The next Windows laptop you buy could come with a slightly different keyboard, as Microsoft pushes the AI PC with a new key.
We don’t often see new keys for keyboards because keyboards are very much set in stone. They’re QWERTY with a line of numbers, a set of arrows and directions, and a row of function keys, plus some specialised keys for each operating system.
Every company handles keyboard build differently, and we certainly have our favourites to type on, but they are typically the same: a Windows keyboard is a Windows keyboard and a Mac keyboard is a Mac keyboard. They don’t seem to change.
But the very idea of a Windows keyboard being the same is about to change, as Microsoft kicks of the generation of the AI PC with a new key on Windows keyboards: one made specifically for the AI Copilot functionality built into Windows.
With every new Windows PC sold with the current crop of Intel Core Ultra and AMD AI-ready chips, you are very likely going to see support for AI built in, one of the trends we expect to be big this year. And to help push that even further, Microsoft appears to be adding a key specifically for the Windows Copilot function.
This week’s announcement of the additional key hasn’t said if it will replace the current Windows key found on the left side of a keyboard, or whether it will be something new.
Certainly the placement in Microsoft’s teaser video suggests the key is on the right side, which would mean it isn’t replacing the traditional Windows key.
However, Microsoft has noted where Copilot isn’t enabled or set up to work, the special Copilot key would launch Search on Windows computers, which is distinct to the standard Windows key launching the Start function. That suggests this could be a new key alongside the regular Windows key, or it could even replace the Office key found on some Windows keyboards.
Whatever it is, our guess is we’ll see examples of this key in laptops next week, with CES 2024 set to kick off, which will likely mean a whole bunch of laptops being announced alongside. Stay tuned.