Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Microsoft has spent the past year pushing its Copilot AI tool in Windows, and now the company is making an even bigger move. The first wave of “Copilot+ PCs” are coming this year.

Microsoft has announced a new category of computers, called Copilot+ PCs, starting with laptops using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite chipset. The main difference with Copilot+ PCs is that they meet the hardware requirements to run newer AI features in Windows, such as Recall, Live Captions with real-time translation, and more Windows Studio Effects. It’s basically a label that says, “this PC can do all the cool AI things.”

Microsoft said in a blog post, “Organizations can deploy Copilot+ PCs to get the fastest, most intelligent Windows PC ever built. Utilizing powerful new silicon with an NPU (neural processing unit) capable of an incredible 40+ TOPS (trillion operations per second), Copilot+ PCs provide organizations an exceptional AI endpoint for work, and a foundation for your chip-to-cloud solution stack. Copilot+ PCs unlock industry leading AI acceleration with up to 2x faster NPU performance than MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.”

Screenshot of Creative Filter option in Windows Studio Effects

Copilot already started invading Windows hardware earlier this year, when laptops started shipping with dedicated Copilot keys on the keyboard. Intel previously said that the Copilot key was one of the components required to meet Microsoft’s definition of an “AI PC,” along with updated neural processing unit (NPU) and Copilot pre-installed. The new Copilot+ PCs seem to be a subset of that category.

Intel and AMD don’t have a laptop chip yet that meets the Copilot+ PC criteria—that will presumably change later this year. In the meantime, we just have computers using the Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite chipset, which are expected to start shipping in June. Microsoft announced a new Surface Laptop and Surface Pro, and other manufacturers like Lenovo have announced laptops and 2-in-1 machines with Snapdragon chips.

The minimum hardware requirements for regular Windows 11 remain unchanged, and it’s unclear right now if Windows 12 will bump up the baseline requirements. Previous rumors indicated there could be a Windows 12 release in 2024, but the AI shakeup might have changed those plans.

Source: Windows Blog

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By John P.

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