Apple’s new Vision Pro headset will lack apps from some major developers at launch, renewing concerns about tense relationships with third-party iOS developers.
Streaming giants Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify have indicated they will not be launching visionOS apps or enabling their iPad apps to run on Vision Pro, (YouTube and Spotify, Netflix Apps Snub Apple’s Vision Pro Headset – Is This a Bad Sign?). This is a stark contrast from the iPhone and iPad, which debuted with bustling App Stores full of developer support.
The timing coincides with escalating developer frustrations over App Store policies. Spotify openly blasted Apple last week, calling them monopolistic and unfair to developers, new external payment option still requires up to a 27% commission to Apple.
Apple touts the Vision Pro will have over 1 million apps available out of the box. However, the vast majority seem to be existing iPad apps, with few tailored visionOS apps so far.
Developers can opt out of automatic Vision Pro availability for their iPad apps, which Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify are choosing to do. Surprisingly, even some of Apple’s own iPad apps like Podcasts, News, and Calendar have not been optimized for Vision Pro either.
When asked about the lack of a Netflix app, co-CEO Greg Peters cited not wanting to “invest in places that are not really yielding a return.” However, enabling an existing iPad app requires virtually no investment, suggesting deeper issues with Apple.
One explanation could be that Apple asked Netflix for a native Vision Pro app, but Netflix refused, prompting their withdrawal. Creating a fully optimized visionOS app does involve more investment.
Either way, the absence of key streaming apps hints at lingering discontent between Apple and developers. Without tailored apps taking advantage of visionOS capabilities, Vision Pro’s software library risks feeling like a redundant extension of the iPad.
Apple will need to strengthen its Vision Pro value proposition to attract developers. Hardware sales alone may not incentivize substantial investments into visionOS apps.
For users, the lack of content from the likes of Netflix and YouTube casts uncertainty on Vision Pro’s capabilities as an entertainment device, Vision pro experience. Social apps like TikTok could help fill the void. But losing key video streaming services dims the headset’s media appeal.
Overall, Apple faces an uphill battle selling developers on building apps for another nascent platform. With developer relationships already strained, Vision Pro could struggle to replicate the thriving App Store ecosystems of iPhone and iPad.