As Apple brings the Apple Vision Pro to market, its first major product category in nine years, the absence of key streaming apps and unconventional design choices cast shadows over its debut.
Apple Inc.’s upcoming mixed-reality headset, the Apple Vision Pro, is poised to make waves. It lets you see and interact with virtual worlds using artificial intelligence, voice and gesture control, plus spatial audio.
Despite all of those cool features, it’s facing a significant challenge. The world’s leading video and music streaming services, including Google’s YouTube, Spotify and Netflix, are noticeably absent from the device’s lineup of supported applications.
YouTube, Spotify and Netflix shun Apple’s new device
The decision by these streaming giants to steer clear of Apple’s latest offering signals a notable shift in the digital entertainment landscape. YouTube, a pivotal player in the video streaming sector, announced it has no plans to launch a new app for the Apple Vision Pro.
Instead, YouTube suggests its users turn to the Safari web browser to access its content on the new device. This mirrors Netflix’s approach of avoiding a dedicated app for Apple’s newest product, forcing Vision Pro users to the web for access.
Spotify, another key player in the music streaming industry, follows suit. The company is not developing a new app for the Vision Pro’s operating system, visionOS, nor will it adapt its existing iPad app for the headset.
Despite this, Spotify’s services will likely remain accessible via a web browser. This strategic decision by Spotify aligns with Netflix and YouTube’s approach, marking a collective pivot away from traditional app-based integration for Apple’s new device.
Apple faces content gap at Vision Pro launch
The absence of these popular streaming apps at the launch of the Vision Pro, scheduled for Feb. 2, is particularly striking. Apple has been marketing the headset as a hub for video, gaming and entertainment, but the lack of support from these major content providers could impact its reception in the market.
The Vision Pro is set to include Apple’s own apps for music and podcasts, which directly compete with Spotify’s offerings. Yet, the omission of YouTube is especially notable, considering YouTube was a preinstalled app on Apple’s original iPad in 2010.
YouTube and Spotify keep their apps on other Apple devices
Despite their decision to opt out of dedicated app support for the Vision Pro, YouTube and Spotify continue to maintain popular apps for other Apple devices, like the iPhone and iPad. This situation could have facilitated an easier transition to support Vision Pro. However, developers with existing iPad software in the App Store need to actively choose to make their apps available in the Vision Pro store, a step these companies have decided against.
We reached out to Apple for a better understanding of this industry fallout and uncharacteristically did not hear back from a corporate representative by publishing time.
Meta apps also missing from the Vision Pro ecosystem
Moreover, additional searches suggest that apps from Meta, such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, may also be unavailable on the Vision Pro. While these major streaming services are stepping back, other entertainment apps like Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock, ESPN and Amazon Prime Video are participating in the Vision Pro ecosystem. Apple anticipates that the headset’s App Store will support over 1 million titles.
Vision Pro’s design raises questions about Apple’s innovation
This challenge is compounded by the design of the Apple Vision Pro itself. The device, which resembles bulky ski goggles, features an umbilical cord emerging from the side, leading to a separate battery pack. The multipart aesthetic of Vision Pro shows the glaring absence of former lead designer Jony Ive and the meticulous oversight of the late Steve Jobs. This unconventional design might raise practicality and aesthetic concerns among potential users, contrasting with the sleek, wireless aesthetics typically associated with Apple products.
Apple Vision Pro now available
Orders for the $3,499 strap-on Vision Pro headset are now available online from Apple. The umbilical cord cable that connects to the separated battery pack for power is included. Extra batteries will cost $199 each.
Kurt’s key takeaways
The Apple Vision Pro is a bold attempt to enter the mixed-reality market, but it faces some serious hurdles after Apple’s long nine years since a major product innovation. The lack of support from key streaming apps, such as YouTube, Spotify and Netflix, could limit its appeal to users who want to enjoy their favorite content on the device.
The design of the headset, which requires a separate battery pack and a cord, could also raise questions about its practicality and aesthetics. Apple has a reputation for innovation and quality, but will the Vision Pro live up to its expectations?
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