iTunes is coming to the Windows Store
iTunes, Apple’s nearly two-decade-old music and video store, is coming to the Windows Store.
Microsoft announced the surprise addition, coming later this year, at its annual Build developers conference in Seattle on Thursday. There are almost 700,000 apps in the Windows Store, but this would be Apple’s first addition.
The news comes 14 years after “hell froze over” and Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that iTunes was finally coming to Windows. At the time, it was a critical move for Apple. iTunes was the dominant force for legal music downloads, but it was nowhere on the Windows PCs, which basically were the computing market at the time. That all changed with a splashy event featuring a live performance by singer Sarah McLachlan and live video drop-ins from Mick Jagger and U2’s Bono.
This announcement is a much quieter affair.
Microsoft Executive Vice President of Windows and Devices Terry Myerson announced the addition of iTunes to the Windows Store as part of an update on Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform development tools.
At the very least, iTunes users will be able to get automatic updates.
These tools make it easy for developers to build an application for one part of the Windows 10 platform and only make minor adjustments to make it work on other parts. In other words, Microsoft may have been able to encourage Apple to retrofit iTunes for Windows to the Windows Store by showing them how easy it would be.
It’s unclear if there will be any changes to the app now that it’s Windows-official. Windows Store apps are often recognizable for their Windows Metro design looks (flat colors, blocky design). At the very least, iTunes users will be able to get automatic updates, assuming they’ve enabled that functionality.
However, the news comes just a few weeks after Microsoft unveiled Windows 10 S an education-focused flavor of Windows 10 distinguished by its ultra-tight control over application installation. The only apps you can run on Windows 10 S are those vetted by Microsoft and available in the Windows Store. Application vendors do have to make more than just cosmetic adjustments to work in the Windows Store, like cutting out services that might run during and after installation.
Microsoft claims that these strict rules will result in safer and more efficient systems.
The other big question is if this really matters. In 2003, getting iTunes on Windows was a huge deal worthy of its own event. In 2017, most people download or stream their music directly through their iPhones, bypassing the desktop iTunes app entirely. Many people don’t even bother to dock and sync with a PC or Mac anymore.
Apple hasn’t commented on the new iTunes update and Microsoft is only promising its appearance in the Windows Store by the end of the year.