Microsoft claims Snapdragon X Elite PCs like Surface Pro 10 will beat M3 MacBook Air and have 'faster app emulation than Rosetta 2'

Snapdragon X Elite benchmarks
(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • Internal Microsoft documents state that new Windows AI PCs will have "faster app emulation than Rosetta 2," according to a recent report.
  • Microsoft is expected to announce the Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6 next month, both of which will run on Snapdragon X Elite processors.
  • Those new CPUs promise excellent native performance that competes with Apple's silicon, but now we're hearing boasts about emulated performance as well.

Microsoft is set to unveil its Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6 next month, and the tech giant has high expectations for the ARM CPUs that will power those PCs. Microsoft is reportedly confident that its new Surface PCs running on Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite chips will beat Apple's M3 MacBook Air in several key areas. The reports of confidence come courtesy of The Verge, which shared snippets of internal documents seen by the outlet.

While big-name app developers have jumped on board the Windows 11 on ARM train, emulation is still important for ARM-based computing. Consumers want their apps to simply work, not to have to jump through hoops or deal with lag. Microsoft's internal documentation states that Windows AI PCs will have "faster app emulation than Rosetta 2," according to The Verge. That would be quite an achievement, as Rosetta 2 is well-regarded and delivers solid performance.

Microsoft added x64 emulation a couple of years ago, which helped improve the app situation for Windows 11 on ARM. But emulated apps are still noticeably worse than native ARM64 applications. Snapdragon X Elite could change that. I'm sure there will still be some drop in performance or efficiency, but if that gap is less dramatic, it could be enough to win people over.

The first round of Windows 11 on ARM PC should start shipping in June, assuming reports and rumors all prove to be accurate. That launch date will come one month after Microsoft's AI PC event next month.

Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6

Microsoft Surface Pro 9 in red on a wooden table

The Surface Pro 10 is expected to look similar to the Surface Pro 9 but features a Snapdragon X Elite processor. (Image credit: Zac Bowden | Windows Central)

Microsoft unveiled the Surface Pro 10 for business and Surface Laptop 6 for business recently, but those aren't the Surface PCs everyday users will be excited about. No, those will be announced next month. Microsoft will reportedly showcase its Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6 at an AI PC event on May 20, 2024.

At the event, we expect to see the Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6, both of which will run on Snapdragon X Elite CPUs. Those processors are some of the most anticipated tech of 2024 when it comes to computing. Qualcomm has shared benchmarks and teased the chips for ages. Soon, we'll get to see how they perform in the real world.

Microsoft fully embracing the Snapdragon X Elite for its flagship Surface PCs is a significant vote of confidence from the tech giant. Microsoft tested the ARM PC waters with the Surface Pro X, which was sold alongside other Surface Pro devices. The Surface Pro 9 had Intel and ARM versions. But the consumer version of the Surface Pro 10 takes Microsoft's journey to ARM-powered computing to another level.

The year of Windows 11 on ARM?

Surface Pro X

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Windows 11 on ARM could have its moment in 2024. Microsoft has improved Windows on ARM steadily over the years and developers are finally getting on board. Ironically, we'll know that Windows 11 on ARM is successful when people don't think about Windows on ARM when buying or reviewing PCs.

When devices like the Surface Pro X came out, reviewers lauded the hardware of the device, which to this day is arguably the most impressive Surface when it comes to design. But just about Surface Pro X review I read had a big section about Windows on ARM, if your favorite apps will work, and if you can use Google Chrome. PC makers don't want to make computers where people need to study a list of apps and check for compatibility.

Consumers don't want to do that type of research either, and I'd argue they shouldn't have to. Qualcomm's Snapdragon X Elite and Microsoft's improvements to Windows 11 on ARM could put an end to the caveats and disclaimers attached to otherwise impressive ARM-powered PCs.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at

  • naddy69
    But since the X Elite has 12 cores and the M3 in the MacBook Air has 8, this is like bragging that a 12 core i7 is faster than an 8 core i7.

    IOW, so what?

    AGAIN, why aren't they comparing to the 12 core M3 in the MacBook Pro?