It was Microsoft's turn to step up to the plate and hold a fall hardware event on Thursday. Although Surface devices were the name of the game, there was a heavy — and I mean heavy — focus on AI. In the company's first event since longtime Chief Product Officer Panos Panay departed this week (reportedly for Amazon), Microsoft revealed a pair of new consumer laptops and a whole lot of Copilot AI news.
Copilot and other AI updates
Microsoft spent most of the event talking about AI and Copilot. In fact, the hardware almost seemed like an afterthought. The company is unifying the Copilot AI assistant across its suite of products. Copilot will be available more broadly as part of a Windows 11 update that will arrive on September 26.
Copilot is built into Windows and it will appear in apps such as Edge. You'll be activate Copilot with your voice or a right click. You might use Copilot to organize windows on your desktop, delete the backgrounds from photos or even generate a Spotify playlist.
The assistant will be able to pull context from your phone. For example, by reading information you receive from your airline via text message, Copilot can pull up your flight information. A shopping-focused version of Copilot is on the way too.
Copilot works with a new feature called Windows Ink Anywhere. You'll be able to use a pen to, for instance, snip a screenshot of a math problem. Copilot can then solve the problem and explain how it reached that solution.
Enterprise users will need to wait a little longer to make use of Copilot in the Microsoft 365 suite. It will be generally available starting on November 1 for $30 per user per month. Microsoft says Copilot can summarize meetings and prioritize tasks based on what's in your inbox. In Outlook, it will be able to draft emails in a way that mimics your writing style and voice, according to the company.
Elsewhere, Bing Image Creator will soon employ the DALL-E 3 model to generate more realistic-looking images. It will include an attribution to note that an image was AI generated.
Bing will also be able to prioritize search results based on your chat history. If you often ask the Bing chatbot about a certain sports team, the search engine may prioritize results accordingly. You can switch this function off, if you prefer (or you can simply avoid using the chatbot).
Surface Laptop Go 3
Oh yes, there was some pesky new hardware to discuss too. Microsoft showed off the Surface Laptop Go 3, a 12.4-inch touchscreen notebook designed for portability. It weighs just 2.49 pounds and it has a 12th-gen Intel Core i5 CPU. Microsoft says it's 88 percent faster than the original Surface Laptop Go from three years ago.
The Surface Laptop Go 3 will be available in four colors — Platinum, Sage, Sandstone and Ice Blue — and it starts at $799. You can get your hands on the system on October 3. We've already had the chance to try it, so be sure to check out our first impressions.
Surface Laptop Studio 2
On the higher end is the Surface Laptop Studio 2. Microsoft says this is the most powerful Surface it has built to date. It has an Intel 13th-gen i7 H class processor and up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 GPU. You can have up to 2TB of storage and 64GB of RAM as well.
The Surface Laptop Studio 2 has a 14.4-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The screen can tilt forward this time around. Elsewhere, there's an intriguing trackpad that seemingly rolls in some features from Microsoft's accessibility-focused Adaptive Mouse as well as a slot for a microSD card.
Notably, the Surface Laptop Studio 2 has a neural processing unit that can power AI effects. Microsoft says this is the first Intel NPU in a Windows laptop. Meanwhile, the company is bundling in the Surface Slim Pen 2.
Follow all of the news live from Microsoft’s 2023 Surface event right here.