Both Intel and Microsoft seem to be preparing for the not yet announced Windows 12. Hardware leaker @leaf_hobby, known for disclosing the full specs of Intel’s Xeon chips ahead of launch, has released details about Intel’s Meteor Lake desktop platform. Intel is reportedly mentioning internally that its next-gen CPUs will support Windows 12.
While the tweet has since been deleted, VideoCardz notes that Meteor Lake is expected to feature 20 PCIe Gen5 lanes and support for Windows 12. We asked Intel to comment on the leak, but the company declined. Microsoft also declined to comment on reports from Intel preparing to support Windows 12.
While Microsoft hasn’t announced any plans for Windows 12, there are already signs that the company is looking at future versions of Windows to incorporate AI-powered features. “As we begin development of future versions of Windows, we will consider other places where AI should play a natural role in relation to the experience,” Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s head of consumer marketing, said in an interview earlier this week with The Verge.
The new AI-powered Bing is now accessible from the Windows 11 taskbar. Image: Microsoft
Mehdi discussed the latest Windows 11 update that brings the new AI-powered version of Bing to the taskbar. This update also includes AI-powered recommended content in the Start menu for business users. Microsoft is also reportedly working on AI-powered smart snapping features for Windows 11.
Mehdi’s comment follows Windows CEO Panos Panay’s claim at CES earlier this year that “AI will reinvent how you do everything on Windows.” Microsoft’s Surface team has also hinted at how AI could transform the way we use PCs. AI “is going to have a potentially profound impact on how you use your computer and how it will evolve significantly in terms of its form,” Steven Bathiche, head of Microsoft’s applied sciences group, said in an interview with The Verge last year .
If Microsoft actually plans to use AI more broadly in its next version of Windows, it would need to work closely with hardware partners like Intel and AMD to optimize chips that can handle AI workloads. That could explain why Intel is reportedly already mentioning Windows 12 internally.
AMD recently launched its Ryzen 7000 mobile processors, boasting that they’re the first x86 chips to include a dedicated AI engine capable of supporting Microsoft’s Windows Studio Effects. These features, including background noise removal and eye contact removal, are typically only available on arm-powered hardware that can operate the features with a dedicated neural processing unit (NPU). So it’s clear that AMD and Microsoft are laying the groundwork for more AI-powered features in traditional Windows laptops.
Intel won’t be far behind on the AI front, however. Expected later this year or early 2024, Meteor Lake is a major step for Intel as it will be built on the company’s Intel 4 (7nm) node and will be its first “chiplet” design with separate chips for the CPU will cores, integrated graphics and input / output. It will also include AI features similar to those AMD introduced on its Ryzen 7000 mobile CPUs.
Both AMD and Intel are struggling to catch up with Apple and its latest M2 chips, which feature a dedicated AI chip that can handle 15.8 trillion operations per second — 40 percent more than the M1. Apple uses its Core ML platform to run machine learning models on MacBooks to speed up speech recognition tasks, image processing, and more. All of this is energy efficient as it uses the dedicated NPU instead of hitting the CPU and GPU.
Microsoft also reportedly switched back to a three-year release cycle for Windows last year, meaning the next major version of Windows could arrive in 2024 — good timing for some new CPUs. Microsoft originally moved away from its three-year cycle with the release of Windows 10 in 2015, prioritizing the idea of Windows as a Service. Windows 11 then marked the end of the idea that Windows 10 could be “the last version of Windows”.
Microsoft has also started focusing on updating Windows 11 much faster than the big annual updates it originally promised when the operating system launched in 2021. The software maker delivered the latest major Windows 11 update earlier this week, adding AI-powered Bing to the taskbar, improvements to widgets, a better touch mode, a screen recording feature, and more.