Microsoft's Surface and AI Event: What's in Store for 2023?
Microsoft is holding its event in New York City on September 21, 2023, where the tech giant is expected to debut three new Surface devices and AI-powered features for Windows, Office, Bing, Surface, and many more other features.
The news of this event arrived just a few days after Panos Panay, Microsoft's former head of Windows and Surface, resigned.
What Are the Expected Announcements?
Microsoft is rumoured to be launching three new Surface devices at its special event, including a Surface Laptop Studio 2.
The Surface Laptop Studio 2 has already leaked, and it is expected to feature a number of upgrades over the original model, including:
- Intel 13th Gen processors
- Nvidia RTX 4060 GPU
- 64GB of RAM
- microSD card slot
- USB-A port
The Surface Laptop Studio 2 is also expected to have a similar design to the original, with a display that pulls forward to transform from laptop to tablet.
Microsoft is rumoured to start shipping the Surface Laptop Studio 2 on October 3rd.
The Surface Laptop Studio 2 is rumoured to be the star of the show on the Surface side. The Surface Go 4 is expected to ship with an Intel N200 processor inside. It is expected to maintain a similar design to the prior Surface Go 3 model.
The Surface Laptop Go 3 is expected to ship with Intel's 12th-generation CPUs. It is also expected to ship in early October.
AI-Powered Windows features
Microsoft is also expected to announce a number of new AI-powered features for Windows during its special event.
One of the most anticipated features is Windows Copilot, an AI "personal assistant." This feature is expected to help users with tasks such as scheduling meetings, writing documents, and even coding.
Other rumoured AI-powered Windows features include:
- AI-powered translation in real-time
- AI-powered writing assistance
- AI-powered search enhancements
Surface AI features
Steven Bathiche, the head of Microsoft’s applied sciences group told The Verge that AI “will have a potentially profound impact on how you use your computer and how it will essentially evolve in regards to its form.”
The Surface team has been focused on AI for years now, with features like Windows Studio Effects.
These first started shipping on the Arm-powered Surface Pro X in 2020 with a feature that automatically adjusts your eyes during a video call to make it appear like you’re always making eye contact through the camera.
These AI features rely on a dedicated neural processing unit (NPU), a chip that offloads AI processing tasks and has only been available in Arm-powered Surface devices so far.
Microsoft shipped the Surface Pro 9 Arm version with an NPU last year, and Windows Central reports that the Surface Laptop Studio 2 may even feature its own dedicated NPU.
However, things are changing. AMD’s Ryzen 7000 mobile processors were the first x86 mobile chips to contain a dedicated AI engine that can support Microsoft’s Windows Studio Effects, including eye contact and background noise removal.
Intel’s upcoming Meteor Lake chips are also expected to include similar AI capabilities.
It’s not clear what NPU Microsoft is reportedly using inside the Surface Laptop Studio 2, but it could lay the groundwork for the additional AI experiences Microsoft is planning for Windows 11 and beyond.
Microsoft also turned to AI to help power its Surface smart camera recently, so there’s a chance we might see other accessories that leverage AI smarts for Surface.
Microsoft's Copilot AI features for Office and Bing
Microsoft's special event is also expected to focus on Surface and Windows, but I'm also expecting to hear more about the company's Copilot AI plans for Microsoft 365 and Office apps.
Microsoft Copilot is a set of AI-powered features that can help businesses instantly summarize documents, generate emails, and speed up Excel analysis.
Microsoft Copilot is a chance for Microsoft to compete with similar AI-powered features from Google Workspace, Zoom, and Slack.
Microsoft also started rolling out a preview of Bing Chat Enterprise earlier this year. Bing Chat Enterprise is essentially the same as Bing Chat that is available to consumers but with added commercial data protection.