Back-to-school season is like a second New Year’s day, a fresh start with blank notebooks, a new backpack, and often, upgraded tech. Not all students will need a new laptop for school, but a lot of coursework is online now, whether you’re an online or in-person student at high school or college. If you’re planning to buy a new laptop between now and next school season, you might want to wait until mid-2024.
On Qualcomm’s Q1 2024 earnings call (via The Register), president and CEO Cristiano Amon said that the highly anticipated Snapdragon X Elite SoC will debut in “mid-2024.” Waiting to buy a laptop for this chip alone would be worth it, but it looks like back-to-school season will feature laptops equipped with the Snapdragon X Elite chip and Microsoft’s rumored Windows 12 operating system, both of which are very AI-centric.
2024 could be the year of AI-driven Windows PCs
When the Snapdragon X Elite SoC was announced last year, it advertised longer battery life for devices and impressive overall performance power. More specifically, performance power for AI workloads.
Recently, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite chip scored 21% higher than Apple’s M3 chip in a Geekbench 6 performance test. With this kind of power to drive AI-based programs and everything else, Apple’s M3 chip might have finally met its match.
By itself, the Snapdragon X Elite chip is powerful, but when you mix it with Windows 12, an operating system rumored to heavily feature AI, you get Windows laptops that have a fighting chance against Apple’s M3 MacBooks. Microsoft hasn’t officially said anything about Windows 12, but Qualcomm’s CEO Cristiano Amon said, “We’re tracking to the launch of products with this chipset tied with the next version of Microsoft Windows that has a lot of the Windows AI capabilities.”
A hand holding a Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite chip held in a sealed display case
He added that Qualcomm is “still maintaining the same date, which is driven by Windows, which is mid-2024, getting ready for back-to-school.” So while Microsoft hasn’t officially announced any Windows 12 news yet, Qualcomm seems pretty convinced that a mid-2024 release date is possible, and plans to launch Snapdragon X Elite products simultaneously with Windows 12.
To give parents and college students plenty of time to research options and see whether an AI-based Windows PC with a Snapdragon X Elite SoC is worth the hype, these laptops need to be released at least a few weeks to a month prior to school starting. The earliest school starts across North America and Europe is the first two weeks in August, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see these laptops hit the shelves in late June or early July.
As we get closer to the “mid-2024” release estimate, there’s undoubtedly going to be more information on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite chip or rumors about Windows 12 to discover.