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Microsoft September 2023 event: Copilot, Surface Laptop Studio 2, and more

Microsoft’s September event delivered a slew of exciting announcements. All things AI were a hot topic, ranging from the Microsoft Copilot to updates to Paint and Snipping Tool. Several new Surface products were also revealed, including the Surface Laptop Studio 2.

We were at the event and got all of the news firsthand. Here’s everything that Microsoft unveiled as part of its September 2023 event.

A new category of computing

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talks on stage during the Microsoft September event.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella opened the event with a recap of the last few months. It’s been 10 months since ChatGPT launched, and it’s clear that the tech industry as a whole is changing due to these AI developments. Microsoft itself participates in AI heavily, and Nadella mentions things like Bing Chat, Microsoft Copilot, and ChatGPT as examples.

Nadella quoted Douglas Engelbart, talking about how AI is augmenting human ability and giving us more capabilities. He mentioned Microsoft’s two real technology breakthroughs with AI: a natural user interface and a reasoning engine. Together, this creates a new category in computing that’s as significant as the browser and the operating system, he said.

In the future, Nadella predicts that we will invoke an AI to do everything. Microsoft’s goal is to unify the AI experience into a single tool that can take context from our entire lives, meaning conversations, emails, and more. That tool is Microsoft Copilot.

Microsoft Copilot

Microsoft Copilot seen on the Windows 11 desktop.

Nadella has officially announced Windows Copilot, an AI-driven tool that will work throughout many apps in Windows to help you make the most of your device and make your life easier. Nadella calls this “the age of the Copilots,” explaining that no matter the device, operating system, or app, Microsoft Copilot will be there to help you. And based on our hands-on time with Windows Copilot, that appears to be true.

Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Modern Life, Search, and Devices at Microsoft, then took the stage to talk about Copilot. “Copilot is going to have an energy,” he said. “It’s a handshake between you and technology.” He also said that Microsoft Copilot will understand your intent when you use it, and this is made clear throughout every mention of the feature.

You can communicate with Copilot using your voice, and to support that, it’ll be woven throughout the OS. Copilot is going to be available across all of Microsoft’s apps, and starting today, it’s on the Windows 11 desktop and ready to be used. It’s also available in all of the Microsoft 365 software, such as Excel, Teams, and PowerPoint. Moreover, it’s built on top of Bing Chat and available in Microsoft Edge.

Copilot can do things like organizing your files and windows, summarizing documents, and removing background in Snipping Tool. Carmen Zlateff, vice president of corporate management, explained that the tool will have a view across all your applications, websites, and devices. It’s basically like Bing Chat for the entire Windows OS, as opposed to just using the search bar or the browser to ask it questions.

Copilot also offers cross-device support. You’ll be able to ask it to find your flight information on your desktop PC, and then it’ll look for that information on your phone. In addition, you can use it to text directly from your PC. “Now that feels like an assistant,” says Zlateff.

Windows Ink Anywhere means that you can write with a Microsoft Pen into any text field — let’s say you write down a math problem — and Copilot can work with that. You can snip a photo of a graph and Copilot will work on solving the problem.

Windows 11 23H2

Microsoft logo surrounded by a rainbow of colors, displayed at the Microsoft September Event.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The next major update to Windows 11, 23H2, is coming on September 26 with a lot of AI-driven updates. We’re getting background blur in Photos, the ability to use layers in Paint, and a co-creator for AI in Paint that introduces generative AI with text prompts that turn into images.

The Windows Photos app is receiving updates as well, including features like automatically finding the background in the photo and then letting you remove it with a single click. Microsoft has also improved search across your OneDrive accounts, letting you look for them based on the content of the photo or the location where it was taken.

Snipping Tool will now help you extract specific content from an image or redact certain text if you want to protect sensitive data. You can now also capture audio thanks to microphone support, which should make it easier to create videos based on screen recordings.

