Microsoft on Thursday unveiled new Surface computers and shared details on the release of this year’s version of Windows 11, including its embedded Copilot AI assistant, during an event in New York.
The company introduced the Surface Laptop Studio 2 and the Surface Laptop Go 3, and unveiled enterprise availability for Microsoft 365 Copilot, its supplemental AI tool for core productivity apps like Word and Excel.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella began the event by speaking about how the company’s Copilot AI tools will make a broad impact across its user base for consumers and enterprises.
“I mean, it’s crazy,” he said. “It’s kind of like the 90s are back. It’s exciting to be in a place where we’re bringing some software innovation and really having fun enjoying this entire journey.”
Rivals such as Atlassian, Google and Salesforce have also been racing to update their existing products with generative AI this year.
The Surface Laptop Studio 2 starts at $1,999, while the Surface Laptop Go 3 starts at $799. Both will ship with Microsoft’s revamped Windows 11 operating system, which includes its Copilot software. The new Surface models will be available Oct. 3 and are available for pre-order today, Microsoft said.
Here’s a rundown of Thursday’s news:
Windows 11 update
Microsoft said it will begin rolling out the next major update to Windows 11 on Sept. 26.
The update will include the new Copilot in the Bing search engine and the Edge web browser, and testers have gotten access to some other features of the new release in recent months.
Here are some of the key features of the new version:
- Boot to the cloud. If you’re running a cloud-based version of Windows, you’ll be able to log directly into the cloud instance as your primary experience on the your PC, Microsoft said.
- Smarter snipping. It’s getting easier to pull out text directly from screenshots with Windows. When using the Snipping Tool app, you can copy text from a screenshot and quickly redact emails or phone numbers.
- Better backup. Microsoft will enable users to back up apps they’ve previously installed on a PC in order to restore them, along with pinned app preferences, in the future.
- Paint with words. The longstanding Paint app is getting a facelift with help from generative AI. People will be able to type in a few words of text, choose a style and have Paint auto-generate an image matching the description. It’s similar to tools from Adobe and other companies, as well as Microsoft’s own image creator in the Bing search engine.
- More taskbar customization. Windows 11 introduced a stark new taskbar that puts the Start button and a series of app icons in the center at the bottom of the screen. Now users can view app icons with labels, similar to how things looked in Windows 10. Even apps that aren’t running can appear with labels. Users will also be able to hide the time and date.
- Notepad with memory. Notepad will automatically save your status so that if you close the note-taking app and reopen it, you can get right back to your work.
Copilot for advertising
Microsoft is also incorporating generative AI into its advertising tool, although the company did not disclose when exactly it will do so. The company’s plan is to include new AI capabilities on the Microsoft Advertising Platform to help create ad campaigns.
Surface Laptop Studio 2
The Surface Laptop Studio 2 has a similar look and feel to the original model that launched in 2021. It can be used like a traditional laptop with a keyboard, but customers can also lay it flat and use it like a tablet. It runs on a 13th-generation Intel processor and features Nvidia studio tools, as well as additional ports and microSD card slots.
The device has an 14.4-inch screen and is the “most powerful Surface ever built,” Brett Ostrum, Microsoft’s VP of Surface devices, said at the event. He added that the Surface Laptop Studio 2 is twice as fast as the previous model, and it also features an updated haptic touchpad, which is the “most inclusive touchpad on any laptop today.”
The Surface Laptop Studio 2 also offers an “all day” battery life, according to Microsoft. The original model supported 18 hours of battery life, according to the company, but CNBC found it generally lasted closer to 4.5 hours.
The price starts at $1,999. The original Surface Laptop Studio started at $1,600.
Surface Laptop Go 3
The Surface Laptop Go 3 is the latest update to Microsoft’s entry-level laptop. It features a 12.4-inch touch screen display and runs on a 12th-generation Intel processor. Ostrum said it’s Microsoft’s lightest and most portable laptop.
Microsoft said the new laptop’s battery will last for 15 hours, compared to 13.5 hours for its predecessor. The device comes in four colors and is 88% faster than the original model, per Ostrum.
The laptop’s price starts at $799, an increase from the $599 starting price of the Surface Laptop Go 2.
Surface Go 4
Microsoft announced the Surface Go 4, the latest miniature version of its Surface Pro tablet that’s available exclusively for organizations. The company suggested in a release that the new model could be especially useful for businesses and frontline workers.
The Surface Go 4 can be docked to a monitor, used as a laptop with a paired keyboard or like a tablet using the touch screen.
It’s powered by an Intel N200 processor. The Surface Go 4 also features an 10.5-inch touchscreen display and supports 12.5 hours of battery life, which is an increase from the 11 hours of battery life offered by the Surface Go 3.
Surface Hub 3
Microsoft hasn’t forgotten about its Surface Hub, its large touchscreen device for use in the office. A 85-inch model, as well as a smaller 50-inch option, offer organizations an easy way to join Teams video calls.
The smaller version can switch between portrait and landscape modes. Two people can simultaneously draw or write on the devices with Surface Hub Pens or Surface Slim pens.
Microsoft is touting 60% better performance in the main processor of these devices and a 160% bump for their graphics processing units.
Microsoft 365 Copilot release for big businesses
Large organizations will be able to start paying for Microsoft 365 Copilot starting Nov. 1.
The launch could provide a financial boost to Microsoft 365, formerly known as Office 365, a key part of the business that had 382 million commercial seats in the fiscal third quarter. Microsoft said enterprises can call their account representatives to get started.
Companies that participated in the tool’s early access program will be given first chance to deploy the software, which will cost $30 per person per month on top of Microsoft 365’s existing costs. Microsoft has also started allowing some small businesses into the early access program.