Apple’s highly anticipated Vision Pro augmented and virtual reality headset is set to launch in the coming months with a hefty $3499 price tag. The device promises to deliver a revolutionary mixed reality experience and has been billed as the next frontier for entertainment. However, in a surprising move, streaming giant Netflix has announced that it has no current plans to develop a dedicated app for Vision Pro.
Why No Netflix App?
Netflix’s decision to not support Vision Pro at launch is a major blow for Apple. As the world’s most popular subscription streaming service, Netflix was widely expected to be part of the Vision Pro app lineup. However, in a statement, Netflix said:
“We value our relationship with Apple but don’t have plans for a dedicated Netflix app for Vision Pro at launch. Vision Pro users can access Netflix via their iPhone app or web browser.”
According to sources, Netflix opted out because it wants users to access its content primarily via mobile devices where viewing data can be better tracked. Vision Pro makes it difficult to collect user data like watch history due to Apple’s privacy focus.
Additionally, developing a new app exclusively for Vision Pro is too costly for Netflix at this early stage when the device’s market penetration is still unknown. Instead, Netflix will monitor Vision Pro adoption and may develop an app later.
This move highlights the challenges Apple faces as it tries to convince developers to build apps for an unproven new product category.
What Will Vision Pro App Support Look Like at Launch?
Netflix isn’t the only major streaming service that won’t have a bespoke Vision Pro app at launch. Both YouTube and Spotify have also confirmed they will not support the headset with dedicated apps for similar reasons.
Instead, Vision Pro users will have access unsupported apps via two methods according to Apple:
Windowed iPad App Versions – Many existing iPad apps will be available to use on Vision Pro but will render as floating 2D windows rather than immersive 3D environments. This allows basic app functionality but doesn’t take full advantage of Vision Pro’s mixed reality capabilities.
Web Access – Apps without iPad versions can still be accessed via Vision Pro’s web browser. However, this is a suboptimal experience compared to native apps.
Additionally, Vision Pro will come preloaded with Apple’s own suite of media apps like Apple TV+, Apple Music, Podcasts, and Photos. Third-party apps designed specifically for Vision Pro will be limited at launch but Apple expects catalog growth over time.
According to noted Apple analyst Mark Gurman, the initial Vision Pro app ecosystem will consist mainly of games, with a few entertainment and social apps filling out the catalog. Major players like Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify will be notably absent.
Early Vision Pro Reviews Paint a Mixed Picture
With pre-orders for Vision Pro live ahead of its February release, the first wave of reviews based on hands-on testing have started to emerge. The overall sentiment is cautiously optimistic but with someclear downsides identified.
Reviewers widely praised Vision Pro’s industrial design and innovative control system. The visual fidelity and spatial audio also received strong marks as an impressive leap forward for the category. Virtual collaboration shows significant promise.
However, battery life estimates of just 2 hours are troubling for a device focused on entertainment and gaming. Most reviewers considered the existing app lineup too thin to justify Vision Pro’s incredibly high $3499 starting price. They viewed unsupported apps via windowed iPad versions or web access as clunky compromises.
What Does This Mean for Vision Pro’s Prospects?
The lack of key streaming services like Netflix and YouTube with dedicated launch apps is a major red flag for Vision Pro. It seriously dampens the device’s appeal as the next-gen entertainment platform Apple is marketing it as. If consumers can’t easily access much of today’s most popular video content, why would they spend thousands of dollars on an unproven gadget, no matter how impressive the technology?
This “app gap” at launch mirrors issues faced by other ambitious but failed product attempts like Microsoft’s Windows Phone mobile OS. The technology struggled to gain market share without quality app support and developer buy-in.
However, Apple’s ecosystem and user base is much stronger than Microsoft’s was then. If Vision Pro sales can garner enough momentum, more streaming providers and developers may join the platform to address demand. But the headset faces substantial early adoption challenges without those major apps readily available.
Vision Pro feels like very promising but still immature technology at this stage, with the software ecosystem lagging behind the capabilities of the hardware. It may take another generation or two before everything comes together as a must-have consumer product. Apple would be smart to address these app ecosystem concerns sooner than later while AR/VR momentum continues building.
What’s Next for Vision Pro?
Assuming Vision Pro sales and usage meet or exceed expectations after launch, we can expect the app catalog and functionality to steadily improve. More apps tailored specifically to mixed reality environments will become available.
Additionally, future hardware revisions will likely address battery life and comfort issues identified by early testers. Expect the high price point to drop over time as well making the technology accessible to wider audiences beyond early adopters.
There’s also room for growth around Vision Pro’s potential enterprise use cases for remote collaboration. This could become a bigger focus for Apple if consumer appetite for entertainment and gaming proves underwhelming due to the lacking app landscape.
We’ll know much more about Vision Pro’s fate after it hits the market. At that point, actual user behavior data will determine if developers dedicate resources to building alarger app ecosystem over time. Until then, Apple faces skepticism that Vision Pro provides enough functionality fitstill needs more fine tuning before fulfilling such lofty aspirations. But writing off ambient computing before it truly takes off would be premature.
|Vision Pro Specifications| |:–|:–| |Price| Starts at $3499 | |Release Date| February 2024 | |Display| Dual 4K OLED panels @90hz per eye | |Chip| Apple Vision Chip | |Controls| Hand tracking, voice, dedicated game controller | |Audio| Spatial audio powered by head-tracking | |Sensors| Lidar, accelerometer, gyroscope | |Connectivity| WiFi, Bluetooth| |Battery Life| Estimated 2 hours |
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