Windows AI PC Manufacturers Must Add A Copilot Key, Says Microsoft


Windows AI PC Manufacturers Must Add A Copilot Key, Says Microsoft

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Key Takeaways

  • Copilot key now a requirement for AI PCs, as Microsoft demands its presence on all Windows AI PC keyboards.
  • Intel and Microsoft aligned on Core Ultra, Copilot, NPU for AI PCs; potential for systems without physical Copilot key.
  • Microsoft’s definition of AI PC includes Copilot key and an NPU; key hardware and software components for AI capabilities on Windows.

We’ve known of the Copilot key’s existence for a little while now. This special key takes over the Function key at the bottom right of the keyboard, which replaces the keycap with a Copilot logo. When pressed, it will bring up the Copilot app so you can ask it whatever you like. For a while now, we speculated that this may be an optional addition to keyboards, with some manufacturers opting not to add it. However, news has broken that Microsoft will demand that the Copilot key be added to all AI PC keyboards.


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All Windows AI PCs must feature the Copilot key

As reported by The Verge, Microsoft has declared to PC manufacturers that if they intend to make an AI PC for Windows, it must feature the Copilot key on the keyboard. It may even mean that any PCs released without the Copilot key, including any released prior to this news, aren’t considered “AI PCs” by Microsoft

Todd Lewellen from Intel went in-depth about the situation:

“Our joint aligned definition, Intel and Microsoft, we’ve aligned on Core Ultra, Copilot, and Copilot key. From an Intel perspective our AI PC has Core Ultra and it has an integrated NPU because it is unlocking all kinds of new capabilities and functions in the AI space. We have great alignment with Microsoft, but there are going to be some systems out there that may not have the physical key on it but it does have our integrated NPU.”

Microsoft’s idea of an “AI PC” will consist of a mix of hardware and software. This includes the aforementioned Copilot key, plus the requirement that the PC has a Neural Processing Unit (NPU). You can think of NPUs as the AI version of a CPU or GPU, a dedicated chip for artificial intelligence processes. And given how Microsoft is aiming to revamp Windows with AI, manufacturers will likely need to use this new AI-powered Windows on their PCs for it to count as an AI PC.

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