Microsoft has just wrapped up its September event, where it made several major announcements. Not only did we see some new Surface devices, but Microsoft also shared some updates about the new AI features coming to its products.
Microsoft Surface event: the 6 biggest announcements
Microsoft’s September event has come to a close. In addition to revealing the Surface Laptop Studio 2, Microsoft announced some updates to Copilot.
You can check out all the news from Microsoft’s event below.
A more powerful Surface Laptop Studio 2
Microsoft has finally revealed its new Surface Laptop Studio 2. The company calls it the “most powerful” Surface it has built to date, as it comes with Intel’s 13th Gen i7 H class processor, Nvidia’s RTX 4050 or 4060 GPU, and 64GB of RAM. It also features a more adaptive touchpad that Microsoft calls the “most inclusive” yet.
The Surface Laptop Studio 2 starts at $1,999. You can preorder the device today, but it will become available on October 3rd.
The lightweight Surface Laptop Go 3 gets a spec bump
Microsoft has announced the Surface Laptop Go 3. The new device, which Microsoft says is “88 percent faster,” comes with a 12.4-inch touchscreen, weighs just under 2.5 pounds, and features a fingerprint power button. It also offers up to 15 hours of battery life, along with one USB-A port, one USB-C port, and a headphone jack.
Although the Surface Go 4 didn’t get a mention during Microsoft’s presentation, the company quietly launched the device — but only for businesses. The Surface Go 4 gets a small performance boost, as it swaps its predecessor’s two-core Intel Pentium processor with an upgraded four-core Intel N200 chip.
The Surface Laptop Go 3 starts at $799, while the Surface Go 4 starts at $579. Both devices will be available starting October 3rd, with preorders starting today.
Windows 11’s next update comes with Copilot and more
Windows 11 is getting its next big update on September 26th. The update will be jam-packed with new features, including the new AI-powered Windows Copilot that Microsoft’s been testing, along with a redesigned File Explorer.
Later on, Microsoft will add native support for RAR and 7-zip, along with a new Windows volume mixer that lets you control app volumes individually. There’s also a Dynamic Lighting setting coming that you can use to adjust the lighting on your PC’s components.
A single Copilot across Microsoft’s services and apps
Microsoft is merging Copilot, the company’s AI-powered assistant, to allow for a unified experience. The tool will be “seamlessly available” across Microsoft’s apps and services, including Windows 11, Microsoft 365, and Edge. With this update, Copilot will “uniquely incorporate” context from the web, your work data, and what you’re currently doing on your computer to provide you with “better assistance.”
Bing Chat is getting DALL-E 3 and Personalized Answers
Bing Chat, Microsoft’s AI chatbot, is getting a big update. Microsoft announced that it’s adding DALL-E 3, the latest version of OpenAI’s text-to-image generator, to Bing Chat for free. The AI chatbot is also getting Personalized Answers, a feature that will use your chat history to inform Bing’s responses.
Microsoft 365 with Copilot comes out in November
Microsoft is rolling out Copilot to its 365 apps on November 1st. Users can use Copilot to summarize documents, quickly generate emails, rewrite documents, and a lot more. The feature will be available to subscribers on certain business and enterprise plans for an extra $30 per month.
Update September 21st, 12:31PM ET: Added the Surface Go 4.
The Surface Go 4 comes with a much-needed performance boost
Microsoft has unveiled the Surface Go 4, which features some minor performance upgrades over its predecessor thanks to its new Intel N200 CPU and higher 8GB base RAM configuration.
Microsoft has announced the Surface Go 4 — the latest version of its affordable 2-in-1 laptop series — at its Surface device launch event today. The new Go 4 features some minor performance upgrades over its predecessor, but it won’t be sold to consumers — the company says it’s specifically targeted at businesses and frontline workers. As WinFuture leaked last week, the official Surface Go 4 specifications reveal that the two-core Intel Pentium processor featured on the Surface Go 3 has now been replaced with a new, slightly beefier four-core Intel N200 chip.
