Microsoft plans AI NPU integration in new 2024 Surface devices

by Kareem Anderson

Kareem Anderson

Kareem is a journalist from the bay area, now living in Florida. His passion for technology and content creation drives are unmatched, driving him to create well-researched articles… read more

Surface 2024 - Upgrades

Closing out the 2023 Microsoft news cycle comes a report from the folks over at Windows Central which points to a continued AI-focused redesign of the Surface Pro and Laptop, along with significant physical upgrades as well.

According to author Zac Bowden, sources familiar with Surface development have talked about “improved designs, new features, and next-gen silicon in the form of Intel 14th-Gen and Qualcomm X Series chips.”

Specifically, Bowden shared the broad configuration options customers will have to choose from in 2024 which include either an Intel CPU or, for the first time ever, an ARM powered variant for the Surface Laptop.

Whether customers choose Intel or the ARM version (presumably powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon X-Series chips), both versions will make use of custom (Neural Processing Units) to much of the heavy artificial intelligent processing on the news devices.

In addition to dedicated processing units, the new Surface Laptop 6 will finally add physical upgrades to its aging design language. The Surface Laptop 6 will finally thin out the on-screen bezel profile, round out the display corners to look more in line with the Surface Laptop Studio. In addition to being available in two screen sizes that include 13.8-inches and 15-inches, the latest laptop will also include more ports for a wider variety of connectivity.

As for the Pro, which had its most aggressive redesign since the Surface Pro 3 happen last year, the new Pro will see changes to its display in the form of a brighter panel, support for HDR content, and a new anti-reflective coating to cut down on screen glare. The Surface Pro 10 will also see its display gain rounded corners in its bezel profile, similar to that of the Surface Laptop Studio.

There may also be upgrades coming to the webcam on the Pro that include a wider field-of-view and other enhanced AI-powered features such as de-noise, background blur, and more.

Bowden also hears that the Surface team may be gearing up to switch up the resolution of its panel to offer additional configuration prices points with a 2160 x 1440 display for a “lower tier” model.

The new Pro 10 could also come with an NFC reader for commercial use and presumably sold through its enterprise store only.

Lastly, the Surface Pro 10 could come with an updated Type Cover with a dedicated Copilot button and layout that could also be found on the new Surface Laptops.

Other rumors Bowden reported included a refreshed Surface Laptop Go in 2024, an 11-inch Pro variant in 2025, and Commercial-only variants of the Pro and Laptop that forego the changes listed above in favor of a simple 14th gen CPU upgrade.

Bowden also believes the new Surface Laptop and Surface Pro could arrive as soon as Spring of 2024.

With former head of Surface hardware development Panos Panay leaving Microsoft for Amazon earlier this year and following constraints on the business that included a reduction in product lines, the Surface line was headed for a quick retirement run in the eyes of many.

However, it seems Microsoft may have been holding out for a worthwhile upgrade in 2022 and 2023 for its flagship computers that also lineup with an AI-led Windows 12 operating system release.

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