Physical Copilot key will be mandatory on the keyboard of Microsoft's AI PCs

Intel has shared details of what the requirements will be for an 'AI PC' and they include an NPU, and also a demand that a Copilot key must be present.

2 minutes & 18 seconds read time

We keep hearing about AI PCs, and some more info just dripped through on the topic - namely that such a device will have a hard requirement in terms of a dedicated key for Copilot on the keyboard.

The concept of the Copilot key was introduced by Microsoft back at in January 24, with the idea being that it's a dedicated key in the same vein as the Windows key, except obviously in this case tapping it summons the AI assistant.

Apparently having a Copilot key on the keyboard deck of your AI PC will be mandatory going by details Intel just shared as spotted by The Verge.

The requirements for an AI PC are to have an NPU on-board the chip powering the device - as seen in Meteor Lake, of course, from Intel - as well as Copilot itself within the installation of Windows 11. And the final stipulation is that physical Copilot key.

Having Copilot in Windows is one thing - and it has already annoyed some folks, even though you can ignore it and turn off the relevant icons if you wish, it's not possible to actually uninstall the AI (not without fudging or using third-party hacks, anyway - methods we wouldn't recommend in all honesty).

Making a Copilot key mandatory - which can never be removed from the keyboard - is likely to be a step too far in terms of intrusiveness. Then again, you don't have to buy an 'AI PC', but we're betting that quite a few laptops coming out later this year, and on into the future, will be these models.

That'll be the case if Microsoft has anything to do with it (and the software giant most certainly will), and we've been informed in no uncertain terms that 2024 will be the year of the AI PC.

You may be wondering what happens if you don't have Copilot installed on your laptop - perhaps because of regional restrictions - and it has a key for the AI assistant. Well, it won't simply do nothing, but instead Microsoft will have it launch Windows search.

In other recent news related to Microsoft's AI, there's been some oddness in terms of a Copilot app being stealthily installed on some Windows 11 PCs. This isn't just in testing, either, but has happened with both preview and release builds of Windows 11.

Fortunately, it's easily removed, and seems to be a simple empty placeholder - not any actual app at all, in fact. But the way this has happened has certainly raised a few eyebrows, shall we say.

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Darren has written for numerous magazines and websites in the technology world for almost 30 years, including TechRadar, PC Gamer, Eurogamer, Computeractive, and many more. He worked on his first magazine (PC Home) long before Google and most of the rest of the web existed. In his spare time, he can be found gaming, going to the gym, and writing books (his debut novel – ‘I Know What You Did Last Supper’ – was published by Hachette UK in 2013).

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