Camera apps

More Apple apps coming to Windows 11, plus new Microsoft Surface devices

Sharing photos between iOS and Windows devices will soon be much easier, and Microsoft’s latest line of Surface PCs is almost here.

Managing files and photos for anyone with multiple devices from different brands can be a hassle. Fortunately, Apple and Microsoft seem to have a solution for PC users with iOS mobile technology. Additionally, several recent Surface announcements have come in the form of Surface Pro 9, Surface Laptop 5, and Surface Studio 2+.

Windows 11 Photos app gets iCloud Photos integration

Previously, the default Microsoft Photos app managed your PC’s photo library, including OneDrive sharing. Soon, the app will also allow direct access to your iCloud Photos library. Currently in testing through the Windows Insiders program, a recent update to the Microsoft Photos app lets you sign in to iCloud and see your pictures alongside those saved directly to PC or OneDrive, all through a single app.

What iCloud Photos look like in the Windows 11 Photos app.

It’s not yet clear when we can expect the integration to leave Windows Insiders and enter the full public release. It’s a great feature for multi-brand households struggling for an all-in-one photo storage and sharing solution. It also accompanies the release of the Apple Music and Apple TV apps on Xbox consoles. Windows versions of these apps are expected next year.

The new Microsoft Surface range

The first is the Surface Pro 9, a tablet-laptop hybrid running on Intel’s 12th Gen Core series of processors. It comes with a 2880 X 1920 resolution display that supports 120Hz dynamic refresh rate. Microsoft says Surface Pro 9 has longer battery life, device feature improvements photo and audio and up to 50% more grunt than its predecessor. The hybrid device starts at $1,649 and features two new color choices: Sapphire and Forest.

Up next is the Surface Laptop 5, which comes in 13.5-inch and 15-inch variants. Similar to the Surface Pro, the Surface Laptop 5 uses 12th Gen Intel Core processors, up to i7-1255U, and supports Thunderbolt 4 connectivity. You can customize it to house 32GB of LPDDR5x RAM and up to a 1TB SSD for storage. Both the 13.5 and 15-inch models support touch input, with the smaller laptop’s screen offering a resolution of 2256 x 1504, while the larger version has a slightly larger pixel count at 2496 x 1664 Equipped with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos for a high-quality multimedia experience, the Surface Laptop 5 also supports enhanced features introduced in the recent major Windows 11 update. 5 is available in Platinum, Matte Black, Sandstone, and Sage colors.

Microsoft Surface 5 Laptop
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 in action.

At the higher end of the scale, the Surface Studio 2+ is a 28-inch touchscreen device designed with versatility in mind. It’s basically a large display connected to a hub via a hinge, housing three USB-C Thunderbolt 4 connections, two USB-A 3.1 slots, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and an Ethernet port.

Compared to other Surfaces, the Studio 2+ uses the most powerful components it can pack: an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-11370H processor, a 6GB RTX 3060 laptop GPU, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1 TB SSD. From an audiovisual point of view, it has a 4500 x 3000 resolution Dolby Vision screen, Dolby Atmos 2.1 stereo speakers and a 1080p front camera. It also comes with a Surface-branded pen, keyboard, and mouse to get you started. It’s fair to say that on paper the Surface Studio 2+ is a bit of an all-around powerhouse. For the premium plan, you’re looking at $7,279.

Microsoft Surface Studio 2+
At the top of the Surface range: Surface Studio 2+.

Every new Surface is available for pre-order now from a range of retailers. Expect to see the hybrid devices arrive from October 25 through early November.

As impressive as the new hardware may be, I’m very excited about Microsoft and Apple’s closer alignment on several major applications. The integration of photo sharing is great news, and you’ll also have more ways to enjoy your Apple Music and Apple TV subscriptions. It’s common for households to use games consoles as living room media hubs, so Xbox apps – with Windows support coming next year – are definitely exciting.

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