Microsoft Build 2024: 5 Things To Know About Copilot+ PCs

“We’re going to have a big refresh moment,” Microsoft VP Mark Linton tells CRN in an interview.

Copilot+ PCs, which Microsoft bills as “the fastest, most intelligent Windows PCs ever built,” carry a massive partner opportunity as Windows 10 end of support spurs customers into looking at buying new devices.

“We're going to have a big refresh moment,” Mark Linton, Microsoft vice president of device partner sales, told CRN in an interview. “Companies all around the planet are going to invest in AI. And so we think that when they're investing in AI, don't forget the PC. The PC is what everybody uses. It’s at your fingertips. Get the best PC for people when you're investing in AI for your company as well.”

The PCs are available starting June 18 with preordering already available, according to Microsoft. The starting price is $999.

[RELATED: Qualcomm Challenges Intel, Apple With Snapdragon X Chips For Copilot+ PCs]

Microsoft Copilot+ PCs

Windows 10 end of support comes Oct. 14, 2025, meaning Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or technical support.

Linton said that Copilot+ PCs and AI PCs should entice enterprises of any size. “That small business owner gets another staff member with this AI capability,” he said. “As you think about just Windows, it's such a great reason to go talk to customers about new things that a PC can do that even six to 12 months ago you couldn't imagine some of the scenarios. … In general, I'd say that the industry is fairly bullish on the outlook.”

Distributors including TD Synnex are also ready to meet the refresh demand, he said. Microsoft is at work on programs to help partners answer customer questions on refresh, promising “big investments in channel readiness” as well as training and a series of events aimed at resellers selling these new PCs.

During the Copilot+ PC unveiling event Monday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told a crowd that the devices promise to “unleash the power of distributed AI across the edge” and bring AI power from the cloud to devices.

Here’s what else you need to know.

The Copilot+ PCs Partner Opportunity

Microsoft said in a blog post that its thousands of distribution, reseller and integrator partners should benefit from “a major refresh opportunity in the industry where customers will immediately witness a differentiated and incredible value from these new devices.”

For Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) partners, the selling point for customers is the ability to get cloud scale with local processing at lower latency, more granular data control and faster response times, according to Microsoft.

The vendor’s aim is for tens of millions of PCs enabled with neural processing units (NPUs).

Although inflation has continued to constrain IT budgets, Linton said, Windows 10 end of support has customers ready to make plans for their next devices. “What we're doing is helping partners with, hey, here's how to have that customer discussion and do things like – what's the fleet of PCs? What age are they? Which ones need to be upgraded? Which ones can wait a little longer? Application testing and verification. … And then just investing on things like proofs of concept, demand generation and helping partners really take the customers through the purchasing cycle.”

To navigate customers with especially constrained budgets, some partners have employed device-as-a-service or payment plans, Linton said. He said that services partners are especially important for achieving customer satisfaction with AI.

“They are critical,” he said. “AI deployments don't just happen. You have to have your data estate, compliance, workflow. And so that's what partners can really look at the estate of the data that a company would have and say, ‘Hey, how do you want to make that discoverable, leverageable by AI technology?’ There's often a lot of work behind the solution. You don't just walk in and deploy generative AI necessarily. You need to be thoughtful about how you do it. And partners are very well placed to do that work.”

The Devices

Copilot+ PCs have NPUs powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X series. These processors offer 40 trillion operations per second (TOPS) to suit AI-intensive processes from real-time translations to image generation.

These NPUs are also more powerful than ones shipped with already available PCs such as Surface Pro 9 with 5G, according to Microsoft. Copilot+ PCs have

Copilot+ PCs with Intel and Advanced Micro Devices are coming “in the future” with Lunar Lake and Strix to start, according to Microsoft. These devices will also pair in the future with Nvidia GeForce RTX and AMD Radeon graphics cards. Brands offering Copilot+ PCs include Microsoft Surface, Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Samsung.

The PCs have all day battery life, more random-access memory (RAM) and high-capacity drives meant for AI features. They can deliver up to 22 hours of local video playback – which Microsoft said is 20 percent more battery compared to Apple MacBook Air 15-inch computers – or 15 hours of web browsing on a single charge.

CRN has reached out to Apple for comment.

Copilot+ PCs are connected to large language models (LLMs) running in Microsoft Azure as well as small language models (SLMs), according to the vendor. Microsoft even boasted of these devices outperforming those Apple MacBook Air 15-inch computers by up to 58 percent in sustained multithreaded performance.

The PCs have the fastest implementation of Microsoft 365 applications from Teams to PowerPoint and Word to Outlook. Third-party apps including Chrome, Spotify, Zoom and DaVinci Resolve run natively on Arm for better performance, according to Microsoft. Slack and other apps will release “later this year.”

And, of course, these devices come with a dedicated key for launching Copilot.

Recall With Copilot+ PCs

Microsoft executives touted some of the experiences users can expect from Copilot+ PCs, including recall, cocreator, Windows Studio Effects and live captions.

Recall, in preview, allows users to find content previously viewed on the device by taking images of an active screen every few seconds. The images are saved to PC hard drives. Users can find previously viewed content through search or a timeline bar of images. The images are analyzed and allow user interaction and can open in the original application.

Over time, recall will have the ability to open items including source documents, websites or emails in a screenshot. For now, recall is best used for select languages including English, French, Japanese and Spanish.

Users can interact with the recall taskbar icon upon device activation and choose what snapshots are made and stored and which apps and websites apply. Taking images can be paused on demand. No images are taken in InPrivate web browsing sessions in Microsoft's Edge browser, according to the tech giant. Recall won’t store digital rights management (DRM) content, but it can’t hide passwords or financial account numbers.

Recall images aren’t shared with other users, available to Microsoft or used in ad targeting, according to the vendor. They are not accessible by every sign-in profile on a device.

Microsoft is developing more controls for enterprise users to manage and govern recall data, according to the vendor. The minimum hard drive space needed for recall is 256GB, with 50GB available, according to Microsoft. With 25GB, a device can store about three months of snapshots. Old snapshots are deleted once allocated storage limits are hit.

More Features

Cocreator in Paint generates images based on text or image prompts “in nearly real time,” according to Microsoft.

Standard American English prompts get the most accurate images so far, according to Microsoft. A slider allows users to shift artwork from more literal to more expressive. Preset styles include clay animation and cyberpunk.

Users can write prompts with their pens or touchscreen, and prompts don’t have token limits or wait times.

Windows Studio Effects include creative filters, portrait light, portrait blur, voice focus and other AI-powered video call effects that modify outbound and inbound audio and video feeds.

Creative filters include illustrated, animated and watercolor, according to Microsoft. An eye contact teleprompter feature aims to help users even when looking away from the camera and reading content.

And live captions on audio and video content can translate 44 languages into English subtitles. The languages range from Arabic and Basque to Hindi and Vietnamese.

Security Enhancements

Along with encryption for all of those recall snapshots, Copilot+ PCs’ have Microsoft Pluton Security processors enabled by default, according to the tech giant.

These processors have zero trust principles and aim to protect credentials, identities, personal data and encryption keys from removal even if attackers have installed malware or literally have physical possession of the PC.

Copilot+ PCs will be secured core with firmware safeguards and dynamic root-of-trust measurement to help protect from chip to cloud, according to Microsoft. The PCs will ship with Windows Hello Enhanced Sign-in Security (ESS), which promises more secure biometric sign ins with no password needed.

ESS employs virtualization-based security (VBS) and Trusted Platform Module 2.0 to isolate and protect authentication data and secure communication channels, per Microsoft.