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The bigger story as Microsoft introduces Copilot+ PCs

Most of the focus has been on AI. It is after all, the tech sector's darling right now. But something else is going on.
The bigger story as Microsoft introduces Copilot+ PCs

Earlier today Microsoft took the wraps off a new Windows PC format that adds AI hardware and software.

It's a big story, but it hides an even bigger story.

There are new Microsoft Surface devices along with Windows PCs from brands like HP, Lenovo and Dell that use Qualcomm ARM chips. It marks a shift away from Intel's dominance of the Windows PC market.

Qualcomm's AI-enabled chips are a lot more powerful than anything Intel offers at the moment. More importantly, they give Windows laptops the kind of long battery lives that MacBook users have enjoyed in recent years.

Both Qualcomm and Intel offer chips that include a separate Neural Processor Unit or NPU designed to handle AI workloads without draining battery power. Apple's M4 processor has similar technology.

Last month I saw HP launch a range of Intel-based AI PCs. At the event I talked to HP executives who hinted that more powerful models were in the pipeline. They didn't take long to appear. Today's launches, the company's second wave of AI PC hardware, lifts the bar higher.

Two things will be interesting to watch. The first is how Intel fares from this point. The company has been in slow decline for years. If the new wave of AI PCs take off, it will struggle to recover any relevance.

The second is whether the emergence of AI PCs breathes life back into PC sales. My hunch is that long battery life and much more processing power will drive upgrades, but not across the board.