All The Features Shown At Microsoft’s Copilot+ PC Sydney Launch, Ranked

8 min read

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An unavoidable anti-perk of being in Australian media is one must, on a regular basis, make the pilgrimage to Sydney. Unfortunately, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been made to traverse the soulless entrails of Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport. Still, one must make sacrifices for one’s craft. I suppose there are worse fates.

At least this time it was interesting.

Last Tuesday (June 18), Microsoft launched its Copilot+ PCs worldwide. 

Copilot+ PCs are Microsoft’s latest step into the world of AI, designed to make your computer feel more like a helpful sidekick. These new machines come equipped with a Neural Processing Unit (NPU), which is basically a tiny AI brain that can perform 40 trillion operations per second

Microsoft claims these are the fastest, most intelligent Windows PCs ever built, capable of tasks that would make other computers scream cry and throw up in defeat. 

And that’s why I found myself standing in front of Microsoft’s Sydney Experience Centre on Pitt Street.

Media events can be quite boring, but the promise of free drinks and canapes is enough to lure scumbag journalists like me. This one, however, seemed different right off the bat. The invite promised much: This isn’t just an event; it’s your passport to the new world of technology, a realm of possibilities – where creativity and productivity know no bounds. 

Okay, I’m interested.

Image: Microsoft

Once inside, guests were given a boarding pass and passport and told we’d be travelling to five “destinations” designed to showcase Microsoft’s Copilot+ PC new features.

Once we’d “checked in” we were left to roam the two-storey store and dive into the new PCs first-hand.

Image: Microsoft

It wouldn’t be a tech event without a DJ.

Throughout the night I wondered if this fruit was for eating or decoration. But this is not a fruit blog, well, not yet. Anyway, let’s dive into what was on show, shall we? 

8. Destination Dispatch: AI Mail Assistance

Image: Microsoft

I started playing around with a laptop on a bench, not knowing I had unwittingly stumbled across the first destination. This stop was all about experiencing the power of Copilot in Word. The premise was simple — write a postcard poem from a holiday destination of your choosing. I was tempted to write a screed from North Korea but I didn’t want to get on any blacklists.

Of course, Copilot is not just a Word thing — it’ll be there to help you do basically anything on the new range of PCs.

7. Copilot+ PCs: Welcome to the New World of Technology

This one I was excited about because it was in its own little room, guarded by a man who took your boarding pass and said things like “This will be about a 10-minute wait” — intriguing. What could be in there? What is worth waiting 10 minutes for? The fact it was touted as a personalised experience made it even more alluring.

Upon stepping inside a dark room, I was greeted by a giant Copilot+ PC and instructed to stand on the keys, walk around, do a little dance — whatever I pleased. 

Image: Microsoft

Then began the personalised aspect.

And by that I mean it knew my name, and that’s about as personalised as it got. I stood there while watching a brief presentation, and then it was over. Somewhat underwhelming, but I can now say I’ve danced on a giant keyboard. 

6. These gaming chairs

Okay this wasn’t a Copilot+ PC feature, but oh my word. So comfy. One day, when I’ve made it big, I will have a grand mahogany dining table that seats 16 and it will be round and heavy and powerful. And all around it will be these chairs. Ultimate gamer comfort.

5. Copilot Explorer: Travelling across the Web

Image: Microsoft

The next stop was another round on a Copilot+ PC (regular size) to try out Copilot’s power when used on the web. The task was to plan a holiday, so I typed a simple prompt explaining I wanted to see as many volcanoes as possible in Japan. In seconds it generated an entire itinerary. We have entered the era of truly personalised travel. 

And sure, plenty of LLMS can do this, but what sets Copilot+ apart is its integration of AI directly into the system rather than relying on cloud-based operations. This local processing ensures faster, more private and, potentially, more personalised interactions.

4. Memory mastermind

Image: Microsoft

This was the only destination on the ground floor and it was all about the Copilot+ PC’s Recall feature. The way this was done was actually really fun. Tucked away in a corner beside the DJ booth was a staff member who informed me that Microsoft had marked six random items throughout the building with a Copilot logo. I was asked if I recalled seeing any. Even though I had almost certainly seen  at least one throughout the night, my brain hadn’t actually registered it. Or them. Which was normal — if we held on to everything we perceived, we would have an instant nervous breakdown. At least, I would.

This exercise was a pretty clever demo of the power of Copilot’s Recall feature, which is basically an opt-in program that takes a screenshot of your device every five seconds and stores it locally, so (theoretically) only you have access to it. 

In real-world use, Recall allows users to easily find and remember information they’ve previously seen on their PC. It works by indexing and understanding the content you interact with, making it searchable through natural language queries. 

For instance, if you vaguely remember seeing an interesting article about an elephant that can stand on one leg, but can’t recall where or when you saw it, you could ask Copilot to find it, and it will scan your previous nine months of activity. 

This feature aims to combat the modern problem of information overload by helping users retrieve things that might otherwise be lost in the vast sea of data we encounter daily.

Of course, it’s not been without its, shall we say, controversies — as is to be expected of something that takes screenshots of your device every five seconds. At present, Microsft has recalled its Recall feature, delaying the rollout for the moment.

3. The pork belly

The astute among you will probably suspect pork belly isn’t one of the new Microsoft Copilot+ PC features. But oh my god I wish it was. I wish every time you booted up one of the new PCs some magic entity would appear and serve you a nice little plate of this specific pork belly.

Media events usually have snacks and canapes and hors d’oeuvres and what-have-yous, but this one was different. I had one taste and I needed more. I went back for seconds and then thirds and the only thing that stopped me from attacking the entire plate was the social stigma that would come from my peers witnessing my pupils dilating to full black while I descended into a great white shark-like feeding frenzy.

Microsoft, give that chef a raise.

2. Cocreator — Bring your Ideas to Life

This part was really cool. Using Cocreator in Paint, we were told to use a combination of basic prompts and digital ink strokes to create a piece of art. Art ability didn’t matter here — stick figures acted as a guide, and Cocreator did the rest.

I am an uncomplicated man. I like monkeys, I like goats, and I love soccer. As you can see, it was already a masterpiece on the left, but Cocreator added some nice finishing touches.

Image: Microsoft

Then this kind chap brought that creation to life on what has now become my favourite tote bag. 

1. The special gift

Throughout the night, there were hints of a special gift for anyone who visited and had their passport stamped at all five destinations. Could it be? Could we all potentially be walking away with a brand new Copilot+ PC? Surely not. And yet, the anticipation grew. The entire night I kept wondering what could be so special about this gift. And then the moment arrived.

A huge ass umbrella.

Don’t get me wrong, I love umbrellas as much as the next guy. I’d consider myself an umbrella fan. I appreciate what they have done for society. But I struggled to figure out what umbrellas had to do with all this. Was I stupid? Was there a hidden, deeper meaning I just didn’t get?

Maybe, I thought, it’s because this whole thing was travel-themed. But then, wouldn’t the umbrella be small and compact? This thing was massive. I wondered if they’d let me bring it on the plane back to Melbourne.

But as I walked the streets of Sydney with my giant umbrella, I came to appreciate it more. I’d never held an umbrella that was so big and yet so smooth — it opened instantly with the press of a button. It closed with the agility and ease of an umbrella half its size. It was strong and sturdy, yet sleek and beautiful.

In the end, it was taken from me as I passed through Sydney’s airport security on my way back to Melbourne, but our separation was temporary. After some testing for explosives, it was given the all clear.

When I arrived back in Melbourne, I asked Copilot what the umbrella might signify.