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Microsoft prepares to embarrass Jobs’ Mob

by on09 April 2024

New “AI PCs” will clean Apple’s homemade chip's clock

Software King of the World, Microsoft, is gearing up to show off its vision for “AI PCs” next month and word on the street is that Vole is confident that its new Arm-powered Windows laptops will outdo Jobs' Mob’s M3-powered MacBook Air in CPU performance and AI-accelerated tasks.

After years of anticipation, Microsoft is confident that Qualcomm's upcoming Snapdragon X Elite processors will live up to the hype, propelling Windows on Arm into the fast lane. This trust in Qualcomm’s technology is evident as Microsoft plans to incorporate these processors into its latest consumer-focused Surface hardware.

According to the Verge, Vole is so confident in these new Qualcomm chips that it’s planning a bunch of demos to show how these processors will leave an M3 MacBook Air in the dust for CPU tasks, AI acceleration, and even app emulation. Vole claims, in some top-secret documents seen by The Verge, that these new Windows AI PCs will have “faster app-emulation than Rosetta 2” — the magic trick that Jobs' Mob uses on its Apple Silicon Macs to translate apps compiled for 64-bit Intel processors to Apple’s processors.

App emulation has been a headache for Windows on Arm over the past decade, but Vole did manage to deliver x64 app-emulation for Windows 11 more than two years ago. This helps ensure apps can run on Windows on ARM devices without a native ARM64 version. Native Arm apps are essential for improved performance on upcoming Windows on Arm laptops, and Google has recently released its ARM64 version of Chrome ready for these upcoming devices.

Vole plans to ship consumer models of its upcoming Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6 with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite processors inside instead of Intel’s Core Ultra chips. Vole has already announced business-focused versions of the Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6 that ship with Intel Core Ultra processors. However, the Arm models will be marketed toward consumers instead.

Microsoft describes devices running Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite processors as “next-gen AI Copilot PCs” internally, which is meant to differentiate them from existing PCs that run on AMD’s latest chips or even Intel’s Core Ultra processors. This new class of PCs will get access to new AI-powered Windows features first, including an AI Explorer app that lets you “retrieve anything you’ve ever seen or done on your device.”

AI Explorer is designed to work as a timeline you can summon on your PC. Windows Central first reported details on AI Explorer last month, and it sounds much like the Timeline feature in Windows 10 that Vole eventually removed. While Timeline relied on app developers to work, this time around, AI Explorer uses a Neural Processing Unit chip on devices to scan through a timeline of events. It will work with any Windows app, allowing users to recall what they were previously working on.

Microsoft also wants to improve video streaming on Arm-powered Windows devices with a new AI-powered feature that will ship on these “next-gen” AI PCs. These PCs will include access to the Windows Studio Effects for background blur and more, the ability to create images with AI models for free and options to allow Copilot to access the context of your PC to improve prompts and answers.

Qualcomm is also pretty confident in its new processors, recently offering hands-on opportunities to the media with the Snapdragon X Elite chips. Qualcomm has shown benchmarks that beat Apple’s M2 processor in many areas and Intel’s latest Core Ultra 7 chips. Qualcomm also claims that most Windows games should “just work” on its upcoming Arm laptops, so we could eventually see some gaming laptops powered by Arm processors.

Microsoft’s big AI PC reveal will occur on 20 May, just a day before the annual Build developers conference. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will talk about the company’s “AI vision across hardware and software,” which will set the stage for its latest Windows on ARM push and investment in AI features for Windows 11.

Vole’s vision includes a “Copilot for every person” slogan, meant to hearken back to Microsoft’s decades-old “PC in every home” vision for Windows. This is a big push for AI in Windows inside Microsoft, and I’m told the company expects that 50 per cent of new Windows devices will be running AI-capable chips by the end of 2026. Expect a round of new Windows on ARM devices in June, just a month after Microsoft details its AI PC plans.

Last modified on 09 April 2024
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