What to expect from Microsoft’s ‘special’ Surface and AI event

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Microsoft is holding a “special event” in New York City this weekend where it’s expected to debut three new Surface devices and AI-driven features for Windows, Office, Bing, Surface and more.

The event comes days after the sudden resignation of Panos Panay, former head of Windows and Surface at Microsoft. We’ll now see how the new leaders of Windows and Surface fare with Microsoft’s big AI plans.

Here, we’ll cover how and when you can follow the event live, along with new product announcements we expect to see from Microsoft.

When is Microsoft’s “Special Event” happening?

The press event will begin at 7AM PT / 10AM ET on Thursday, September 21, making it the first in-person Surface event since the pandemic. Former Windows and Surface chief Panos Panay won’t be presenting, but perhaps we’ll see consumer marketing chief Yusuf Mehdi instead. Microsoft SEO Satya Nadella will also be present. It will be held in New York City.

How can I tune in to Microsoft events?

Microsoft doesn’t live stream its Surface and AI events. edges Live blogging will take place when the event begins at 7AM PT / 10 AM ET, covering all announcements live as they happen. Microsoft will post a recording of the event a few hours later on the company’s event site at 10AM PT / 1PM ET.

Three new surface devices

Microsoft is rumored to launch three new Surface devices at its special event. A Surface Laptop Studio 2 has already leaked, complete with Intel’s 13th gen processor, Nvidia’s RTX 4060, a microSD card slot and a USB-A port. The Surface Laptop Studio 2 looks similar to the original design, with its display pulled forward to convert from a laptop to a tablet.

WinFuture It was reported last week that it will be the first Surface device to ship with 64GB of RAM. Microsoft seems to be mostly improving the internal specs, while adding a USB-A port for existing peripherals and a microSD card for storage expansion. Microsoft is rumored to start shipping the Surface Laptop Studio 2 on October 3rd.

The Surface Laptop Studio 2 may be the star of the show.
Image: WinFuture.de

The Surface Laptop Studio 2 will likely be the star of the show on the Surface side, but the Surface Go 4 and Surface Laptop Go 3 are also expected to be announced. WinFuture Last week reported that the Surface Go 4 would ship with an Intel N200 processor inside, after Microsoft pushed a version of the tablet with an Arm processor in favor of Intel.

Images of the Surface Go 4 have not been leaked yet, but it is expected to retain the same design as the previous Surface Go 3 model. Speaking of leaks, images of the Surface Laptop Go 3 have also appeared online. It looks similar to the Surface Laptop Go 2, but the new model is rumored to ship with Intel’s 12th Gen CPU and is also expected to ship in early October.

Windows AI features

Microsoft will begin unveiling more AI-powered features for Windows during its special event. The software maker is working on an update to Windows 11 (23H2) that includes Windows Copilot, an AI “personal assistant. This update is expected to ship by the end of September along with several improvements to Windows 11.

I’m expecting Microsoft to provide more details than just Copilot. We’ve started seeing more AI-enabled features in Windows apps, including updated snipping tools and trial versions of the Photos app, useful features for copying text from screenshots and adding background blur to photos.

New background blur feature in Photos app on Windows 11.
Image: Microsoft

Paint is rumored to soon get the AI ​​treatment to automatically create images with text-to-image prompts. It’s also rumored to be getting a new feature to identify people or objects in photos and then cut/paste them elsewhere – similar to a similar feature on iOS.

We’re unlikely to see Microsoft tease its plans for AI-powered features in Windows 12, which is expected next year, but the new Surface and Windows AI features will lay the groundwork for Microsoft’s AI focus on Windows. “AI is going to literally reinvent how you do everything on Windows,” Panay said earlier this year, so we may be hearing the start of Microsoft’s work toward that reinvention.

Surface AI features

Steven Bathiche, head of Microsoft’s applied science group, said in an interview that AI “will have a profound impact on how you use your computer and how it will fundamentally evolve in terms of its appearance.” edges Last year.

The Surface team has focused on AI with features like Windows Studio Effects. It started shipping the arm-powered Surface Pro X in 2020 that automatically adjusts your eyes during video calls so you’re always making eye contact with the camera.

These AI features rely on a dedicated neural processing unit (NPU), a chip that offloads AI processing tasks and has so far only been available in arm-driven surface devices. Microsoft shipped the Surface Pro 9 Arm version with NPU last year, and Windows Central reports that the Surface Laptop Studio 2 may also have its own dedicated NPU.

AMD’s Ryzen 7000 mobile processors were the first x86 mobile chips with a dedicated AI engine that could 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 unclear what NPU Microsoft is using in Surface Laptop Studio 2, but Microsoft could lay the foundation for additional AI experiences in Windows 11 and beyond.

Microsoft recently turned to AI to power its Surface Smart Camera, so it’s likely we’ll see other accessories for the Surface that take advantage of AI Smart.

Office and Bing AI features

Microsoft’s special program isn’t all about Surface and Windows, though. I’m expecting to hear a lot more about Microsoft’s Copilot plans for Microsoft 365 and Office apps. Microsoft put a big price tag on Copilot in July, and we got a release date for when enterprise users will get access to this AI-powered future of Office documents.

Copilot in Office apps will allow businesses to quickly summarize documents, generate emails and speed up Excel analysis. This is Microsoft’s chance to try and brush off the competition with similar AI-powered features to Google Workspace, Zoom and Slack.

Microsoft also launched a preview of Bing Chat Enterprise earlier this year, which is essentially the same Bing Chat available to consumers but with added business data protection. I expect we’ll hear a preview of Bing Chat Enterprise and some additional features for both Bing Chat Consumer and Enterprise editions when they roll out.

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