Microsoft has also ditched the 4GB RAM configuration that’s been available on previous models, which means the Surface Go 4 will now only be available with 8GB of LPDDR5 memory. Even with the Surface Go range primarily targeting the business and education market, that’s a welcome change, considering 4GB is barely capable of handling every multitasking duty these days. Storage starts at 64GB, with additional options available for 128GB and 256GB.
Otherwise, the exterior design remains largely unchanged. The Surface Go 4 provides the same USB-C port, 3.5mm headphone jack, and microSD card reader as the Go 3 and still features two 1080p cameras and a 10.5-inch 1920 x 1280 display. On the inside, however, some of the Surface Go 4’s components like the battery, kickstand, motherboard, and display have now been designed to be more easily repairable or replaceable.
The additional sustainability is a nice touch — especially as these devices are marketed to businesses that will need to keep them running for a few years. But the overall design being near-identical to its predecessor doesn’t particularly bode well for the Surface Go 4. In our review of the Surface Go 3, The Verge lambasted the convertible device for its flimsy build quality, poor battery life, and being too expensive for what you’re actually getting.
A quick hands-on test of the Surface Go 4 confirmed our suspicions. Performance was slow when running through some everyday tasks like web browsing and took embarrassingly long to switch between display orientations. Still, Microsoft is claiming that performance on the Windows 11 Pro version of the Surface Go 4 should be 80 percent faster than its predecessor.
Microsoft has told The Verge that the Surface Go 4 will be released on October 3rd, with prices starting from $579 for the 64GB storage model. It also said in a press release that the device will be “available exclusively for organizations,” though, so you won’t be able to get your hands on one unless you meet those requirements.
Microsoft hopes people won’t become ‘over-reliant’ on its AI assistant
Microsoft executives emphasized the company’s commitment to security and responsible AI at a panel following their Surface and AI launch event in New York City.
This morning, Microsoft set the release date for its AI-powered Copilot feature and showed off some of its capabilities for the first time. At a “Responsible AI” panel following the announcement, company executives spoke about the danger of over-reliance on its generative software, which was shown creating blog posts, images, and emails based on user prompts.
Six months after the company laid off the team dedicated to upholding responsible AI principles in the products it shipped, the execs attempted to make a clear statement onstage: Everything is fine. Responsible AI is still a thing at Microsoft. And Copilot isn’t going to take your job.
“The product being called Copilot is really intentional,” said Sarah Bird, who leads responsible AI for foundational AI technologies at Microsoft. “It’s really great at working with you. It’s definitely not great at replacing you.”
Bird referenced a demonstration from the launch event that showed Copilot drafting an email on a user’s behalf. “We want to ensure that people are actually checking that the content of those emails is what they want to say,” Bird said. Panelists mentioned that Bing chat includes citations, which human users can then go back and verify.
“These types of user experience help reduce over-reliance on the system,” Bird said. “They’re using it as a tool, but they’re not relying on it to do everything for them.”
“We want to give people the ability to verify content, just like if you were doing any research,” Divya Kumar, Microsoft’s GM of search and AI marketing, further assured the audience. “The human factor is going to be so important.”
Panelists acknowledged that Copilot (at least, at this stage) will be vulnerable to misinformation and disinformation — including that which other generative AI tools might create. Microsoft has prioritized incorporating tools like citations and Content Credentials (which adds a digital watermark to AI-generated images in Bing) to ensure that people see Copilot’s generations as starting points rather than as replacements for their own work.
Panelists urged the audience not to fear the impact that generative tools might have. “My team and I are taking this really seriously,” said Chitra Gopalakrishnan, Microsoft’s partner director of compliance. “From development to deployment, all of these features go through rigorous ethical analysis, impact analysis, as well as risk mitigation.”
The panelists did, however, acknowledge later on that generative tools might drastically change the landscape of viable careers.
“When you have a powerful tool to partner with, what you need to do is different,” Bird said. “We know some of the jobs are going to change.”
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