Microsoft Pivots Windows to AI OS, Launching Copilot+ PCs

Microsoft is debuting a new category of Windows PCs optimized for artificial intelligence. Called Copilot+ PCs, the tech giant is initially introducing it on Surface devices and through OEMs Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Samsung. Availability begins June 18, with pre-orders starting now at prices of $999 and up. Microsoft says the new architeccture powers “the fastest, most intelligent Windows PCs ever built,” with silicon capable of 40+ TOPS (trillion operations per second) as well as “all–day battery life and access to the most advanced AI models.” The company describes this new wave of PCs as “just the beginning.”

“Copilot+ PCs will enable you to do things you can’t on any other PC,” such as “easily find and remember what you have seen in your PC with Recall, generate and refine AI images in near real-time directly on the device using Cocreator, and bridge language barriers with Live Captions, translating audio from 40+ languages into English,” Microsoft explains in a blog post.

A video of the introductory presentation this week ahead of Microsoft’s annual Build conference shares highlights of the announcement and showcases the company’s new Surface Laptop and Surface Pro (pictured below), emphasizing speed and battery power.

“The first Copilot+ PCs will pack Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite and Plus chips, which Microsoft claims delivers up to 15 hours of web browsing and 20 hours of video battery life,” TechCrunch writes, noting “chipmakers Intel and AMD are also committed to building processors for Copilot+ devices” in partnership the aforementioned Microsoft OEMs.

The new system architecture unifies the power of the CPU, GPU and, additionally, a new high performance Neural Processing Unit (NPU). The hardware is “connected to and enhanced by the large language models (LLMs)” running in the Azure Cloud “in concert with small language models (SLMs)” run locally.

Engadget says the configuration “will power features like a new standalone Copilot app” and reiterates performance benchmarks shared on the Microsoft blog.

The latest Surface devices include a Surface Laptop with a 13.8- or 15-inch display that “lasts up to 22 hours on a charge and is up to 86 percent faster than the Surface Laptop 5” and “supports Wi-Fi 7,” per TechCrunch, which says the new Surface Pro is up to 90 percent faster than its predecessor, the Surface Pro 9, “and it sports a new OLED with HDR display, Wi-Fi 7 (and optional 5G) and an upgraded ultrawide front-facing camera.”

Both models support haptic feedback.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on How AI Copilot+ PCs Beat Macs (Video), The Wall Street Journal, 5/20/24
Satya Nadella on Microsoft’s New CoPilot+ and the Future of AI PCs (Video), The Wall Street Journal, 5/20/24
I Tried Microsoft’s New AI-Focused PCs. Windows Is Exciting Again, The Wall Street Journal, 5/20/24
Microsoft Says “Prism” Translation Layer Does for Arm PCs What Rosetta Did for Macs, Ars Technica, 5/20/24
Microsoft Thinks It Found a Way to Make PCs Relevant Again, CNN, 5/20/24
Microsoft Will Build AI into New Laptops, Firing Shot at Apple, The Washington Post, 5/20/24
Microsoft Build Showed What Laptops with Qualcomm’s AI PC Chip Can Do, CNET, 5/20/24
All the Copilot+ PCs Announced at Microsoft’s Surface Event, The Verge, 5/20/24
AI Isn’t the Star of Microsoft’s Copilot+ PC Push — Improved Arm Support Is, Engadget, 5/20/24
Intel, AMD Take a Back Seat as Qualcomm Takes Center Stage in Microsoft’s AI PC Push, The Register, 5/21/24
Recall Is Microsoft’s Key to Unlocking the Future of PCs, The Verge, 5/20/24
How Copilot+ PCs Could Make Enterprises Beholden to Microsoft, VentureBeat, 5/21/24
Microsoft Fabric Gets Real-Time Intelligence to Produce Instant Insights from Streaming Data, VentureBeat, 5/21/24

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