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Microsoft’s AI PC: What New Features Can We Expect?

Last Updated March 10, 2024 11:12 AM
Giuseppe Ciccomascolo
Last Updated March 10, 2024 11:12 AM

Key Takeaways

  • Microsoft is positioning itself as a leader in artificial intelligence integration with its new “AI PC” concept.
  • New devices will boast new processors with powerful NPUs.
  • AI Explorer may replace the old Internet Explorer.
  • What are the other features?

Latest rumors  suggest that Windows is gearing up to unveil the highly anticipated Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6 on March 21. They are being promoted as the ultimate example of ‘AI PC’ technology. This feature demonstrates how the digital assistant is becoming a central part of various Microsoft programs, including Word and Teams.

With the launch event just around the corner, the tech community is abuzz with anticipation, speculating on the additional features that Satya Nadella’s innovative company might unveil alongside Copilot in these new devices.

New Features On AI PCs

According to TrendForce and Tom’s Hardware USA, Microsoft has set a minimum requirement of 16 GB of RAM for upcoming artificial intelligence (AI) PCs running Windows. Additionally, to achieve the AI PC designation, these systems must deliver a minimum computing power of 40 TOPS (TeraOPS).

The status of notebooks equipped with the first generation of Core Ultra CPUs, code-named Meteor Lake, remains uncertain at this time. The newly introduced Intel chip from December boasts a combined CPU, GPU, and NPU power of 34 TOPS. As a result, systems may need to consider the contribution of the dedicated GPU to meet the crucial threshold. Whether the dedicated GPU will be included remains uncertain, but it shouldn’t pose a significant obstacle for notebooks or desktop PCs released in recent years.

These laptops will boast new Intel Core Ultra or Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite processors with the latest neural processing units. These processors will enhance artificial intelligence capabilities. Positioned for efficient and high-performance competition with Apple‘s MacBook Pro, upcoming Surface devices are expected to introduce exclusive features like subtitles.

Not only that, they will provide real-time translations, optimizations for gaming and graphics processing, and the distinctive AI Explorer feature. Windows Central highlights AI Explorer as the defining feature setting AI PCs apart from the competition.

AI Explorer will enable users to search documents, web pages, images, and chats using natural language within any application. It will also maintain a searchable history of a user’s activities on the computer. These AI-driven features will be part of the fall 2024 H2 update for Windows 11, although not all features may be available on devices currently in the market.

First New Keyboard After 30 Years

Yusuf Mehdi, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Consumers, announced  the addition of the new AI key on keyboards on January 4, 2024. This key, launching Copilot, marks the first keyboard addition in 30 years for the company founded by Bill Gates. It would replace the Windows button between CTRL and Alt on the keyboard.

With the Copilot key, users can focus on their ideas and content creation while the AI assists with grammar, spelling, and sentence structure.

Copilot is now integrated into various applications in the latest version of Windows 11. Users can activate it by pressing the dedicated key on their keyboard. It then opens a pane on the right side of the screen displaying Copilot’s suggestions. Users can then accept, reject, or use these suggestions as a starting point for their typing.

Copilot represents a cutting-edge AI-powered feature seamlessly integrated into the Windows operating system. By leveraging Microsoft‘s extensive language model trained on vast datasets of text and code, Copilot comprehends the context of the user’s input and provides relevant word and phrase suggestions in real-time.

AI Explorer To Replace Defunct Internet Explorer

But that’s not all. Microsoft is also delving into an upscaling feature known as Automatic Super Resolution, akin to Nvidia‘s DLSS. It aims at enhancing the fluidity and visual performance of games through the utilization of artificial intelligence.

Moreover, another significant innovation in terms of AI integration could come in the form of AI Explorer. Speculation suggests that AI Explorer might function as an advanced iteration of Copilot. It will be capable of tracking and comprehending activities performed on the PC to provide answers and suggestions regarding actions, applications, and files during searches.

For instance, users could pose questions in natural language and receive intelligent responses from the AI, which would scour documents, images, history, or conversations for answers. Additionally, the AI could engage with users by proffering useful suggestions or actions based on their current activities.

Further rumors indicate that Microsoft is enhancing Windows Studio Effects. Accordingly, the upcoming version of Windows 11 24H2 will feature a dedicated icon on the taskbar for this purpose.

Will Competitors Launch AI-Powered PCs?

Dozens of AI PCs were announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, including those branded Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG, and Samsung.

“There is a trend in the AI sector toward fragmentation, where smaller, more specific AI models are being built for consumer use cases. These smaller models are often designed to work on local devices, and can have some very exciting capabilities,” Mark Rydon, CEO of Aethir , told CCN.
Microsoft’s AI PCs are a meaningful step forward in integrating AI into everyday computing. They reflect a demand we’ve seen from early movers in the AI space, particularly for features like AI Explorer which have proven to be quite popular among users.”
“The most exciting part however, is that this is only the beginning. This hardware will be increasingly suitable for future advancements in the AI space, unlocking the capability for technology like “AI agents” to be deployed on consumer devices, which has the potential to revolutionize how we interact with the digital world,” Rydon added.
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