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What to expect from Microsoft’s Surface event today

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One of Microsoft’s most consequential hardware events in years is about to take place. It’s not Microsoft Build — the company’s developer conference — which kicks off on Tuesday. Instead, Microsoft is holding a small event today, May 20th, to talk about its next Surface devices.

At the event, we’re expecting Microsoft to announce new versions of the Surface Pro 10 and the Surface Laptop 6, both running on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite processors. It’s Microsoft’s latest attempt to switch to Arm — and one that the company believes is finally going to stick. The change should deliver far better battery life; and if early rumors are true, Qualcomm’s chip should be powerful enough to keep up with the Intel processors it’s replacing.

The Surface Pro 10 for Business. This model, released in April, has an Intel chip, but the Arm version is expected to look the same.
Image: Microsoft

These devices are also expected to include dedicated AI hardware accelerators called NPUs to better support coming Windows 11 AI features. One of those rumored features, AI Explorer, is supposed to keep track of everything you do on your Windows 11 machine, then let you prompt the AI about what you’ve been up to. Microsoft is reportedly building dozens of language models into the system so that these chips can run AI features locally.

The Surface Laptop 6 for Business, which didn’t get the physical changes rumored for the new one.
Image: Microsoft

Today’s Surface event may also be the start of a bigger push from Microsoft. A lot more “AI PC” laptops that use Qualcomm’s new chip are rumored to be on the way. Around the event, we’ll also probably hear about other Snapdragon X-equipped machines from the likes of Asus, Dell, and Lenovo. Microsoft is apparently very confident that new Arm chips will put Windows machines back in the game against Apple’s powerful yet battery-efficient computers.

The event won’t be broadcast — only journalists are allowed to attend — so keep an eye on The Verge for live coverage of today’s news when the event kicks off at 10AM PT / 1PM ET.

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