Microsoft will launch its new Surface computers on October 12

Microsoft’s fall launch of new Surface models now has an official date: October 12. This date coincides with the launch of the Ignite IT Pro conference and the following day the Meta Connect event.

On September 21, Microsoft released a dedicated page for the event. This page simply says “Watch live to see what’s happening” with a watercolor version of the Windows wallpaper. The event starts at 16:00 (French time).

At the event, Microsoft is expected to announce a number of revamped Surface-branded products. However, these products should not be related to the topics of metaverse, virtual reality and augmented reality, according to Microsoft observers at this stage. Various websites predict that Microsoft will introduce a new Surface Laptop 5, its large-screen Surface Studio 3 all-in-one desktop and the Surface Pro 9 family of 2-in-1 convertibles. Microsoft may also launch a Surface-branded gaming laptop at the event, which in theory doesn’t seem too far-fetched given the importance Microsoft places on Xbox gaming services. (But so far, most corporate observers don’t seem to give much credence to the rumor).

Microsoft bets on Arm

It looks like a big theme for the Surface launch this fall will be Microsoft banking more and more on Arm for some of their products. As Windows Central first reported, the Surface Pro 9 could include Intel- and Arm-based models, which would be a not-so-subtle positioning statement about how Microsoft thinks its Windows-on-Arm is ready.

Speaking of Arm, Microsoft may also use its October 12 event to announce the availability of “Project Volterra,” which it first revealed at its Build conference in May. Project Volterra is an arm-based desktop PC that Microsoft positions as a workstation for developers, particularly suitable for artificial intelligence, as it integrates a neural processing unit (NPU) from Qualcomm.

The Volterra project

When Microsoft officials unveiled Project Volterra earlier this year, Microsoft touted what they called a “cross-development model for building AI experiences that span the cloud and the edge,” which they called the “Hybrid Loop.” This capability will be demonstrated by the ONNX runtime and Azure Machine Learning, as well as a prototype AI toolchain that enables developers to target CPUs, GPUs, Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) and NPUs. .

For about a year, Microsoft has intensified its work with Windows on Arm (WoA). For more than five years, Microsoft has been trying to make WoA a commercially viable alternative to Windows on Intel, but hasn’t had much success. Since Apple began the Arm adventure with its own silicon, Microsoft officials seem to have decided to double down on the company’s work on Arm PCs by porting more of its own software natively to the Arm.

However, Microsoft is, at least for now, dependent on Qualcomm to bring better Arm chips to the PC market. And that’s not expected to happen until late 2023 (or possibly later, given Arm’s recent lawsuit against Qualcomm.


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