MY KOLKATA EDUGRAPH
ADVERTISEMENT
regular-article-logo Saturday, 15 June 2024

Making sense of everything Microsoft announced at its Surface event

At a keynote ahead of its annual Build developer conference this week, Microsoft revealed a new lineup of Windows machines called Copilot+ PCs and generative AI-powered features like Recall, which helps users find apps, files and other content they’ve viewed in the past

Mathures Paul Published 22.05.24, 07:30 AM
 Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella unveiling a new category of PC on Monday that features generative artificial intelligence tools built directly into Windows

 Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella unveiling a new category of PC on Monday that features generative artificial intelligence tools built directly into Windows Picture: Getty Images

Microsoft wants to make the presence of generative AI stronger across Windows and the PCs that are running it. The company has announced new computers with its AI technology built directly into them, which chief executive Satya Nadella believes will convince users to choose a PC instead of a computer made by Apple.

At a keynote ahead of its annual Build developer conference this week, Microsoft revealed a new lineup of Windows machines called Copilot+ PCs and generative AI-powered features like Recall, which helps users find apps, files and other content they’ve viewed in the past. Copilot — Microsoft’s brand of generative AI — will also be far more tightly integrated into the Windows 11 experience. Here are the key takeaways.

ADVERTISEMENT

The announcements come a week after Google highlighted new AI features and products of its own at its conference and ChatGPT-maker OpenAI unveiled a new version of its chatbot last week, demonstrating an AI voice assistant with human characteristics. Apple is preparing to make an AI splash at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference on June 10.

Recall works like a photographic memory for your PC

Recall works like a photographic memory for your PC

Copilot+ PCs

These are PCs that highlight the company’s growing focus on flagship AI-first Windows hardware. These devices come with the Arm-based Snapdragon X Elite and Plus processors from Qualcomm and will later feature Intel and AMD chips. The machines include dedicated chips called NPUs to power experiences like Recall and they ship with 16GB of RAM minimum, paired with SSD storage.

Microsoft says Copilot+ PCs are 58 per cent faster than the M3 MacBook Air. Beyond Microsoft’s new Surface devices, Lenovo, Dell, Acer, Asus, and HP are launching Copilot+ devices designed to support new AI features.

Microsoft claims that the PCs coming with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite and Plus chips will deliver up to 15 hours of web browsing and 20 hours of video battery life. Chipmakers Intel and AMD are also preparing to build processors for Copilot+ devices in partnership with a range of manufacturers.

Copilot+ PCs are the fastest, most intelligent Windows PCs ever built

Copilot+ PCs are the fastest, most intelligent Windows PCs ever built Picture: Microsoft

Recall feature

An important feature that Microsoft has announced with Copilot+ PCs is Recall, a tool that runs locally on your device. It keeps track of everything you do on your computer, allowing you to search for and retrieve the content you’ve interacted with.

It will enable the AI assistant to “access virtually what you have seen or done on your PC in a way that feels like having photographic memory”. Microsoft promises to protect users’ privacy by giving them the option to filter out what they don’t want tracked.

At the event, Microsoft product manager Caroline Hernandez gave an example of searching for a blue dress on Pinterest using a Windows PC with Recall. She was able to search the Recall timeline for a “blue dress” (using her voice), which brought up all of her recent searches without having to sift through browser history.

It can also find specific emails, documents or chat threads you’ve on your PC. The company says Recall uses semantic associations to make connections, like it can connect the term “peacock” to blue hues in the dress search.

It will also make possible to “recall” a conversation you’ve had in apps or even a specific PowerPoint slide you were working on. Microsoft says Recall’s processing is all done locally and the data will not be used to train future AI models.

Surface Laptop “faster” than a MacBook Air?

Microsoft has revealed the new Surface Laptop, which comes with a refreshed design featuring thinner bezels and a haptic touchpad. The company was eager to show how its new ARM-based PCs could outperform Apple’s M3 MacBook Airs, both in performance as well as battery life.

The new Microsoft Surface laptop

The new Microsoft Surface laptop

Microsoft says the device is much faster than its previous generation and offers up to 22 hours of local video playback. The Surface Laptop 6 comes in 13.8- and 15-inch display options.

Surface Pro gets an OLED display option

Microsoft’s new Surface Pro will come with Snapdragon X Elite and Plus chips from Qualcomm and is up to 90 per cent faster than the previous Surface Pro, besides coming with an option for an OLED display panel for the first time. It’s compatible with a new Surface Pro Flex Keyboard that works when attached or detached from the device. It will be interesting to see how Apple’s M4 chip fares against the Surface offerings. The latest iPad Pro is already using an M4 chip, and the MacBook lines shouldn’t be far behind.

Eyeing GPT-4o model

Copilot, Microsoft's AI assistant in Windows 11 and Bing, will begin using GPT-4o, the latest OpenAI technology. This newest version of Copilot will be able to answer questions and generate text with more accuracy, while also having voice and computer vision support.

Follow us on:
ADVERTISEMENT