Apple’s much-anticipated Vision Pro mixed reality headset is set to launch soon with a staggering $3,500 price tag, but the device is already facing backlash over missing key streaming apps at launch. Major services like Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify have all confirmed they will not offer dedicated apps for Vision Pro at launch.
Vision Pro Promised as Ultimate Entertainment Device
When Apple first unveiled Vision Pro last year, they marketed it as the ultimate device for entertainment, communication, and productivity. With dual 4K OLED displays delivering crisp visuals and spatial audio for immersive sound, Vision Pro was supposed to revolutionize media consumption.
During the announcement event, Apple executives continuously emphasized how Vision Pro would allow users to watch movies and shows in a whole new way. This vision made sense given streaming’s dominance, with U.S. consumers spending roughly one-third of their waking hours streaming video content in 2023.
But this entertainment focus now rings hollow for early adopters hoping to use Vision Pro as their main Netflix and YouTube portal. Without native apps at launch, the device’s capabilities will be severely limited.
Why Streaming Giants Are Opting Out of Launch
The reasons behind the lack of streaming apps vary, but generally boil down to optimization issues and monetization concerns:
No API Access – Apple has not granted access to certain APIs needed to properly develop streaming apps for Vision Pro’s new mixed reality environment. Lack of access hampers developers’ ability to build fully-featured apps.
Uncertainty Over Business Model – Developers are still unsure if and how they can monetize apps on Vision Pro. There are outstanding questions around ads, subscriptions, and revenue sharing with Apple.
Prioritizing Other Platforms First – With limited development resources, streaming companies are focused on enhancing apps for existing platforms like mobile and smart TVs before building new experiences for unproven devices like Vision Pro.
Workarounds Fall Short of Native App Experience
Although Vision Pro users won’t have streaming apps at launch, Apple has suggested workarounds:
- Access services like Netflix and YouTube via the Vision Pro web browser
- Use screen mirroring to beam content from an iPhone onto the Vision Pro display
However, both these options fail to deliver the seamless experience a dedicated app could provide. And with the Vision Pro costing thousands of dollars, consumers expect more for their money. Using makeshift solutions feels unpolished.
Broader Questions Around Vision Pro’s App Ecosystem
Netflix and Spotify’s absence speak to wider concerns over the apps and services that will be available for Vision Pro at launch and beyond.
So far, Apple has only confirmed a few entertainment apps for launch day:
|Apple’s streaming service with original content
|VR Movie Theater
|An app for renting VR movies
|Spatial Audio Concerts
|Live concerts in 3D spatial audio
This limited selection pales in comparison to the 2 million+ apps available on the iOS App Store today. And if heavyweight streaming platforms aren’t building for Vision Pro yet, it’s doubtful smaller developers have app offerings ready either.
The app gap mirrors issues platforms like Windows Phone faced years ago. But with the Vision Pro’s steep price, consumers expect access to all their go-to services from day one. If key apps are missing, it could severely limit mainstream adoption.
What’s Next? Long-Term Support Not Guaranteed
Looking ahead, there’s no guarantee streaming giants will ever launch full-featured apps for Vision Pro. Unless Apple addresses their concerns around monetization and API access, companies may decide the platform simply isn’t worth supporting.
For early adopters investing thousands on the first-generation model, this uncertainty will give pause. If major services like Netflix still aren’t available by the time a Vision Pro 2 or 3 launches years down the line, those devices won’t seem as enticing anymore.
The coming months will prove crucial in determining developer support for Vision Pro. If the app gap fails to close, Apple’s ambitions of revolutionizing entertainment may never materialize. An AR/VR future will remain distant until mainstream services fully embrace new spatial computing platforms. For now, the Vision Pro’s potential as the ultimate media device has been significantly compromised right out the gate.
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