Microsoft has taken another step forward with its Xbox Music service by launching the much rumored web player, though any iOS app is still very much absent. With a web client now active, it means that Mac using Xbox Music subscribers, of which we're sure there's a few, can listen to their music. Until now, only Windows users had been able to get their music on their desktops.
But, we heard in late 2012 when Xbox Music first emerged, that Microsoft planned to take the service cross-platform, which includes apps for Android and iOS. Almost 9 months later, there's still no sign of any announcement while we await the official launches of iTunes Radio and Google Music All Access for iOS. A web player is a nice stop gap for Mac users, but is a total no-go for mobile. Xbox Music will not work within the browser on iOS, but is compatible with Firefox 18 and above, Google Chrome 24 and above and Safari 5.1 and above on OS X 10.6 and up on the Mac.
A subscription is still required for Xbox Music on the web, though new customers do get the option of a free 30 day trial before the $10 a month fee kicks in. After spending a short amount of time with it — and being completely new to Xbox Music — a few things spring to mind. It looks very nice, but feels a little too much a case of 'all show, no go.' For instance, there appears to be no music discovery aspect to the web player at all. Instead, you have to manually search for artists, albums or songs. You can manage playlists and access everything you already have saved as part of your Xbox Music Pass, but if you're new to the service as I am, the web player may not be the place to start. Playing music is also somewhat frustrating; selecting a track half way through an album just plays that track, it doesn't then carry on through the album to the end. Compared to web offerings from Google and Spotify in particular, this feels distinctly lacking.
So, for now this is as close as you can get to proper Xbox Music support on any of your Apple devices, even if it does feel flawed. Hit the link below to give it a try or to sign up for a free 30 day trial and do share your thoughts with us. I'd also like to hear from any longer term Xbox Music users; how does the web player compare to your experience on other platforms?