Microsoft could be planning to infuse Windows 11 with AI in every corner

Windows 11 on a laptop
(Image credit: Unsplash)

Windows 11 could get AI enhancements for a bunch of its core apps in the future, according to a well-known source of leaks on all things Microsoft.

Zac Bowden (of Windows Central) informs us Microsoft is considering bolstering a ‘handful’ of the default apps in Windows 11 with AI functionality, and that includes Photos, Snipping Tool, Paint, and the Camera app.

The idea for Photos is that with images containing people or objects, the AI could identify these and give the user the ability to order them to be cut out and pasted to another image (or document, or wherever).

With Paint, the idea might be to usher in generative AI, meaning you could ask the app to create something specific (in the same vein that the Bing chatbot can knock up a composition of an image when given a brief).

For the Snipping Tool, the idea is to introduce OCR (optical character recognition) which could allow the tool to pick up on text in screenshots, facilitating the extraction of those words to the clipboard. The Camera app may also get a similar OCR trick to pull out text from photos.

Bowden underlines that these ideas are still at the experimental stage, and it’s not clear when they might come to Windows 11.

Analysis: Windows 11 or Windows AI?

The fact that these capabilities are experimental suggests that they may not be coming to Windows 11 in the near future (if they ever do – this is just speculation, after all). Who knows, though – Microsoft could have a lot of the groundwork in place (for example, the image creation functionality already in Bing AI), and it could happen faster than we think.

Certainly, these are going to be very handy features if they do arrive in Windows 11. They’ll cut corners in impressively swift ways – pulling text out of photos more or less instantly, for example, and cutting out a person from an image in the blink of an eye (a painstaking task when performed manually, of course).

So, what’s the catch? Well, apart from the rumored nature of these AI features, Bowden does observe that they may have hardware requirements in some cases. That could include the presence of a VPU or vision processing unit, for example (a capability set to be built into Intel’s next-gen Meteor Lake CPUs, which speeds up AI-based tasks).

All of the above-mentioned features sound realistic inclusions for Windows 11 at some point, beefing up the operating system’s core apps considerably, and fitting neatly alongside Windows Copilot in making the OS a more AI-driven experience all-round.

If this rumor makes one thing clearer, it’s Microsoft’s ambition to infuse Windows 11 with AI in every corner – or maybe next-gen Windows, which as Bowden observes, will incorporate AI more ‘significantly.’ Perhaps that’ll be Windows 12, as rumored, or maybe the next incarnation of the OS could called Windows AI, even?

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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).