AI Meets Laptops: Microsoft’s New Copilot Plus PCs

Microsoft is taking a significant step to integrate AI into laptops, introducing a new branding called “Copilot Plus PCs.” This branding will highlight Windows laptops equipped with AI hardware and support for AI features across the operating system.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella introduces the Copilot Plus PC branding. Image: Allison Johnson

At an event at Microsoft’s headquarters, CEO Satya Nadella announced that all major laptop partners, including Dell, Lenovo, Samsung, HP, Acer, and Asus, will offer Copilot Plus PCs. Microsoft is also launching two of its own models under the Surface line. While there is a strong push to bring Arm chips to Windows laptops, Nadella confirmed that laptops with Intel and AMD chips will also support these AI features.

These capabilities are enabled by a neural processor included in the laptops. A flagship feature, “Recall,” uses AI to create a searchable “photographic memory” of everything you’ve done and seen on your PC. The laptops will run over 40 AI models within Windows 11 to support these new features. Additionally, Microsoft’s built-in AI assistant, Copilot, will now support OpenAI’s GPT-4o model, introduced last week.

Yusuf Mehdi, the Microsoft executive overseeing Windows, stated that the new laptops will be “58 percent faster” than a MacBook Air with an M3 processor and boast “all day” battery life. However, Mehdi did not clarify if this applies to all Copilot Plus PC laptops or just those switching to Qualcomm’s Arm-based processors. Microsoft anticipates selling 50 million laptops under the Copilot Plus PC branding over the next year.

Copilot Plus PCs will need to meet specific requirements to ensure they deliver the promised performance. They must have at least a 256GB SSD, an integrated neural processor, and 16GB of RAM—double the starting RAM of a MacBook Air. The Arm-based models with Qualcomm chips are expected to offer up to 15 hours of web browsing battery life.

Microsoft is positioning these devices as the beginning of a new era for Windows laptops. The shift to Arm-based chips, which Microsoft has previously struggled with, could significantly improve battery life. The new AI features are designed to work across different processor hardware, representing two major bets on unproven hardware and software that could be transformative if successful.

“Today is kind of a special day. We get to reimagine the platform that fuels our work and passion … on a new category of PCs,” Mehdi remarked at the event.

The first Copilot Plus PCs will launch on June 18th, featuring Qualcomm processors. Models with Intel and AMD processors will follow at a later date.

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