Microsoft Launches New Line of AI-Powered PCs, Aiming for Wider Adoption of ChatGPT-Style AI

Microsoft has introduced a new range of personal computers (PCs) designed specifically for running artificial intelligence (AI) programs, as the tech industry continues to push for broader adoption of AI technologies. These AI-powered PCs, operating under the Copilot Plus brand, were launched by Microsoft in May and are equipped with the company’s software. The primary objective is to provide users with AI capabilities directly on their devices, eliminating the need for cloud reliance, which can be energy-intensive, time-consuming, and hinder the overall AI experience.

The PCs come with a neural processing unit (NPU) chip, enabling enhanced features such as sharper photo editing, live transcription, translation, and a unique capability called Recall. Recall allows the computer to keep track of all activities performed on the device. However, Microsoft decided to remove Recall at the last minute, making it available only as a test feature. The hardware for these devices is manufactured by renowned companies like HP and ASUS, and they exclusively run on Qualcomm’s new line of processors, the SnapDragon X Elite and Plus.

Durga Malladi, Senior Vice President at Qualcomm, expressed his enthusiasm for the new PCs, stating, “We are redefining what a laptop actually does for the end user. We believe this is the rebirth of the PC.” Microsoft predicts that over 50 million of these “AI PCs” will be sold within the next 12 months, given the growing demand for AI capabilities. Best Buy, a prominent US retail giant, has trained tens of thousands of its staff to sell and maintain this new line of PCs.

However, some industry experts remain cautious, suggesting that the current benefits of upgrading to an AI laptop may not be compelling enough for widespread adoption. Analysts from Forrester argue that the evolutionary features of AI are not revolutionary enough to disrupt traditional buying patterns. They believe that the lack of game-changing applications for day-to-day work among information workers will slow down the rapid adoption of AI PCs.

Microsoft has been actively expanding its generative AI product offerings since the release of ChatGPT in late 2022. The company has integrated new AI features across various products, including Teams, Outlook, and Windows. Feeling the pressure, Google quickly followed suit, while Apple recently entered the game by announcing its own on-device AI capabilities, set to roll out on premium iPhones in the coming months and year. Although the latest MacBooks and iPads already possess the ability to run high-performing AI features, Apple has been slower to emphasize these capabilities.

Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, humorously acknowledged this delay, jokingly stating, “I guess we missed the boat to name it an AI PC” in reference to the latest generation of MacBooks.