The Microsoft Surface event on 21 September witnessed CEO Satya Nadella announce the biggest Windows 11 update in recent history with a host of other noteworthy additions, from Microsoft Copilot and its integration with Microsoft 365 to the launch of new Surface devices that are set to become available on 3 October. The Microsoft unified AI assistant has everyone holding their breath to see if it can really outperform all the other offerings on the AI market today, thanks to its considerable integration into the Windows 11 experience.
Microsoft Surface Event’s Biggest Winner: Microsoft Copilot
With new updates on generative AI reaching our devices every day, the Microsoft Copilot AI update is one that is poised to be a game-changer. The Microsoft unified AI assistant will arrive with the Windows 11 update on 26 September, seamlessly embedded across their apps and Microsoft 365 services.
From the Windows 11 desktop to the Edge browser, the Microsoft AI tool will be available with a right-click or voice activation, as well as across platforms with the Win+C keyboard shortcut. The age-old Windows Paint platform, with its new generative AI Copilot assistant, will be able to create layers and edit images through the AI feature. Editing photos will also be simplified by the AI tool. A new feature, ‘Windows Ink Anywhere’, will allow users to write inputs into textboxes that will be processed just like Copilot analyzing typed data—a useful way for users to enter formulas and mathematical information.
Copilot will also be integrated into the Microsoft Advertising Platform where users will be able to interact with it through a chat interface, but it is unclear what additional support the Microsoft AI tool will be able to offer.
Microsoft 365 Copilot: One AI to Rule Them All
Microsoft 365 Copilot will allow all its users to make the most of the AI tools in consolidating and analyzing their data, whether on PowerPoint or Excel. Users will have the option of working with the Business Chat feature, which will allow them to further integrate information from all of their personal data sources to generate ideas and resources.
The Microsoft Surface event allowed attendees to witness the AI tool’s functionality in summarizing emails and documents, drafting responses, generating plans, etc. through the M365 chat. The Microsoft unified AI assistant doesn’t just conduct research according to requests, but it is also able to provide linked sources for its results, something most AI tools are unable to do. In addition, Microsoft showcased the ‘Sound like me’ feature to better assist Copilot’s content in understanding and applying your style of communicating to its content. Innovative concepts like allowing a plug-in to connect with your travel system to simplify your travel planning emphasize the company’s focus on integration.
However, the Microsoft 365 Copilot will suffice a price – even for the users paying for 365. The company’s website reports that enterprise customers will be able to purchase the Microsoft 365 Copilot service at $30 per user per month, starting 1 November.
Windows 11 Updates Arriving on 26 September
Considered the company’s most ambitious update with over 150 features, the AI for Windows 11 is far from the only upgrade to look forward to. The Notepad has been updated with an autosave feature and quick restore on reopening the app. The familiar File Explorer interface will also see an update for better organization, with a new Gallery feature to simplify access to photos. The snipping tool will witness improvements in its data collection and extraction capabilities when paired with the AI for Windows 11. Outlook and the Windows backup system experience will also see changes with the Windows 11 version 22H2 upgrade scheduled for 26 September.
Microsoft Surface Event: What about their Surface Devices?
Reactions to the AI appear to have overshadowed the Surface laptops that the company launched alongside the Microsoft AI tool. While many users mourned the absence of Panos Panay at the Surface launch, they were still introduced to two new Surface laptops: Surface Laptop Go 3 which starts at $799.99, and Surface Laptop Studio 2, starting at $1999.99.
Surface Laptop Go 3
Microsoft’s entry-level device, touted as the lightest one yet, features a 12.4-inch touchscreen, a 12th gen Intel i5 processor, and up to 16GB RAM and 256GB storage. With a 15-hour battery life and 4 color options, the device is also expected to be 88 percent faster than the original Go model. The Microsoft Surface event showcased the laptop’s iCloud Windows integration and Clipchamp video editing app.
Surface Laptop Studio 2
The higher-end Studio 2 was credited as their most powerful laptop, now supported by the Microsoft unified AI assistant. The device has a 14.4 inch HDR PixelSense touchscreen, runs on a 13th Gen Intel i7 processor, and quotes up to 18 hours of battery life that can vary based on the NVIDIA graphics processing units that users choose. With twice as much power, users can optimize their 64GB RAM for heavy workloads. In addition, Microsoft’s Solomon Romney from the Inclusive Design team showcased the laptop’s inclusive touchpad through its adaptive touch feature on the keyboard. He also highlighted Microsoft’s adaptive accessories that allowed increased useability for those who might not be able to use a laptop’s traditional touchpad or mouse feature.
The capabilities of the Surface Laptop Studio 2 were phenomenally showcased during the Microsoft Surface event and it is evident that the company is making moves into the laptop market more seriously this time, rather than remaining at the comparatively small 2.1 percent market share of PC shipments they held in 2022. With the Microsoft 365 Copilot integration as well as the Microsoft AI tool for Windows 11, Microsoft is pushing the boundaries of what AI can do for us today.