Next Step in AI Computers – Microsoft introduces Copilot key to the Upcoming Windows Keyboards

Updated on January 4 2024
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Copilot has been my favorite AI chatbot for the last few months. The main reason is its ability to access internet while quoting the sources. Moreover, I found it much better than Bard as Bard quoted wrong facts more than I remember. 

Hence, the news that Microsoft is going to add a dedicated key called Copilot Key, to the coming Windows keyboards, is very exciting for me. Microsoft also plan to use next generation GPU, CPU, NPU and cloud technology to bring the true Windows AI experience to our computers. 

Here is a breakdown of Copilot Key, why do we need it, when will we get it and more on Microsoft’s future plans with AI.

What is Copilot Key?

The Copilot key on the next-generation Windows keyboards represents a significant departure from the traditional layout, marking the first substantial change in nearly three decades. On laptops, it will typically replace the Menu key, and on full-size desktop keyboards, it will potentially take the place of the second Windows key, 

The Copilot key serves as a gateway to Microsoft’s AI-powered assistant, Copilot. Pressing it will launch a dedicated sidebar, providing swift access to a range of AI features. These include code suggestions, translations, answers to queries, assistance with tasks like email composition and document creation, as well as access to Copilot for broader conversations and searches. 

Why do we need a Copilot Key on keyboards?

Copilot Key on Keyboards
Copilot Key on a Keyboard (Source: PC World)

No one likes changes. If you are like me who is using a Windows computer for more than 15 years now, you might not even like the latest Windows 11. At least, I am still using Windows 10 because I don’t want to waste time on learning new things if there is no significant increase in productivity.

However, having a Copilot Key on keyboards will help us to access AI much more easily. I think it will enhance discoverability, particularly for new users.

And from a marketing standpoint, the key serves as a symbol of Microsoft’s commitment to AI. 

However, some might argue against its need, pointing out limited use for those who infrequently interact with AI, potential disruption to existing keyboard layouts, and the perceived redundancy given the availability of alternative access methods like shortcuts and taskbar icons. 

Critics also contend that Microsoft should prioritize software improvements for Copilot rather than introducing hardware changes. 

Ultimately, the Copilot key’s necessity is subjective, offering convenience for some while potentially disrupting the workflow of others. As this technology is still in its early stages, its long-term impact on user experience and the evolution of computing remains uncertain, awaiting user adoption and integration into diverse workflows to determine its true significance.

Also read: How to create songs and music in Microsoft’s Copilot using Suno?

When will the Copilot Key be available on Keyboards?

Microsoft Surface Laptops will get Copilot Key first
Microsoft will add the Copilot Key to its Surface Laptops rolling out this month

Microsoft says that the Microsoft Surface devices that will be manufactured from this month (January 2024) will have a Copilot Key. 

So we can anticipate to debut in devices rolling out this month, with a probable showcase at CES 2024. So we can assume that other manufacturers will adopt this hardware change very soon as well. 

Computers that will have a Copilot key

Officially, Microsoft has only announced Surface laptops and PCs will have a Copilot key in the keyboard from this month. However, as they are partnered with companies like AMD, Intel and Qualcomm to create truly AI computers, we can expect that other associated manufacturers like Dell, Lenovo, Asus, HP, etc. will be adopting this change in the keyboard very soon. 

Windows 12 Rumors

There are rumors that Microsoft will also be launching Windows 12 soon which will be first truly AI OS. Although they are rumors, it is important to note that even the Copilot key on the new keyboards was a rumor a few weeks ago. Hence, it is quite believable that Microsoft can indeed launch Windows 12 very soon.

How will it affect Copilot?

Microsoft Copilot Key with Copilot Access features (1)
Copilot can help you do a lot

Forrester reported that Microsoft 365 Copilot, which is a paid service package generally used by corporations, is going to have over 6.9 million users in the US. The surprising fact is, this is for the paid version. As Copilot is free to use for consumers, there are surely more users. 

Now, adding to this, if every computer has a Copilot key, it will become more accessible for new users. Hence, as mentioned earlier, I think its a great marketing move by Microsoft and a leap into the future of AI.

Conclusion

The new Copilot key on upcoming Windows keyboards is a big change in how keyboards look and even bigger in how we work on our laptops. I am also a fan of Microsoft’s plans to use AI technology in future Windows devices to change the whole Windows experience. As Microsoft has already started to put this key on their Surface devices this month, the demand for these laptops will be much higher. The rumors of Windows 12, make this whole news much more exciting. 

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