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June 14, 2024

Netflix Shuns Vision Pro, Leaving Apple’s New Headset Without a Signature App

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Jan 18, 2024

Apple is set to launch its much-anticipated Vision Pro augmented/virtual reality headset in the coming weeks. However, in a surprise move, streaming giant Netflix has announced that it will not offer a dedicated app for the platform at launch.

The decision deals a blow to Vision Pro, leaving it without one of the world’s most popular streaming services amid a rocky app landscape at debut.

Netflix Opts Out Citing Limited Appeal

Netflix explained its decision not to support Vision Pro at launch in a January 17th statement, citing both the new platform’s niche appeal and technical limitations in the first-generation hardware:

“The initial Vision Pro headset ships with relatively primitive graphics compared to modern VR standards. As well, we anticipate low install-base numbers out of the gate. As such, we cannot justify dedicating resources to building a fully-featured Netflix app for the V1 viewer hardware and OS. We instead recommend Vision Pro users access Netflix.com through the Safari browser in Immersive 2D mode.”

Without a native app, Vision Pro users hoping to watch Netflix will need to navigate to Netflix.com in the device’s Safari web browser, then toggle on an immersive but still flat/2D viewing mode. This provides a suboptimal experience compared to a dedicated app tailored for 3D and spatial viewing modes.

Analysts believe Netflix is simply hesitant to invest in developing for such an unproven new computing paradigm, especially given Vision Pro’s expected high price point and steep learning curve for mainstream users. “They just don’t think it will drive enough eyeballs in 2023,” commented industry watcher Jenny Newman. “But down the road as XR matures and headsets evolve, I’d expect Netflix to jump in with both feet once the numbers make sense.”

Bleak Landscape for Launch Apps

Netflix is but the latest major developer to distance itself from Vision Pro’s choppy launch app ecosystem. Social apps like Facebook and TikTok are also sitting things out for now. Even some of Apple’s own iPad apps bundled into the headset’s Immersive Desktop mode provide only lackluster, windowed VR ports of their 2D tablet counterparts.

Overall, consumers should brace themselves for a relatively barren software landscape around Vision Pro’s long-awaited February debut, especially when it comes to many of the top brands and platforms they know and love from phones and computers. Visiting Netflix or Facebook in Vision Pro at launch will be more akin to navigating those sites in a basic web browser rather than tapping into next-generation immersive interactions.

Vision Pro App Support at Launch
Netflix No app
Facebook No app
TikTok No app
Instagram Expected 2023
YouTube App at launch
Apple TV+ App at launch
Apple Music App at launch

“It’s the classic chicken-and-egg problem facing any new computing platform,” remarked industry analyst Owen Elliot. “You need killer apps to drive headset sales, but developers won’t build those apps until enough headsets are actually out there. For Apple diehards this won’t damper excitement too badly. But more mainstream consumers expecting their favorite services fully ported over on day one are in for some disappointment.”

What Happens Next?

In the near term, the lack of key apps like Netflix risks slowing Vision Pro’s mainstream adoption outside tech early adopters. But if Apple can drive unit sales through 2023 and viewing hours begin to mount, Netflix and others missing at launch may have incentive to develop robust apps down the road.

“Once you hit 10 or 20 million headsets out there with people actively using them many hours a week, the sheer eyeball hours become too lucrative to ignore,” predicts Elliot. “Apple has the marketing prowess and capital to drive things toward that critical inflection point, at which time I think we’ll see VisionOS round into form with many of the top tech and content brands all eager to plant their stake in the ‘metaverse’ gold rush.”

Until then, consumers excited to immerse themselves in streamed Netflix content through their pricey new Vision Pro will regrettably need to settle for opening their browser and viewing shows and movies in a flat, website-style experience far short of the headset’s touted capabilities for presence and immersion.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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