Apple may be ready to ship new Music and Podcasts app for Xbox consoles and/or Windows 10 PCs, according to a new report from 9to5Mac. The new apps would follow the release of the Apple TV app on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S consoles in November, which allow Xbox owners to purchase movies and TV shows on demand or access the Apple TV+ catalog with a subscription.
"Sources told 9to5Mac that Apple has been testing both Music and Podcasts apps for Microsoft platforms in a private beta. We cannot confirm if the apps will be compatible with Windows PCs or if they were developed to work exclusively with Xbox, just like the Apple TV app,” the report said. It wouldn't be surprising if these new Apple Music and Podcasts app were Xbox only, as the new Apple TV app for Xbox is still not available on Windows 10 PCs.
We learned from a job posting back in November 2019 that Apple was working on "next-generation media apps for Windows,” with the job description on LinkedIn saying at the time that experience with UWP apps would be a big plus for candidates. Apple still has iTunes for Windows on the Windows 10 Microsoft Store, which provides access to Music, movie content, and Podcasts, but iTunes is now on the way out. The app no longer exists on macOS, and it's been replaced by standalone Music, TV, and Podcasts app.
Apple announced that it had over 60 million subscribers for Apple Music back in June 2019, a number that’s now estimated at around 72 million. Despite the lack of a free tier, Apple Music remains the second most popular music streaming service worldwide, and Apple needs to bring it to even more platforms if it wants to catch up to Spotify and its 320 million active users as of October 2020. Just like Apple, Spotify has also been investing heavily in its podcast business by acquiring several podcast companies in recent years.
We hope to learn more about these new Apple Music and Podcasts app soon, and we hope they won't be restricted to Xbox consoles. Windows 10 crossed 1 billion active devices last year, and Xbox consoles are just a small part of this growing ecosystem.