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Microsoft will reveal new hardware and software on Tuesday -- here’s what to expect

  • Microsoft is holding a press conference on May 2 in NYC
  • We'll see new hardware and software, including possibly "Windows 10 Cloud," aimed at the education market
  • Surface Pro 5 probably won't be on display

Microsoft is holding a press conference on Tuesday morning in New York City — and while the company hasn't made anything official, they've hinted at what they might reveal.

Microsoft has already confirmed that the event will focus around education, which is a market that it needs to focus on as it continues to fight against Google Chromebooks and Apple iPads. Many people expect Microsoft to introduce a new "cloud" version of Windows — likely called Windows 10 Cloud — that's not as robust as the full version of Windows 10.

The cloud version of Windows 10 would presumably compete against Chrome OS, which powers Chromebooks, and may let Microsoft sell more affordable computers with less powerful (and thus less expensive) processors. It's unclear exactly how Windows 10 Cloud will operate, or what sort of features may be kept or left out.

Recall a few years ago Microsoft launched both Windows 8 and a watered-down version called Windows 8 RT. The latter failed miserably, and consumers seemed confused about which version of Windows to buy. If it tries this strategy again tomorrow, Microsoft will need to make it much more clear how Windows 10 Cloud compares to a standard version of Windows 10.

There will be new hardware at the event — either from Microsoft or its partners — but investors won't see something that's becoming more and more important: A new Surface Pro.

Microsoft is not currently planning to announce the Surface Pro 5 during the event, though it would be wise give some information on when it will be released. The company blamed a decline in Surface sales as one reason for its third quarter revenue miss. While it introduced new Surface products, including the Surface Book with Performance Base and Surface Studio, both are far more expensive than its Surface Pro 4 product, which doubles as a tablet and a notebook computer. The Surface Pro 4 hasn't been refreshed since October 2015.

Microsoft hasn't indicated when it plans to launch the Surface Pro 5, but it won't be tomorrow. Instead, expect to see low-cost education devices and Windows 10 Cloud.