Microsoft’s ‘year of the AI PC’ is becoming real

Ahead of the company’s annual developer conference kicking off Tuesday, Microsoft announced its latest push into artificial intelligence with new branding named Copilot Plus PCs. The brand will denote Microsoft laptops that come equipped with AI hardware and support for AI applications.

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Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said at a media briefing Monday that the new PCs will be available from all of the company’s major laptop partners, including Dell and HP, according to The Verge. Microsoft’s Surface laptops will also include Copilot Plus PCs. 

The company was expected to unveil a new version of its Surface Pro tablet and Surface Laptop powered by Snapdragon X Elite chips from Qualcomm and designed by Arm. Qualcomm’s processors are likely to be on par with the processors it’s replacing from Intel. Nadella added that Microsoft laptops fitted with chips from Intel and AMD will also feature AI capabilities.

The new Surface Pro and Surface Laptop will include NPUs, or neural processing units, which are hardware accelerators built to support AI applications on the devices.

One of the new AI PC features, “Recall,” uses AI to build a “photographic memory” of a user’s laptop activity that they can then search. The company also said Microsoft Copilot will be upgraded to support the new ChatGPT-4o.

Apart from AI updates, Microsoft is expected to announce updates to its Surface devices, including more memory to support AI applications, and changes to the build of the models.

In January, Microsoft upgraded its PCs to allow users to prompt an AI chatbot with their keyboard. Microsoft announced new Windows keyboards would feature a Copilot key for its AI-powered assistant, Copilot — its first major keyboard update in almost two decades. The Copilot key replaces the menu key.

In the keyboard update, Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s consumer chief marketing officer, said 2024 would be “the year of the AI PC.”

“In this new year, we will be ushering in a significant shift toward a more personal and intelligent computing future where AI will be seamlessly woven into Windows from the system, to the silicon, to the hardware,” Mehdi said.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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