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Surface 2? Microsoft sets Sept. 23 tablet event

Surface invite from Microsoft
Microsoft's stark invite hints at news on the next generation Surface products.

Microsoft just sent around an invitation to a Sept. 23 event in New York where it will unveil news about the company's Surface tablets. That's all the scant, colorless invite says, but newshounds in the Windows community can fill in some of the blanks.

The low-priced Surface 2 tablet will get more competitive specs, says WinSuperSite.com's Paul Thurrott, a longtime Microsoft watcher, most notably, a high-resolution 1080p screen. That's a visible step up from the current Surface RT — about a million more pixels crammed into the same 10.6-in. screen. The device will also have a faster processor (naturally), but roughly the same battery life, size and thickness, says Thurrott.

There will probably also be some news on the Surface Pro front. If you recall, the Pro recently got a permanent price reduction to $799. This was probably to clear the way for a new model that is, spec-wise, a "modest upgrade," according to Windows rumor site Neowin.net, but has an ace up its sleeve, battery-life-wise, in the form of a Power Cover. 

What's a Power Cover? Well, if you recall anything about the Surface line, it's that — for some extra dough — you can add a neat, colorful keyboard case. The alleged Power Cover would have an extra battery that could power the tablet. Presumably, it also has a keyboard built in.

Neowin notes that the Surface Pro 2 is likely to have better battery life even without the Power Cover, because it will be powered by a more efficient chipset.

All of this is happening in time for the Windows 8.1 launch, an operating system update that lets Microsoft double down on its tablet strategy while answering the gripes of Windows devotees who want more classic Desktop, not less. (Start button still not included.)

Whether any of this is enough to get people excited about the all-new, finger-friendly Windows remains to be seen. While Windows 8 devices have been selling, there's not exactly a groundswell of love for them, and Microsoft's own devices have pretty much zero momentum.

Wilson Rothman is the Technology & Science editor at NBC News Digital. Catch up with him on Twitter at @wjrothman, and join our conversation on Facebook.