In a groundbreaking move, Microsoft (MSFT) has unveiled its most significant change to PC keyboards in nearly three decades by introducing a dedicated Copilot key, marking a decisive commitment to AI integration. The Copilot key, set to debut on laptops and desktop keyboards from Microsoft’s OEM partners starting in February, serves as a shortcut to the Windows Copilot interface.
Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s CVP and consumer chief marketing officer, explains that pressing the Copilot key will summon the Copilot interface, functioning as a smart assistant for users to effortlessly search for web content, navigate personal content, and access general PC features through generative AI functionality.
This leap into AI-driven personal computing signifies Microsoft’s recognition of the inseparability of generative AI from the future of computing. The Copilot key, positioned on the right side of the keyboard, is a pivotal addition to Windows PCs, emphasizing the company’s commitment to a more personal and intelligent computing future.
2024 is poised to be the “year of the AI PC,” as Microsoft anticipates a resurgence in PC sales driven by the onset of a refresh cycle. This follows years of declining post-pandemic-induced growth when consumers and businesses rushed to acquire new laptops and desktops for work and play. With systems aging, the introduction of AI-capable PCs is expected to reinvigorate the market.
Microsoft’s Copilot key is not only a shortcut for invoking the Copilot interface but also represents a transformative moment akin to the introduction of the Windows key in 1994. The company envisions Copilot as the entry point into the world of AI on the PC, blurring the lines between local and cloud processing.
While Microsoft has not disclosed specific OEM partners, the Copilot key is set to debut on new Windows 11 PCs in the coming days at CES 2024. The company is confident that this innovative addition will simplify user experiences and amplify productivity, contributing to the significant shift toward a more AI-driven computing future.
As the year unfolds, Microsoft’s journey with Copilot promises to be extraordinary, with ongoing innovations and a relentless pursuit to build Windows as the premier destination for the best AI experiences.