Microsoft is set to host a “special event” in New York City this week, where it is expected to unveil three new Surface devices, as well as AI-powered features for its Windows, Office, Bing, and Surface products. The event comes just days after the surprising resignation of Panos Panay, former head of Windows and Surface, which raises curiosity about how the new leaders of these divisions will carry forward Microsoft’s AI plans. In this article, we will discuss the details of the event, the product announcements anticipated, and how to follow the event live.
The “special event” is scheduled to take place on Thursday, September 21st, at 7AM PT / 10AM ET. This will be the first in-person Surface event since the pandemic began. While Panos Panay won’t be presenting, it is likely that Yusuf Mehdi, head of consumer marketing, will be taking the stage. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will also make an appearance. The event will be held in New York City.
Unfortunately, Microsoft will not be livestreaming the event. However, The Verge will provide live coverage through a live blog starting at 7AM PT / 10 AM ET, providing real-time updates on all the announcements. Microsoft will later post a recording of the event on its event site at 10AM PT / 1PM ET.
Rumour has it that Microsoft will unveil three new Surface devices at its event. The Surface Laptop Studio 2 has already leaked, revealing features such as Intel’s 13th Gen processors, Nvidia’s RTX 4060, a microSD card slot, and a USB-A port. The design of the Surface Laptop Studio 2 is expected to be similar to the original model, with a display that can be pulled forward to transform the device from a laptop to a tablet. According to reports, it will also be the first Surface device to come with 64GB of RAM. The Surface Laptop Studio 2 is anticipated to start shipping on October 3rd.
In addition to the Surface Laptop Studio 2, Microsoft is also expected to announce the Surface Go 4 and Surface Laptop Go 3. The Surface Go 4 will reportedly be equipped with an Intel N200 processor, as Microsoft is said to have postponed the release of an Arm-based version. While images of the Surface Go 4 have not leaked yet, it is expected to have a similar design to its predecessor. On the other hand, images of the Surface Laptop Go 3 have surfaced online, showing a design that is very similar to the Surface Laptop Go 2. The new model is expected to come with Intel’s 12th Gen CPUs and is anticipated to start shipping in early October.
The event will also feature the unveiling of AI-powered features for Windows. Microsoft has been working on an update to Windows 11 (23H2) that includes Windows Copilot, an AI “personal assistant.” The update is expected to be released by the end of September, bringing various improvements to Windows 11. Alongside Copilot, there are likely to be other AI-powered features showcased. Test versions of the Snipping Tool and Photos app have already been updated with useful AI features, such as text extraction from screenshots and background blur for photos. Rumours suggest that AI will also be integrated into Paint, offering text-to-image prompts for automatic image generation. Additionally, the Photos app might receive a feature that allows users to identify people or objects in photos and cut/paste them elsewhere, similar to a feature on iOS.
While it is unlikely that Microsoft will reveal its plans for AI-powered features in Windows 12, which is expected to be released next year, many of the AI features introduced at the event will lay the groundwork for Microsoft’s focus on AI in Windows. Panos Panay previously stated that AI will reinvent how users interact with Windows, hinting at the company’s long-term vision for the integration of AI technologies.
The Surface team has been dedicated to AI for years, implementing features such as Windows Studio Effects, which automatically adjusts a user’s eyes during a video call to maintain eye contact through the camera. These AI features rely on a dedicated neural processing unit (NPU) that 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 it is reported that the Surface Laptop Studio 2 may come equipped with its own dedicated NPU. AMD’s Ryzen 7000 mobile processors were the first x86 mobile chips to contain a dedicated AI engine that supports Windows Studio Effects, while Intel’s upcoming Meteor Lake chips are also expected to include similar AI capabilities.
Microsoft will not solely focus on Surface and Windows during the event. It is anticipated that there will be significant announcements regarding Microsoft’s Copilot plans for Microsoft 365 and Office apps. Copilot aims to enable businesses to instantly summarize documents, generate emails, and expedite Excel analysis using AI technology. This move puts Microsoft in direct competition with similar AI-powered features offered by Google Workspace, Zoom, and Slack. Additionally, Microsoft may provide updates on Bing Chat Enterprise, an enterprise version of Bing Chat, including details on when it will be released and additional features for both the consumer and enterprise versions.
In conclusion, Microsoft’s “special event” promises to bring exciting announcements and insights into its AI-powered future. From new Surface devices to AI features for Windows, Office, and Bing, this event will showcase Microsoft’s commitment to integrating AI technologies into its products. While the event will not be livestreamed, The Verge will provide live coverage, and Microsoft will post a recording of the event on its event site. Stay tuned for updates on these new developments from Microsoft.