Microsoft, even without the usual face of its Surface announcements, had plenty to show off to the assembled media and industry guests yesterday. Unsurprisingly, it led with (and focused on) its latest AI developments. Its Copilot AI assistant is now graduating to assist with all things Windows 11, in an update coming September 26. It will appear in apps such as Edge, while browsing the internet, not to mention Microsoft 365 programs like Word and Excel. You activate Copilot with your voice or a right click and can use it for the sort of things you might not remember keyboard shortcuts for — or just can’t be bothered to do manually, like organize windows on your desktop, delete the backgrounds from photos or even generate a Spotify playlist. It’s shaping up to be a wide-ranging AI tool.
I’ll get into a few more of the AI announcements, but they were punctuated by more Surface hardware, including the Surface Laptop Studio 2 (hybrid, not laptop, surely?), coming with a much-needed specification boost. It has an Intel 13th-gen i7 H class processor, up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 GPU, and a 14.4-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate, which can now tilt forward. There’s also an intriguing trackpad that seemingly rolls in some features from Microsoft’s accessibility-focused Adaptive Mouse.
The company also unveiled its third-generation Surface Laptop Go, which Microsoft claims is 88 percent faster than the original Go, for $799.
It wasn’t the event (or the hardware) to turn around the rut that Microsoft’s Surface line seems to be in, but there might be enough to satisfy folks thinking about getting a new laptop… or whatever the Studio 2 is.
— Mat Smith
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The green bubble/blue bubble controversy continues.
Google has been trying to publicly pressure Apple into adopting the GSMA’s RCS (Rich Communications Service) messaging protocol for a long time now, with the biggest response from Apple being CEO Tim Cook saying consumers should buy their moms an iPhone.
So now, it’s getting petty. Google’s “iPager” ad mimics Apple’s marketing language to reveal a retro-styled beeper, suggesting Apple’s behind the curve with its messaging platform. The spot says the iPager uses “outdated messaging tech” to “text with Android,” citing many of the perceived disadvantages of sticking with SMS technology. The question is: Who is this YouTube parody for?
For people who can’t continuously use fingers to move a cursor.
Microsoft continues to build inclusive accessories and features for its mainstream products, and the company showed off more at its annual fall event on Thursday. It unveiled an Adaptive Touch feature that works on the “precision haptic trackpad” of the Surface Laptop Studio 2. During its keynote, the company called this the “most inclusive touchpad on any laptop” and helps people who can’t continuously use their fingers to move a cursor around. The system looks for multiple points of contact with the trackpad, noticing if they’re moving in the same general direction, to determine where to move the mouse. It’s in part based on the technology Microsoft uses for palm rejection, but reconfigured for Adaptive Touch.
Another feature bites the dust.
X users will no longer be able to tweet to a small group of friends or add people to their Circles after that date. The website formerly known as Twitter has announced it’s deprecating Circles on October 31. The company launched Circles in August 2022, so the feature barely made it to its first birthday.