Microsoft has declared that 2024 will be the “year of the AI PC.” To emphasize this, the company unveiled a new Copilot key today. This physical key will soon be added to your keyboard, joining the Windows keys Control, Alt, and the Insert key you’ve never used on purpose. According to the picture that Microsoft provided, the new Copilot key will appear to take the position of the right Control key on a typical PC keyboard, fitting in between the Alt and left arrow keys.
In today’s release, Yusuf Mehdi, Executive Vice President and Consumer Chief Marketing Officer at Microsoft, states that “the introduction of the Copilot key marks the first significant change to the Windows PC keyboard in nearly three decades.” “We think it will make it easier for everyone to participate in the AI revolution. The Copilot key is now a fundamental component of the PC keyboard, functioning with the Windows key. When hit, it launches the Copilot application within Windows, ensuring smooth integration of Copilot into your daily routine.
When using the Copilot key, Windows Search will open in areas where Copilot is not accessible. The first keyboards using the new key will probably begin shipping in late February, and they will likely be unveiled during this year’s CES in Las Vegas.
The fact that Microsoft has added a new button for the first time since the Windows logo key initially appeared on a Microsoft Natural Keyboard in 1994 should be enough to convince you that the company is fully committed to the AI hype train.
To “unlock new AI experiences on the Windows PC,” Microsoft and its chip partners, AMD and Intel, anticipate that a large portion of AI inferencing will soon be offloaded onto local silicon. “This is another transformative moment in our journey with Windows, where Copilot will be the entry point into the world of AI on the PC,” says Microsoft, never one to mince words.
Fortunately, your old keyboards will keep working the same way. If your keyboard lets you, you might even be able to remap your right Control key to behave similarly to the Copilot key. Of course, you might also choose to disregard everything.