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Microsoft’s new Copilot secret’s the primary large change to Home windows keyboards in 30 years

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Microsoft desires 2024 to be “the yr of the AI PC,” and it’s kicking issues off with a big change to the keyboard on new laptops and PCs. A brand new Copilot key will ship on quite a lot of new PCs and laptops from Microsoft’s companions, offering fast entry to Microsoft’s AI-powered Home windows Copilot expertise straight from a keyboard button press.

The Copilot secret’s the primary large change to the Home windows PC keyboard structure in practically three many years. “Practically 30 years in the past, we launched the Home windows key to the PC keyboard that enabled individuals everywhere in the world to work together with Home windows,” says Yusuf Mehdi, govt vice chairman and client chief advertising and marketing officer at Microsoft. “We see this as one other transformative second in our journey with Home windows the place Copilot would be the entry level into the world of AI on the PC.”

The brand new Copilot key sits subsequent to the right-hand alt key on Home windows keyboards.
Picture: Microsoft

This new Copilot key will substitute the menu key (software key) that was launched alongside the Home windows key many years in the past. It will likely be positioned subsequent to the right-hand alt key on most keyboards, with the location various by OEM and throughout totally different markets. It’s in the identical spot the place Microsoft added a dedicated Office key to its personal keyboards in 2019. The Copilot key merely launches the Home windows Copilot that’s constructed into Home windows 11, providing up a ChatGPT-like chatbot that may reply queries and even take actions inside Home windows.

If Home windows Copilot isn’t out there in your nation simply but, the Copilot key will launch Home windows Search as a substitute. Whereas the prevailing Home windows key can open the Begin menu or be mixed with quite a lot of different keys for shortcuts to Home windows options and capabilities, the Copilot secret’s only a launch key for now. It’s not clear if Microsoft plans to allow you to use the Copilot key together with different keys sooner or later.

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Microsoft isn’t discussing which OEMs will add the Copilot key, leaving the bulletins for subsequent week’s Shopper Electronics Present and past. Mehdi says we’ll “begin to see the Copilot key unveiled on new Home windows 11 PCs from our ecosystem companions, with availability starting later this month by Spring, together with on upcoming Floor gadgets.”

The Copilot key will launch Microsoft’s built-in Home windows Copilot expertise.
Screenshot by Tom Warren / The Verge

It seems like Microsoft has been constructing Copilot into all the pieces all through 2023, and this new Copilot secret’s a part of larger AI-powered adjustments which might be deliberate for Home windows all through 2024. “On this new yr, we will likely be ushering in a big shift towards a extra private and clever computing future the place AI will likely be seamlessly woven into Home windows from the system, to the silicon, to the {hardware},” says Mehdi. “This won’t solely simplify individuals’s computing expertise but additionally amplify it, making 2024 the yr of the AI PC.”

Microsoft is engaged on a Windows “refresh” that will likely be targeted on new AI options, alongside including AI to an increasing number of elements of its software program and companies. Microsoft has even began the yr by branding Microsoft Edge as the “AI browser,” signaling that Microsoft’s AI push is way from over.

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