Microsoft will hold a “special event” in New York City later this week where it is expected to unveil three new Surface devices and AI-powered features for Windows, Office, Bing, Surface, and more.
The event comes just days after Panos Panay, Microsoft’s former head of Windows and Surface, resigned in a surprise announcement. Now we’ll see how the new Windows and Surface leaders move forward with Microsoft’s big AI plans
Here, we’ll cover how and when you can follow the event live, along with any new product announcements we expect to see from Microsoft.
When will the Microsoft “special event” take place?
The press event will begin at 7 a.m. PT / 10 a.m. ET on Thursday, September 21, making it the first in-person Surface event since the pandemic. Former Windows and Surface boss Panos Panay won’t be presenting, but we’ll likely see Yusuf Mehdi, head of consumer marketing. Microsoft SEO Satya Nadella will also make an appearance. It will take place in New York City.
How can I tune in to the Microsoft event?
Microsoft is not live streaming its Surface and AI event. The edge He’ll be live blogging when the event begins at 7 a.m. PT / 10 a.m. ET, covering all live announcements as they happen. Microsoft will then post a recording of the event a few hours later at 10am PT / 1pm ET on the company event site.
Three new Surface devices
Microsoft is rumored to be launching three new Surface devices at its special event. A Surface Laptop Studio 2 has already been leaked, complete with 13th Gen Intel processors, Nvidia’s RTX 4060, a microSD card slot, and a USB-A port. The Surface Laptop Studio 2 appears to have a similar design to the original, with a screen that moves forward to transform from laptop to tablet.
winfuture reported last week that it will be the first Surface device to ship with 64GB of RAM. Microsoft appears to be mostly improving the internal specs, while adding a USB-A port for existing peripherals and a microSD card for storage expansion. Microsoft is rumored to start shipping the Surface Laptop Studio 2 on October 3.
The Surface Laptop Studio 2 might be the star of the show on the Surface side, but the Surface Go 4 and Surface Laptop Go 3 are also expected to be announced. winfuture reported last week that the Surface Go 4 will ship with an Intel N200 processor inside, after Microsoft supposedly postponed a version of the tablet with an Arm processor in favor of an Intel one.
No images of the Surface Go 4 have been leaked yet, but it is expected to maintain a similar design to the previous Surface Go 3 model. Speaking of leaks, images of the Surface Laptop Go 3 have also been released. appeared online. It looks a lot like the Surface Laptop Go 2, but the new model is rumored to ship with 12th Gen Intel CPUs and is also expected to ship in early October.
Windows AI Features
Microsoft will start introducing more AI-powered features for Windows during its special event. The software maker has been working on a Windows 11 update (23H2) that includes Windows Copilot, an AI “personal assistant.” This update is expected to ship at the end of September, with a number of improvements for Windows 11.
However, I hope Microsoft details more than just Copilot. We’ve started to see more AI-powered features appear in Windows apps, with trial versions of the Snipping tool and Photos app updated with useful features for copying text from screenshots and adding background blur to photos.
Paint is also rumored to soon get the AI treatment with text-to-picture messaging to automatically generate images. Photos is also rumored to get a new feature to identify people or objects in photos and then cut/paste them elsewhere, much like a similar feature on iOS.
It’s unlikely we’ll see Microsoft advance its plans for AI-powered features in Windows 12, which is expected next year, but many of the new Surface and Windows AI features will lay the groundwork for Microsoft’s AI approach in Windows. “AI is going to reinvent the way you do everything in Windows, literally,” Panay said earlier this year, so we’ll likely hear the start of Microsoft’s work toward that reinvention.
Surface AI Features
AI “will have a potentially profound impact on how you use your computer and how it will essentially evolve in terms of its form,” Steven Bathiche, head of Microsoft’s applied sciences group, said in an interview with The edge last year.
The Surface team has been focused on AI for years with features like Windows Studio Effects. These first started shipping on the Arm-powered Surface Pro
These AI features are based on a dedicated neural processing unit (NPU), a chip that offloads AI processing tasks and has until now only been available on Arm-powered Surface devices. Microsoft shipped the Surface Pro 9 Arm version with an NPU last year and Windows Center reports that Surface Laptop Studio 2 may even have its own dedicated NPU.
AMD’s Ryzen 7000 mobile processors were the first x86 mobile chips to contain a dedicated AI engine that can support Microsoft’s Windows Studio effects, including eye contact and background noise removal. Intel’s upcoming Meteor Lake chips are also expected to include similar AI capabilities. It’s unclear which NPU Microsoft is using inside the Surface Laptop Studio 2, but it could lay the groundwork for additional AI experiences Microsoft is planning for Windows 11 and beyond.
Microsoft also recently turned to AI to help power its Surface smart camera, so there’s a chance we’ll see other accessories that leverage AI for the Surface.
Office and Bing AI features
However, Microsoft’s special event won’t focus exclusively on Surface and Windows. I look forward to hearing a lot more about Microsoft’s Copilot plans for Microsoft 365 and Office apps. Microsoft put a high price on Copilot in July, and it’s time we got a release date for when business users will have access to this AI-powered future of Office documents.
Copilot in Office applications will allow companies to instantly summarize documents, generate emails and speed up Excel analysis. It’s Microsoft’s chance to try to beat out competition from similar AI-powered features for Google Workspace, Zoom, and Slack.
Microsoft also began rolling out a preview of Bing Chat Enterprise earlier this year, which is essentially the same Bing Chat that’s available to consumers but with added business data protection. I hope we find out when Bing Chat Enterprise will come out of preview and some additional features for the enterprise and consumer versions of Bing Chat.