What you need to know
- Microsoft announced a new Insider Preview build of Windows 11 today, along with a preview version of Apple’s official new apps.
- The apps include Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Devices, all built natively for Windows 11.
- Being a preview, the apps are only available for those currently in the U.S. running Windows 11.
Microsoft made a surprising announcement in the Fall of 2022 that Apple’s official apps were (finally) coming to the Windows ecosystem. The first announcement was about iCloud Photos integration with OneDrive. But the other half of the statement revealed that official apps for Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Devices were also on the way.
Today is that day, at least if you’re in the U.S., as all three apps are now available to download. Despite the announcement seemingly tied to the new Windows 11 Developer Insider Preview, the apps are independent of those builds, as I installed it easily on my Windows 11 Release Preview edition.
So, how are they? Did Apple half-ass the software by relying on older Windows technologies like its achingly old iTunes app? Not at all!
The apps appear to be built using the Windows App SDK (you can think of that as the successor to UWP) and may be using .NET 6, according to developer Dennis H. on Twitter. The result is apps that look like they fit right in with Windows 11, including some acrylic effects, standard Windows menus, and a layout that feels very familiar to anyone used to modern Windows apps from the Microsoft Store.
Speaking of iTunes, if you have that relic installed, you’ll be prompted to remove that monstrosity in place of these superior apps, which is a smart move from Apple. For example, by firing up Apple Music, I could stream music from my library once I did the typical “authorize this computer” requirement, which is much easier now due to the more straightforward design of the app.
Apple TV also looks excellent and supports 4K UHD HDR content, as you’d hope and expect. Playback also supports full screen, windowed mode, and the mini-Windows player, letting you run a miniature floating version that runs on top of any apps, which is perfect for multi-tasking or, more likely, doing a lousy job at work.
The only app I had an issue with is Apple Devices, which launches and does nothing. The app is supposed to let you log into your account and view the status of your iPhone, iPad, etc., but hey, there’s a reason why these are called “preview,” am I right?
Regardless, I like what I see here from Apple. These apps look like outstanding additions for those who either love Apple TV or rely on Apple’s ecosystem but also prefer running a P.C. This collaboration between Microsoft and Apple is way overdue, but I’m just happy it’s finally here. Better late than never!
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.