Apple’s ‘iMessage’ Texts are Coming To Windows (with Limitations)

Microsoft “is adding iPhone support to its Phone Link app on Windows 11,” reports MacRumors. “The app allows iPhone users to make and receive phone calls, send and receive text messages, and view an iPhone’s notifications directly on a PC.”

Notably, the app brings limited iMessage functionality to Windows. After pairing an iPhone with a PC via Bluetooth and granting some permissions on the iPhone, users can send and receive iMessages and SMS text messages in Phone Link, but there is no support for group chats or sending photos and videos.

The Verge notes you won’t see the full message history in conversations, “as only messages that have been sent or received using Phone Link will be displayed.”

Microsoft isn’t using blue or green bubbles in Phone Link either, as the company isn’t able to differentiate between a standard text message and one sent via iMessage. The Phone Link integration for iOS is basic compared to what’s available for Android, but Microsoft has never supported messaging or calls for iPhone users before, so this is a step in the right direction….

This new Phone Link support arrives alongside a big new Windows 11 update that includes AI-powered Bing on the taskbar, a screen recording feature, better touch optimizations, and more. If you’re interested in testing this new Phone Link support for iOS, it will be available for Windows Insiders in the Dev, Beta, and Release Preview channels, but Microsoft is kicking off testing with a “small percentage” of testers this week.

Thanks to ttyler (Slashdot reader #20,687) for sharing the news.

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New Apple Services and Apps Are Rolling Out On Windows 11 and Xbox

Today, Microsoft and Apple announced a number of deeper integrations of Apple services on both Windows PCs and Xbox game consoles, including Music and TV apps for both platforms and the ability to browse your iCloud Photo Library within the Windows 11 Photos app. Ars Technica reports: The Apple Music app for Xbox is already available. Existing users can download the app and start listening to their playlists and stations, while new users can sign up for a one-month trial. The user interface for Apple Music on the Xbox is almost exactly the same as the one we’ve used before on Apple TV hardware. It doesn’t add any new features we haven’t seen before, but it’s nice to see parity between the platforms. The Music and TV apps for Windows aren’t available yet, but the companies say they’ll both be available next year.

The Windows iTunes app lets users listen to songs and watch TV and movies purchased through Apple’s online store. Even though Apple Music will arrive on Windows, iTunes will continue to be available, and users will still be able to access Podcasts and Books there. While you’ll have to wait until next year to download the Music and TV apps in Windows, the iCloud Photo Library integration is available right now. You’ll have to download the iCloud Windows app (which is already used to sync a variety of things, like browser bookmarks) and opt into syncing your iCloud Photo Library. After that, both videos and photos should be available within the Windows 11 Photos app.

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More Than 4 In 10 PCs Still Can’t Upgrade To Windows 11

Nearly 43 percent of millions of devices studied by asset management provider Lansweeper are unable to upgrade to Windows 11 due to the hardware requirements Microsoft set out for the operating system. The Register reports: Lansweeper said 42.76 percent of the estimated 27 million PCs it tested across 60,000 organizations failed the CPU test, albeit better than the 57.26 percent in its last test a year ago. Altogether 71.5 percent of the PCs failed the RAM test and 14.66 percent the TPM test. “We know that those who can’t update to Windows 11… will continue to use Windows 10,” said Roel Decneut, chief strategy officer at Lansweeper, whose customers include Sony, Pepsico, Cerner, MiT and Hilton hotels. He said that even if enterprises are prepared to upgrade their PC fleet to meet the system requirements of Microsoft’s latest OS, there are “broader issues affecting adoption that are out of Microsoft’s control.” “Global supply chain disruption has created chip a processor shortage, while many are choosing to stick with what hardware they have at the moment due to the global financial uncertainty.”

Other findings from Lansweeper show adoption rates for the latest OS are improving, running on 1.44 percent of computers versus 0.52 percent in January. This means the latest incarnation has overtaken Windows 8 in the popularity stakes but remains behind market share for Windows 7, despite that software going end of life in January 2020. Adoption is, unsurprisingly, higher in the consumer space. Some 4.82 percent of the biz devices researched were running an OS that wasn’t fully supported and 0.91 percent had servers in their estate that are end of life.

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Microsoft Moves To New Windows Development Cycle

Microsoft is shifting to a new engineering schedule for Windows which will see the company return to a more traditional three-year release cycle for major versions of the Windows client, while simultaneously increasing the output of new features shipping to the current version of Windows on the market. Zac Bowden writes via Windows Central: The news comes just a year after the company announced it was moving to a yearly release cadence for new versions of Windows. According to my sources, Microsoft now intends to ship “major” versions of the Windows client every three years, with the next release currently scheduled for 2024, three years after Windows 11 shipped in 2021. This means that the originally planned 2023 client release of Windows (codenamed Sun Valley 3) has been scrapped, but that’s not the end of the story. I’m told that with the move to this new development schedule, Microsoft is also planning to increase the output of new features rolling out to users on the latest version of Windows.

Starting with Windows 11 version 22H2 (Sun Valley 2), Microsoft is kicking off a new “Moments” engineering effort which is designed to allow the company to rollout new features and experiences at key points throughout the year, outside of major OS releases. I hear the company intends to ship new features to the in-market version of Windows every few months, up to four times a year, starting in 2023. Microsoft has already tested this system with the rollout of the Taskbar weather button on Windows 11 earlier this year. That same approach will be used for these Moments, where the company will group together a handful of new features that have been in testing with Insiders and roll them out to everyone on top the latest shipping release of Windows. Many of the features that were planned for the now-scrapped Sun Valley 3 client release will ship as part of one of these Moments on top of Sun Valley 2, instead of in a dedicated new release of the Windows client in the fall of 2023.

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The Mars Express Spacecraft Is Finally Getting a Windows 98 Upgrade

Engineers at the European Space Agency (ESA) are getting ready for a Windows 98 upgrade on an orbiter circling Mars. The Verge reports: The Mars Express spacecraft has been operating for more than 19 years, and the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding (MARSIS) instrument onboard has been using software built using Windows 98. Thankfully for humanity and the Red Planet’s sake, the ESA isn’t upgrading its systems to Windows ME. The MARSIS instrument on ESA’s Mars Express was key to the discovery of a huge underground aquifer of liquid water on the Red Planet in 2018. This major new software upgrade “will allow it to see beneath the surfaces of Mars and its moon Phobos in more detail than ever before,” according to the ESA. The agency originally launched the Mars Express into space in 2003 as its first mission to the Red Planet, and it has spent nearly two decades exploring the planet’s surface.

MARSIS uses low-frequency radio waves that bounce off the surface of Mars to search for water and study the Red Planet’s atmosphere. The instrument’s 130-foot antenna is capable of searching around three miles below the surface of Mars, and the software upgrades will enhance the signal reception and onboard data processing to improve the quality of data that’s sent back to Earth. “We faced a number of challenges to improve the performance of MARSIS,” explains Carlo Nenna, a software engineer at Enginium who is helping ESA with the upgrade. “Not least because the MARSIS software was originally designed over 20 years ago, using a development environment based on Microsoft Windows 98!”

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