Microsoft joins AI-capable PC party

Firm launches two offerings aimed at the business market as it looks to include more GenAi features in its technology

The channel is looking forward to the introduction of AI-capable PCs sparking more hardware spending this year, and Microsoft has joined the ranks of vendors launching products that will arm partners with a fresh pitch.

The firm announced two products, the Surface Pro 10 and Laptop 6, which are designed for a business audience.

Chauncey Larsen, senior product marketing manager at Microsoft, said the products would give more enterprise customers the chance to take advantage of AI technology. 

“We designed these products from the ground up with direct input from our business customers, incorporating requested features ranging from enhanced connectivity options to advanced security and performance capabilities. These are our first AI PCs powered by the newest Intel Core Ultra processors, with a brand-new CPU and GPU, as well as an integrated neural processing unit – or NPU – for efficiently delivering AI acceleration,” he stated in a blogpost.

The products will also work with the firm’s Copilot key that provides access to GenAI features, and Microsoft has enhanced the Surface management portal to make life easier for users.

“Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6 are built for business and optimised for Microsoft productivity experiences with quick access to your everyday AI companion, Microsoft Copilot,” Larsen added.

Other hardware vendors are also readying AI-capable PCs with launches coming this year. The likes of Lenovo have talked about the positive impact on sales the introduction of the devices would have across the PC market.

Canalys is already expecting the emergence of the AI-capable devices to have an impact on PC sales booth this year and next. The analyst firm is expecting an estimated 48 million AI-capable PCs will ship worldwide this year, representing 18% of total PC shipments. The rate of adoption will increase, with unit shipments forecast to exceed 100 million in 2025, accounting for 40% of all PCs shipped.

“The wider availability of AI-accelerating silicon in personal computing will be transformative, leading to over 150 million AI-capable PCs shipping through to the end of 2025,” said Ishan Dutt, principal analyst at Canalys.

“PCs with dedicated on-device AI capabilities will enable new and improved user experiences, driving productivity gains and personalising devices at scale while offering better power efficiency, stronger security and reduced costs associated with running AI workloads. This emerging PC category opens new frontiers for both software developers and hardware vendors to innovate and deliver compelling use cases to customers across consumer, commercial and education scenarios,” added Dutt.

The channel should not only benefit from more PCs going out of the door, but also the higher margins the AI-capable devices will command.

“In the short term, Canalys expects a 10% to 15% price premium on AI-capable PCs compared with similarly specified PCs without NPU integration. With the spike in adoption, by the end of 2025, over half of PCs priced at US$800 and above will be AI-capable, with this share increasing to over 80% by 2028,” said Canalys analyst Kieren Jessop.

“PC shipments in this price range will grow to account for more than half the market in just four years. This will help boost the overall value of PC shipments from US$225bn in 2024 to over US$270bn in 2028,” he added.

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