A new era for Windows 11 and the Surface computing device portfolio was inaugurated by Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President and Consumer Chief Marketing Officer of Microsoft, following the recent departure of former Surface boss Panos Panay. The vital theme underlying this transformation is the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into the Surface line-up and operating system.
Two key developments were discussed during the annual Surface keynote. Firstly, the latest additions to the Surface portfolio were unveiled, and secondly, the pathway for AI integration in Windows 11 was highlighted. On both fronts, Microsoft provided clear insights.
On September 26, an update for Windows 11 will be introduced, different from the usual monthly or quarterly updates. It should not be mistaken for the Windows 11 23H2 update, which is scheduled to roll out later. The new additions to the Surface device range include the Surface Laptop Studio 2 and the Surface Laptop Go 3, embodying Microsoft’s strategy of building on a solid foundation rather than experimenting with new form factors.
Windows Copilot, a new feature initially demonstrated over the summer, will be made available to consumers. It includes a Bing Chat feature integrated within Windows and accessible directly from the taskbar. While still in the preview stage, it will have the ability to answer queries using context and web searches, launch apps, and control settings on the PC. Additional capabilities, such as email and text composition, will be introduced in various stages.
OpenAI’s DALL.E 3 model will now power the Bing Image creator, an AI text to image creation tool. It has an improved understanding of context and a wider knowledge base for creating user-requested images. Microsoft Designer will also be integrated into Bing for enhanced accessibility, extending Microsoft’s existing partnership with OpenAI which uses the GPT model as the foundation for the Bing AI chatbot.
The forthcoming Windows 11 update will introduce a host of other features. The File Explorer is set to receive a comprehensive redesign, including a new Gallery feature for photo collections. The Outlook app will also be updated, offering streamlined calendar and email access across different accounts, with AI providing potentially helpful suggestions during email composition. Improvements to Windows Backup will simplify the process for users switching to a new PC, ensuring a seamless replication of all settings.
AI tools are set to enhance applications such as Paint, Photos, Clipchamp, and Notepad. Additionally, a new Ink Anywhere feature will enable users of a stylus with their Windows 11 PC to handwrite in any text box within Windows, which will then be converted to text according to the form format.
The Surface Laptop Studio 2 and the Surface Laptop Go 3, Microsoft’s hardware refresh for 2023, cater to two distinct user needs – powerful computing devices that can replace traditional desktops, and ultra-slim portability without compromising on user experience.
The Surface Laptop Studio 2 features updated Intel Core processors and new Nvidia graphics, a 14.4-inch PixelSense Flow touch display, and a hinge that allows the display to be placed in three different positions. The Surface Laptop Go 3 is equipped with the latest generation Intel chips and is touted to be 88% faster than its predecessor. It also boasts of a 12.4-inch touchscreen and enhanced power management leading to a battery life of up to 15 hours on a single charge.
Mehdi emphasised the benefits of a tightly integrated ecosystem, stating, “We have been investing in silicon advancements to augment this next wave of AI innovation, unlocking experiences like Windows Studio Effects in Surface Pro 9 with 5G and continuing to increase performance to run the latest AI models with powerful devices like the new Surface Laptop Studio 2.”