Clipchamp received auto-compose, which will make the tool give you ideas for scene suggestions, edits, and narratives based on your footage. It’ll make it easier to create videos even if you have no background in video editing.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 running Windows 11.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Even good old Notepad received an important update that lets you close the app at any time without losing your progress — it will auto-save from now on and automatically restore open tabs, as well as any unsaved content.

Lastly, there’s a new version of Outlook for Windows that helps you coordinate your email accounts across various providers, such as Gmail, iCloud, and more, into a single app. The use of AI tools will make writing emails easier, and you’ll be able to attach documents and photos directly from OneDrive.

All in all, this is a major update to Windows 11, with over 150 new features set to come out. It’s almost like a soft upgrade to Windows 12.

Copilot in Microsoft Shopping

A screenshot of Copilot in Microsoft Shopping.

Next, Divya Kumar, general manager of search and AI marketing, arrived on stage to talk about new features coming to Bing and Edge. The first announcement is Microsoft Shopping, which is referred to as “your copilot for shopping.”

When you first start searching for a product, Copilot will ask you more questions to help you make your pick. Copilot will then guide you toward shopping decisions, such as taking into consideration things like individual skill level when you shop for soccer shoes. It’ll provide you with pros and cons of each pick, hunt for promo codes, and narrow things down to a single recommendation that best fits your needs.

You can also use a photo or a saved image as a starting point for shopping and ask Copilot to find something similar.

Bing and Paint Co-Creator

A screenshot of Paint Co-creator.

Microsoft is also updating Bing Image Creator, which is soon set to be updated to the DALL-E 3 model. It’s a generative AI that creates images based on text prompts, and it’s entirely free for everyone. Upgrading to DALL-E 3 means “a huge leap forward,” according to Microsoft, and we’ll see better renderings of details, such as fingers and eyes. The AI will also follow your prompts more closely, delivering more accurate images.

Every image created by the AI will be watermarked with “generated by AI” to ensure transparency. Microsoft is integrating Designer directly into Bing to help you edit your generative AI-produced creations.

The new Bing Chat running on a Microsoft Laptop Studio 2.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

From now on, Bing Chat will do a better job of remembering your previous conversations, and chat history will inform your results. Bing will remember past chats and use them to provide more accurate recommendations. However, if that doesn’t suit you, you can always turn it off.

Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 chat in a screenshot.

Colette Stallbaumer, general manager of Microsoft 365 and Future of Work, introduced Copilot for enterprise users, which will  be available starting from November 1. A major part of that is Microsoft 365 Chat, which integrates Copilot into business-related tasks.

Stallbaumer said that you can start your day with “what’s hot in your inbox today.” The AI will provide recommendations on how to start your workday, and also comb through your meetings, messages, and emails to extract important information and summarize it for you. You can also use Copilot to help you pick the right app for things you need to do, such as planning an event.

Microsoft 365 Chat will be able to use files that you upload and generate things like blog posts, so a slideshow or a product brief can be turned into a blog post. Copilot can also use plug-ins to do things like match your itinerary to that of your co-workers’.

“You’ll notice this starts to feel a lot like a conversation … because it is,” says Stallbaumer. “Copilot really is a whole new way to work.”

AI is coming to Outlook, too. Microsoft announced Sound Like Me, a new feature that helps Copilot personalize every email to match your usual style and tone of voice.

We’re also getting Copilot Designer, and you can use it to automatically generate a banner. It’s also a standalone app that can remove background from images by just hovering and clicking over it, expand them using AI, and even add entirely new objects with AI.

Microsoft 365 Copilot is now in preview with select users before it becomes widely available.

Surface Laptop Go 3

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 3 over a white background.

Brett Ostrum, corporate vice president of Surface devices, then announced the first Surface product, the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 3, highlighting some of the main features of the 2-in-1 laptop.

