Microsoft to expand Surface Pro line with bigger display?

A next-generation Surface Pro may have the largest Surface display to date, a 12-incher, an analyst tells CNET.

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Surface Pro 2: A larger Surface Pro is coming, says IHS Technology. Brooke Crothers/CNET

A larger Surface Pro tablet may be on the way, an analyst told CNET.

"There are strong indications that there is a 12-inch product coming down the pipeline," Rhoda Alexander, who directs IHS Technology's monitor and tablet research, said, referring to Microsoft's Surface product line.

The current Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2 have 10.6-nch displays.

When asked if it's possible that a bigger Pro product will launch with the expected "Surface Mini," on May 20, Alexander said a "limited US launch is feasible" on that date, though not certain.

And it's not clear to Alexander what the branding will be. Rumors indicated today that a product -- which may or may not be the 12-inch device -- could launch as the Surface Pro 3.

With a larger Surface, Microsoft could be making a bigger play for the productivity market. Business customers often prefer bigger displays, particularly when using a mouse and keyboard. All Surface tablet products come with the option for a snap-on keyboard with an integrated touchpad.

CNET also learned last week that a new Surface Pro (again, it's not clear if that would the 12-inch model) may use an updated "power-optimized" Haswell processor, not a more power-efficient (but slower) Atom processor.

To date, Surface Pro models have used Intel processors exclusively. The latest Surface Pro 2, for example, uses an Intel Core i5-4300U processor, which is a Haswell chip.

Regarding the smaller Surface Mini, Alexander said she expects a 7.5-inch device.

Microsoft declined to comment.

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