy-efficient versions of the Y-series Core processors that will consume as little as 4.5W power. These chips are expected to power fanless tablets and Intel so far has not revealed any upcoming tablet designs that will be using this chip. I expect Microsoft to refresh its Surface Pro device with this new chips for better battery performance. The 4.5W chips will have same 11.5W thermal design power rating as their 6W counter parts.
There are obvious implications for the next-generation of Microsoft’s Surface Pro. It’s unclear whether Microsoft will wait until Broadwell to reduce the thickness of Surface Pro, or if it’ll go with a Y-series Haswell ULX part this year and release something that’s much thinner immediately. The challenges Microsoft would face there are similar to those Apple faced with the 2013 MacBook Air, namely Microsoft would have to be accepting of a CPU performance regression but a significant improvement in battery life (and form factor). Broadwell should deliver (some of) the best of both worlds, but that’s another year/generation of waiting for Microsoft.