The device is going to be light, weighing just under two-and-a-half pounds, and it’ll provide up to 15 hours of battery life and fast charging. It’s equipped with a 12.4-inch PixelSense touchscreen and a fingerprint reader power button. There’s also a 720p webcam for video calls alongside microphones and speakers.

The Surface Laptop Go 3 will be equipped with an Intel Core i5-1235U processor and integrated Iris Xe graphics. Memory options include 8GB or 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and there’s a removable SSD for storage: 256GB for consumers and up to 512GB for enterprise users. Microsoft expects the device to be up to 88% faster than the original Surface Laptop Go.

Ostrum showed the device off in a quick demo, highlighting the power of Copilot. The goal was to make a video of highlights from a DJ, and with Clipchamp’s new auto-compose feature, you can choose between various video styles while AI models are editing the video in the background. “All of this happens in less than a minute on my Laptop Go,” sais Ostrum.

Prices start at $899 and go up based on the specifications.

Surface Laptop Studio 2

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The Surface Laptop Studio 2 was the next product to be announced. It comes with a magnetic pen ( that’s stored under the keyboard where it can charge) and a microSD card slot. The screen is the same as in the original Surface Laptop Studio, meaning 14.4 inches, 3:2 aspect ratio, 120Hz refresh rates, with HDR support. Ostrum promised an “all-day battery” on this device.

The laptop also sports a haptic touchpad, and Ostrum referred to it as the “most inclusive touchpad on any laptop today.” Microsoft teased adaptive touch that allows for many different types of inputs. You’ll be able to resize the trackpad region, use voice access, and utilize adaptive pen grips.

The Surface Laptop Studio 2 on a white table.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The specifications include either integrated Iris Xe graphics, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050, or an RTX 4060 for consumers, alongside an Intel Core i7-13700H CPU. Enterprise users can choose a workstation GPU instead (Nvidia RTX 2000 Ada) and a slightly upgraded Core i7-13800H CPU. Microsoft promises to deliver up to two times the graphics performance of Apple’s MacBook equipped with the M2 Max chip.

Ostrum teased that the Surface Laptop Studio 2 comes with an Intel NPU to support AI workloads such as Windows Studio Effects, and he also talked about Nvidia’s DLSS 3.5.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio seen from the side.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

As part of the demo, Ostrum showed Photoshop running Generative AI. You can use the Surface Pen to tap to remove photos, use Generative Fill in Photoshop, or generate a whole background to turn a photo into landscape mode, all with the Pen.

Design-wise, it’s pretty much the same thing as the original Surface Laptop Studio, but we’re getting two new ports: USB-A 3.1 and a microSDXC card reader. Lastly, the new Laptop Studio offers a lot more replaceable components, making it easier to repair if anything happens. The SSD, motherboard, charging port, C cover, D-Plate, battery, and more can all be replaced.

The Surface Laptop Studio 2 is now available for preorder and will start shipping on October 3, starting at $1,999. Check out our Surface Laptop Studio 2 hands-on for our impressions of the device.

Surface Go 4 for Business

The Microsoft Surface Go 4.

Although this wasn’t announced during the event, Microsoft is also launching the Surface Go 4, but only for business users. Marketed as “the most portable Surface PC for frontline workers,” it can be used as a tablet with touch and pen, but also in laptop mode with a touchpad and a full keyboard.

This model weighs 1.15 pounds and serves up better performance, longer battery life, and improved repairability. It’s designed to be used with the Surface Pen and comes with integrated magnetic storage to support it.

The device runs on Intel’s N200 processor, and Microsoft promises to deliver an up to 80% boost in performance. It uses integrated Intel UHD graphics and comes with 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM, as well as a UFS drive that can store up to 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB. The touchscreen measures 10.5 inches and provides a standard 3:2 aspect ratio with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,280, as well as up to 350 nits of brightness.

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Monica J. White
Monica is a UK-based freelance writer and self-proclaimed geek. A firm believer in the "PC building is just like expensive…
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