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Microsoft Build 2024: Every A.I. Product Announced and Top Takeaways

A day after unveiling its Copilot+ PC lineup that includes new A.I. featuresMicrosoft (MSFT) held its annual Microsoft Build developer conference in Seattle yesterday (May 21) where CEO Satya Nadella shared further details about Copilot and a variety of new A.I. offerings. Many of the products and features announced will be available in the coming months as the Copilot+ PCs come to market. The Build event came after Google (GOOGL) and OpenAI both unveiled A.I. developments last week, including features like audio transcription and improved image, video and code generation. Similar offerings can be found in Meta (META)’s latest range of A.I. products, with additions like Ray-Ban smart glasses and A.I.-generated celebrity likenesses that can serve as A.I. assistants. 

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As a leading investor in OpenAI, it’s no surprise Microsoft will include GPT-4o functionality within its Azure AI studio, in addition to other multimodal models like the Phi-3 family of image and text generation small language models. The Build Event showcased how the Azure studio can be utilized by developers to create and train chatbots using Copilot, Microsoft’s existing AI assistance model, in a similar manner to Google’s Gemini 1.5 Pro model. Here are the highlights from the event’s announcements: 

Copilot+ PCs powered by A.I. (shipping in June)

Microsoft’s foray into A.I. products is driven by multiple goals: to maintain pace with their competitors in the realm of A.I. and to increase sales of PC units. To this end, new hardware (and a good amount of available storage) will be required in order to support new A.I. features. Powerful A.I. functions require immense processing power, and the new Copilot+ PCs are equipped with chips made by Qualcomm that include built-in neural processing unit (NPU) architecture to increase speed and efficiency. 

The Copilot+ PCs will begin shipping in June and will come with the breadth of Copilot features already installed. These include Microsoft Copilot Studio and Team Copilot, which expand the role and capabilities of an A.I. assistant to fully integrate them into a Teams environment. With these improvements, the Copilot assistant could join meetings to take notes, manage the meeting agenda, and even address unresolved questions after the meeting. 

Surface laptops and Surface Pro upgrades

The event also announced new Surface suite products, including the new Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6. Both are claimed by Microsoft to be optimized for use with A.I. tools and are both powered with Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite and Plus processors.

The Surface Laptop will be available in 13.8 inch and 15 inch variants. It touts increased battery life (up to 22 hours) and high processing speed for A.I. softwares. The Surface Pro 10 is also considerably faster than previous models and now includes an ultra-wide front-facing camera and an OLED display.

Copilot+ PCs’ “Recall” feature may raise privacy worries

One of the most notable AI features announced at the Build event was Recall, a feature for Copilot+ PCs that takes images of your active screen every few seconds with the purpose of helping the user locate content and information they’ve accessed in the past. The feature allows you to search across the websites, communications, app activities and even video meetings that you’ve engaged with within the past three months to find the information you’re looking for. Once the content has been located, Recall shows you the snapshot it took from your screen when you originally accessed it, allowing you to contextualize the digital environment in which your search term was used. 

With reason, the Recall feature has raised a few eyebrows as a potential violation of user privacy. For one, the snapshots don’t currently blur or block out sensitive information like passwords and bank account numbers. Microsoft made sure to emphasize that the system will not utilize the data collected through Recall outside of an individual’s profile on a given local device. However, that implies that all of your recent data can be accessed by anyone with the ability to log into your Windows account on your PC. 

Other features

Image generation and editing: A.I.-generated images also got a makeover with Super Resolution, which can take a low-quality or old photograph and upscale it to a much larger size, improving the resolution and quality in the process. In Paint, Cocreator can take a sketch and a text prompt and create an evolved version of the sketch in various illustration styles. Studio Effects allows the user to enhance audio and video with A.I.-generated background effects and voice focus.

Live captions: Copilot+ PC will be able to translate any audio that passes through it—from local files to YouTube videos to Teams meetings—into captions in the user’s desired language in close to real-time.


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