Microsoft has announced a transformation to Windows PC keyboards, introducing a Copilot button. This is the first major design change in nearly three decades, shows Microsoft’s commitment to artificial intelligence (AI) and positioning 2024 as the year of the AI PC.
The Copilot button, placed to the right of the space bar, is set to debut on new Windows 11 PCs, with a planned release from late February through spring.
Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s Executive Vice President and Consumer Chief Marketing Officer, revealed the new feature in a blog post.
The Copilot button is designed to summon Microsoft’s AI-powered chatbot, Copilot. Copilot assists users in various tasks, from research and text drafting to image creation and even turning ideas into songs.
Positioned to the right of the space bar, the Copilot button will replace either the right Control (CTRL) key or a menu key, depending on the keyboard layout.
The button’s placement is intended to be intuitive, allowing users easy access to AI assistance. If Copilot is unavailable or disabled on a device, pressing the button will launch Windows Search, ensuring an user experience.
Microsoft to weave AI into Windows, from the system to the silicon to the hardware. Microsoft believes the addition of the Copilot button shows a transformative moment in the journey with Windows, making AI an integral part of the PC experience.
This could influence the industry, encouraging other manufacturers to incorporate AI-centric hardware changes.
Yusuf Mehdi envisions 2024 as the year of the AI PC, anticipating a shift towards a more personal and intelligent computing future.
Microsoft, having invested heavily in AI and maintaining a close partnership with OpenAI, to lead this shift.
The Copilot button is a tangible representation of Microsoft’s dedication to infusing AI into every aspect of its products.
In an industry where companies globally race to capitalize on AI advancements, Microsoft stands out. The introduction of the Copilot button shows the company’s strategy to leverage the popularity of OpenAI’s ChatGPT and establish itself as a gateway for generative AI applications.
While Microsoft faces competition from other tech giants like Apple and Google, its position in the PC market, with over 82% of desktops, laptops, and workstations running Windows, gives it influence.
The Copilot button might pave the way in industry standards, making customers to update hardware more frequently to keep pace with software developments.
Yusuf Mehdi announced that the Copilot button would be showcased on many new Windows 11 PCs at the upcoming CES tech show in Las Vegas.
The feature is expected to be available for consumers from late February, with a release through the spring, including integration into Microsoft’s upcoming Surface devices.
Microsoft incorporating generative AI into flagship products like Bing Search and Windows Office. Copilot, relying on large language models like OpenAI’s GPT-4, has become a player in Microsoft’s AI ecosystem.
The Copilot button serves as a tangible bridge, connecting users directly to the capabilities of Microsoft’s AI technology.
The AI race has not been without controversy, as evidenced by a recent lawsuit filed by The New York Times against OpenAI and Microsoft. The suit alleges copyright infringement related to tools like ChatGPT and Copilot.
As Microsoft gears up for CES 2024, industry watchers anticipate announcements from various OEM partners regarding the inclusion of the Copilot key in their upcoming devices.
The CES platform is expected to provide a glimpse into the implementations of the Copilot key across different form factors and devices.
While Microsoft leads the charge with this innovative keyboard addition, competitors such as Apple and Google have previously explored customized keys.
However, Microsoft’s position in the PC market, with approximately 82% of all desktop computers, laptops, and workstations running Windows shows the impact in the hardware change.