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Microsoft’s mysterious event: New phones? Surface Pro 4?

Microsoft has announced a Windows 10 hardware event in New York City on October 6. Tech sites are reporting that Microsoft will unveil a pair of new Lumia phones, a Surface Pro 4 tablet, and a new Microsoft Band fitness tracker.

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    Microsoft announced it will hold a Windows 10 hardware event on October 6. Here, Microsoft Surface equipment is shown on the sidelines at an NFL preseason game in New Orleans on August 30, 2015.
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Microsoft has begun sending out slightly mysterious invitations to media outlets to attend a launch event in New York on October 6.

“We have some exciting news to share about Windows 10 devices,” the invitation reads, offering no other information beyond the hashtag #Windows10devices.

Several reliable tech sites, including The Verge and Ars Technica, are reporting that Microsoft will unveil a pair of flagship Windows 10 phones, code-named Cityman and Talkman, at the event. Earlier leaks suggest that the phones will be part of the Lumia line and will have large 5.2-inch and 5.7-inch screens paired with six- and eight-core Qualcomm processors, USB Type C connectors, and wireless charging capabilities. The leaks also suggest that the phones will be able to scan the iris of a user’s eye using infrared, which will provide a security method of logging in to the phone.

This kind of biometric login – identifying users by their fingerprint or their face, rather than by a username and password combination – was introduced earlier this year as Windows Hello, which Microsoft says will make your phone, tablet, and computer more secure and more personal than traditional login methods. The system, which hasn’t rolled out yet, uses enterprise-grade security to encrypt a user’s biometric data on the device, and never sends that data over the Internet.

The Verge also reports that Microsoft will also unveil the Surface Pro 4, the newest version of its tablet-with-a-kickstand, at the October 6th event. No specs of the device have been leaked, but it’s not much of a stretch to predict that it will be powered by Intel’s new Skylake CPU and will retain the same basic layout so that Surface Pro 3 keyboards and accessories aren’t suddenly rendered useless.

The Surface Pro 4 is also likely to feature Windows Hello supported by an infrared camera or a keyboard fingerprint sensor: after all, Microsoft wants to be able to show that its first-party hardware supports the new login system.

There’s been “talk” of a new version of the Microsoft Band fitness device, according to Ars Technica, although the Band couldn’t really be considered Windows 10 hardware. The original Microsoft Band, introduced last October, includes a bevy of sensors for monitoring everything from heart rate to skin temperature. Unlike the Apple Watch, the Band is limited almost entirely to crunching fitness data, so the next version might include more apps and services to allow it to replace your current timepiece.

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