If you’re a Mac user who is remotely interested in Windows, or has to use some of Microsoft’s desktop OS for work or other tasks, Microsoft has a new solution for you. Traditionally, Mac users would need to rely on software to run Windows on their Mac, but, as of right now, that’s not an option for Apple Silicon owners. (That’s changing in the future, though.)
But in an effort to make Windows even more widely available than it already is, Microsoft is turning to the cloud. Today, the company unveiled Windows 365, the “cloud PC.” At launch, this computer in the sky is “running” Windows 10, but it will be running Windows 11 later this year when that desktop OS launches to the public.
Windows 365 puts the computer in the cloud, effectively letting you stream the PC from your web browser. That means you can actually access this from Safari on your Mac — or even your iPad or iPhone. Microsoft says this is a “full” and “secured” Windows experience, really pushing the idea that this is essentially the same as having a physical Windows-based computer right in front of you.
Per today’s announcement:
The Cloud PC draws on the power of the cloud and the capabilities of the device to provide a powerful, simple, and secure full Windows 10 or Windows 11 experience that you can use to empower your workforce, regardless of location or device. Windows 365 provides an instant-on boot experience that enables users to stream all their personalized applications, tools, data, and settings from the cloud across any device including your Mac, iPad, Linux device, and Android. The Windows experience is consistent, no matter the device. You can pick up right where you left off, because the state of your Cloud PC remains the same, even when you switch devices. You can get the same work done on a laptop in a hotel room, a tablet from their car between appointments, or your desktop while you’re in the office. Seasonal workers also can ramp on and off according to the needs of the business, allowing the organization to scale for busy periods without the complicated logistical and security challenges of issuing new hardware. Further, companies can be more targeted in how they outfit specialized workers in creative, analytics, engineering, or scientific roles who need greater compute power and access to critical applications.
There’s a lot of customization that can be put into “building” your cloud PC, too. Microsoft says users can choose how much storage they have (up to 512GB) and how much RAM their computer has access to (up to 16GB). The cloud PC can save your experience as you work, and it will allow users to seamlessly jump between what they’re working on. And, no matter what device you access the cloud computer on, you’ll have a traditional window experience — even on iPad.
Microsoft calls this a hybrid experience, designed to allow for Windows access across devices, no matter who made them or what traditional OS is installed on them. What’s more, they’re fully secure with Zero Trust architecture, and signing in will require multi-factor authentication. Microsoft says data is encrypted. And business administrators can keep track of an organization’s cloud computers thanks to Windows 365 being built upon Microsoft’s Azure Virtual Desktop.
For Mac users who want to use Windows, but don’t want to rely on Boot Camp or thee third-party Parallels, this is a great option. Microsoft confirmed today that Windows 365 will be available on August 2, 2021.
Are you looking forward to giving this a shot?