While announcing its new Surface devices, Microsoft quietly revealed that Windows 11 is about to get a whole lot more appealing to those with an iPhone in their pocket. Apple TV Plus and Apple Music will be getting their own Windows 11 apps in the near future, and the iCloud app is being updated to work properly with Windows Photos software.
That’s a big deal for iPhone owners whose loyalty to Apple doesn’t extend to having a Mac. While all of Apple’s services work seamlessly on macOS, for the most part they can only be accessed on Windows through a web browser.
All of that will change starting this year, according to Microsoft, starting with the integration of iCloud and the Photos app in November. “It’s seamless, just install the iCloud for Windows app from the Microsoft Store and choose to sync your iCloud photos,” Microsoft chief product officer Panos Panay wrote in a blog post mainly on its new Surface devices.
Since iCloud was one of the few Apple services already available on Windows, this is a relatively minor update, but the other announcements are not. Apple Music and AppleTV More will arrive as Windows apps next year, saving subscribers from having to access their shows and tunes through a web browser or through third-party apps such as Cider.
Microsoft’s other big platform – the Xbox – is also getting a boost. While Apple TV Plus was already available, Apple Music has just arrived and is free to download now.
Of course, Apple isn’t doing this just out of the goodness of its heart. All services are subscription-based, and for Windows users an Apple One subscription – which bundles Music, TV Plus, Arcade and iCloud into one monthly payment of £14.95 a month – suddenly looks like a lot more proposition. more attractive.
The missing piece is Apple Arcade, with the all-you-can-eat game service conspicuously absent on PC and Xbox. This would obviously present a greater technical challenge than integrating streaming technology which already works in a browser, but it’s probably also fine with Microsoft not to include another gaming platform when they’d rather everyone sign up Ultimate Game Pass In place.