Report: Microsoft developing AI-optimized Surface Pro and Surface Laptop

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Microsoft Corp. is developing new versions of its Surface Pro tablet and Surface Laptop that are optimized to run artificial intelligence software, Windows Central reported today.

The devices are expected to launch next year. They will reportedly be available for order with chips from Intel Corp.’s Meteor Lake laptop processor series and Qualcomm Inc.’s competing Snapdragon X product line. Both chip families feature a built-in neural processing unit, or NPU, to speed up AI applications.

Laptop chips in Intel’s Meteor Lake series include up to 16 central processing unit cores and an integrated graphics card. The built-in NPU, in turn, offers two cores optimized for machine learning workloads. Intel makes Meteor Lake chips using its latest seven-nanometer manufacturing process.

The upcoming Surface Pro and Surface Laptop will reportedly also be available with a custom chip from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X processor series. The current flagship chip in the series, the Snapdragon X Elite, features a 12-core CPU based on Arm Ltd. blueprints. It also includes a graphics card, as well as an NPU capable of running AI models with up to 13 billion parameters.

The Snapdragon X version of the Surface Pro and Surface Laptop will reportedly run a new Windows release called Hudson Valley. The release is expected to introduce several AI enhancements when it launches next year. The new features are said to include an AI-powered file search capability, as well as a tool called Super Resolution that can automatically increase the visual fidelity of videos and games.

Microsoft is expected to pair the AI optimizations with a number of design enhancements.

According to Windows Central, the Surface Laptop is slated to receive its first major redesign since launch. Next year’s iteration of the machine will reportedly feature thinner bezels and rounded display corners. It will be available in two versions: a 15-inch standard edition and a 13.8-inch entry-level model.

The Surface Pro, in turn, will reportedly feature a brighter display with rounded corners. Microsoft is also said to have added anti-reflective coating designed to reduce screen glare. Furthermore, it’s believed that one version of the upcoming tablet will ship with a built-in NFC reader for processing mobile payments.

Both the Surface Pro and Surface Laptop could reportedly feature a dedicated button for activating Copilot, the AI assistant built into Windows. In the Surface Laptop, it will be implemented as an extra keyboard key. The Copilot button of the Surface Pro, in turn, may reportedly become available as part of Microsoft’s Type Cover detachable keyboard accessory. 

Image: Microsoft

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