Microsoft: new Elite PCs will be faster than M3 Macs

Windows 11
(Image credit: Windows)

Next month Microsoft will unveil a new generation of "AI PCs" – and this generation could be the most interesting bunch of Windows laptops yet. According to documents seen by The Verge, Microsoft reckons that its new Snapdragon Elite laptops will be seriously speedy. So speedy, in fact, that they'll leave the M3 MacBook Air choking on their digital dust.

The event won't be livestreamed; it's strictly for invited journalists. And it's expected to feature new consumer versions of the Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6. Both devices are believed to have the latest Snapdragon X Elite processors inside as well as dedicated neural processing for Windows 11 AI. Microsoft says it'll be setting the stage for "the year of the AI PC".

So what does that mean?

Windows PCs are getting a whole lot faster

Modern PCs aren't exactly slow. But for some time now Apple has been the firm getting all the attention for its M1, M2 and M3 systems and their variants while Windows on ARM devices have lagged behind. According to The Verge, Microsoft reckons those days are over: the Snapdragon X Elite "will finally offer the performance it has been looking for to push Windows on ARM much more aggressively."

Microsoft is apparently so confident about these new processors that it'll be demoing them against the M3 MacBook Air not just in raw performance but in AI acceleration and app emulation too. According to the internal documents seen by The Verge, the new Windows AI PCs will masively outperform Apple's Rosetta 2, the platform it uses to run apps made for 64-bit Intel chips on Apple Silicon.

App emulation is crucial when you're introducing a new processor architecture, particularly on Windows where there are huge numbers of key apps that aren't yet made for ARM machines. As ARM PCs become more popular we'll see more and more native ARM apps, but emulation helps ensure that popularity by making the apps people want run from day one.

The May event isn't just about hardware. It's also about Microsoft's ongoing AI upgrades to Windows, which include an AI Explorer app that promises to find "anything you've ever seen or done on your device" alongside AI-powered video effects, image generation and CoPilot.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (