Microsoft really wants developers to bring their apps to Windows. Earlier this year the company announced that it would offer tools to let developers of Android, iOS, and web apps into native Windows apps that could be distributed through the Windows Store.
Microsoft says it doesn’t want to simply let developers “port” existing iOS apps to run on Windows. It wants them to become full-fledged Windows apps with support for Windows APIs.
The iOS Bridge lets provides developers of iPhone and iPad apps with tools to bring their apps to Windows and tap into Windows features including notifications, location detection, Xbox achievements, Windows Store payments, and more.
The software includes an Objective-C compiler and runtime, support for many iOS APIs, and integration with Visual Studio 2015.
So far the iOS bridge supports Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 and x86 and x64 architectures. In the future Microsoft will add support for ARM-based chips, which will make it easier for iOS app developers to bring apps and games to Windows 10 smartphones and small tablets.
Microsoft says the final version of the iOS Bridge will be available this fall.
The company already has a technical preview of Windows Bridge for Android, but it’s only available for developers with an invitation at this point. The Windows Bridge for web apps is already live. And the Windows Bridge for Classic Windows apps (which will let developer bring .NET and Win32 apps to the Windows Store) should be available next year.