Everything announced including new Surface laptops, Copilot+ PC and more

Everything announced including new Surface laptops, Copilot+ PC and more

Microsoft just couldn’t wait until its Build developer conference properly starts tomorrow to drop some knowledge bombs. The company held a pre-Build event on Monday that wasn’t livestreamed for the public, but it made some major announcements on the AI and Surface fronts.

Its vision for so-called AI PCs is taking shape with Copilot+ PCs, which are designed to run many generative AI processes locally instead of in the cloud. Along with its own Surface systems that will adopt this format, several other manufacturers are making Copilot+ PCs too. Microsoft also detailed some of the upcoming AI features for Windows 11.

The big news coming out of this event is Microsoft’s vision for AI-centric PCs. Microsoft’s take on this is the Copilot+ PC.

To qualify as a Copilot+ PC, a system will need to have neural processing unit (NPU) performance of at least 40 TOPs (trillions of operations per second) and have 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage at minimum. This is so the PC can run generative AI processes locally rather than via the cloud. That’s a strategy we’ve seen in some recent flagship smartphones, such as Google Pixel devices.

Microsoft says it has completely reimagined the Windows PC to run on a new infrastructure that combines the CPU, GPU and NPU. It’s working with several partners to make this happen, including chipmakers AMD, Intel and Qualcomm as well as laptop manufacturers.

The company claims Copilot+ PCs are 58 percent faster than the M3-powered MacBook Air. The systems will be able to run dozens of multi-modal small language models locally, which will power features like a new standalone Copilot app.

Microsoft unveiled new business-focused Surface devices a couple of months ago and now the latest consumer models are just about here. Of course, these are among the first Copilot+ PCs.

The new Surface Laptop has thinner bezels and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite chipset. It comes in 13.8-inch and 15-inch sizes. Microsoft says it’s over 86 percent faster than the Surface Pro 5 and comes with up to 32GB of RAM and up to 1TB of SSD storage.

The switch to Arm architecture should help make the laptop more power efficient. Microsoft claims the 15-inch model will run for up to 22 hours on a single charge while playing videos locally and up to 15 hours while actively browsing the web. The Surface Laptop starts at $999 and will ship on June 18.

Meanwhile, the Surface Pro will have a snazzy OLED display option for the first time. It’s said to be 90 percent faster than the previous generation and you seemingly get up to 14 hours of local video playback on a single charge. Sadly, the only ports you’ll get are two USB-C ones.

A version with an LCD screen starts at $1,000 and it comes with a Snapdragon X Plus chip, 256GB of storage and 16GB of RAM. If you want the OLED display, pricing starts at $1,500. Bear in mind that if you want a physical keyboard, you’ll need to buy that separately. The new Flex Keyboard costs $350, or $450 if you want to bundle in a Surface Pen.

Catch up on all the news from Microsoft’s Copilot AI and Surface event today!

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