Later today Apple is expected to announce the launch of the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S. The iPhone 5S will likely be an incremental update to the iPhone 5 with a faster processor, improved camera and fingerprint sensor. The iPhone 5C, meanwhile, is rumored to be a plastic-backed budget iPhone with more modest specs. Amazingly, Microsoft has announced it’s riding the 5S and 5C bandwagon in a way: the company is bringing Xbox Music to iPhone 5.
The console and Windows maker isn’t just bringing Xbox Music to iPhone 5, iPad and other iOS devices, though. Microsoft also announced plans to launch Xbox Music on Android devices, and it will allow free music streaming via the Web.
Microsoft’s one-year-old Xbox Music service has 30 million tracks total, each of which is available to subscribers and unpaid listeners alike. The Xbox Music player is also getting free streaming on its Web player, essentially bringing the music service to millions of new devices and anyone with a Web browser.
Whether bringing Xbox Music to iPhone 5 will have a non-PR impact remains to be seen. Apple has a seeming stranglehold on the digital music scene with its iTunes, and even Google has struggled to wrest mindshare from Apple’s iTunes dominance via its Google Music service. With the new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C hitting retail soon, that pattern may not change. So the question becomes: will bringing Xbox Music to iPhone 5 help Microsoft make inroads in the new realm?
Microsoft’s Zune service didn’t take off as planned, eventually morphing into little more than a Windows Phone-syncing program for your PC. Folding some of that functionality into Xbox Music was a solid move, particularly as Microsoft has increased its focus on Xbox becoming much more than a video game console. The Xbox One, for instance, will certainly live up to the Xbox platform’s years-old promise of being an all-in-one entertainment device. The Xbox One has deep TV controls, Web browsing and an incredible NFL partnership in addition to its gameplay functions.
Microsoft hasn’t spoken at length about Xbox Music on Xbox One, but the service is bound to play a role in the company’s “all-in-one” entertainment messaging. Now that Xbox Music to iPhone 5 is a reality, not to mention the free Web streaming, it’s clear Microsoft is putting a proverbial stake in the ground with regard to music. Let us know in the comments below whether bringing Xbox Music to iPhone 5 and Android makes you any more likely to use Microsoft’s service compared to iTunes or others.