Will The Rumoured Microsoft Surface Phone Run iOS Apps Natively On Launch?

When Microsoft chief experience officer Julie Larson Green was asked if Microsoft was working on an Android fork, she said ”We’ll go wherever our customers are.” At that time the natural reaction from the mobile development community was to assume that Redmond was working towards a future where Android and Windows were close cousins.

Microsoft was working on two strategies; one to port Android apps to Windows Mobile devices, the other for iOS. Dubbed internally as Project Astoria and Project Islandwood, Microsoft wanted to make it easy for developers to  port Android and iOS apps to Windows 10, mostly seen as a bid to plug large holes in its own app ecosystem.
The Windows Bridge for iOS and the Windows Bridge for Android enable you to bring your iOS and Android apps to Windows 10 using your existing code and skills.
If you have an app for iOS, you can use the iOS bridge to build a UWP version of your app with Visual Studio 2015 and your existing Objective-C code. You can extend your code with native Windows capabilities as needed.

If you have an app for Android, you can use the Android bridge to bring your app to Windows 10 Mobile devices using extensions to the Android SDK and several popular Android IDEs. Most apps require few code changes or none at all.

But this has all fallen apart as quickly as the excitement began to spool up for one camp as Project Astoria, the Android port effort, had been reported as ‘postponed indefinitely’ in November. “Based on what the company said, it looks like Project Islandwood appears to be in progress, while Project Astoria has been put on hold. As Project Islandwood requires recompiling rather than emulation, the apps should work much more natively on Windows 10 Mobile.” reported WinBeta. It was suggested that while emulation could have brought many legal challenges, the Android porting process was also responsible for the “noticeable system degradation” being reported across the Windows 10 Mobile platform. 
In order to continue to use Astoria (if you really want to!) you have to go back to earlier Win 10 builds because it has been completely removed.

Now fast forward to this month, and rumours are flying around of a new Surface Phone, having been all but confirmed by Microsoft CMO Chris Capossela. In an interview with Windows Weekly, when he was pressed whether Redmond would finally come up with something new to convince smartphone users not to abandon the Windows Mobile ecosystem he said, “We need some sort of spiritual equivalent on the phone side that doesn’t just feel like it’s a phone for people who love Windows. It’s got to be a phone where it’s like, ‘Wow, that’s a real shock or that’s a real breakthrough, and that’s going to make me (as a hypothetical Apple fan) pause before I buy my 17th iPhone.’ And we need time to actually go build that.” 

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