Uncertain Future – Apple Vision Pro Missing World’s Leading Apps

The success of Apple Inc.’s Vision Pro, much like any new tech platform, will really come down to how much support it gets from third-party apps and services. But currently Apple Vision Pro missing world’s leading apps.

That’s why Apple has been actively showcasing a lineup of apps designed specifically for its spatial computing headset.

Picture this: Dive into the cinematic world of Tatooine with Disney Plus, have your productivity essentials like Slack, Fantastical, and Microsoft Office right on your face, and even engage in FaceTime calls with friends appearing as floating holograms!

The possibilities are as exciting as they are innovative.

It’s becoming evident that the initial triumph of the Vision Pro will be primarily attributed to one app: Safari

This is because Major developers seem somewhat reluctant to contribute significantly to the device’s success.

Notably, Apple Vision Pro missing world’s leading apps. Three of the globe’s most widely-used streaming services—Netflix Inc., YouTube, and Spotify Technology SA—have already indicated their stance by refraining from launching visionOS software or adapting their iPad apps for compatibility with the Vision Pro.

In the realm of technology, Apple has a remarkable track record of swiftly aligning app makers with its latest innovations. When new features are introduced for iPhones and iPads, a substantial portion of the App Store typically adapts to these changes within a few weeks.

However, the development pace for the Vision Pro seems to be more measured at the moment. Various factors contribute to this, spanning the uniqueness of a new platform with novel UI concepts and usability concerns, all within the context of a relatively exclusive and expensive device that might not be widely accessible for some time.

Apple Vision Pro Missing World’s Leading Apps – Developer’s Conflict

The broader issue at play is the growing tension between Apple and its developers. Notably, some of the prominent companies, such as Netflix, Spotify, and YouTube, opting out of creating apps for the Vision Pro and its visionOS platform, are the same ones vocal about their disagreements with Apple’s App Store policies.

Spotify has long contested Apple’s 30 percent cut on in-app purchases, while Netflix, despite having a unique revenue-sharing deal, has been distancing itself from Apple’s ecosystem.

YouTube, too, has steered away from in-app purchases and canceled App Store subscriptions to avoid Apple’s commissions.

Although the recent resolution of the Apple/Epic dispute aimed to improve the situation by allowing developers to link out to alternative payment methods, Apple amended its terms to still demand a commission, even for subscriptions processed externally.

While the revised commission stands at 27 percent, the fundamental stance remains unchanged: if you sell a product through the App Store, Apple expects its share, one way or another.

But what if you no longer depend on the App Store to connect with Apple users? The ongoing clash among corporations has the potential to revolutionize how we engage with our devices, starting with the Vision Pro.

It’s not that you can’t access Spotify on the headset; it’s just a shift from tapping a Spotify app icon to visiting Spotify.com.

The same applies to YouTube, Netflix, and any other web app opting against developing a native solution for the Vision Pro. Gamers, whether into Xbox Game Pass or Fortnite, will find themselves relying on a browser.

In the past decade, we’ve transitioned from opening websites to tapping app icons, but the era of the URL might be making a comeback.

For proponents of the open web and the idea that developers should prioritize web apps over native ones, this marks a significant stride toward the future of the internet (Full disclosure: I stand by these beliefs).

However, this transformation comes after almost two decades of mobile platforms consistently neglecting and downgrading the browsing experience.

Although you can create homescreen bookmarks, mere shortcuts to web apps, these web apps lack seamless access to offline modes, cross-app collaboration, or some of your phone’s intrinsic features.

Even after all these years, running browser extensions on mobile Safari or mobile Chrome remains a challenge. Apple’s approach also makes it unnecessarily complex to stay logged in to web services across various apps.

Mobile platforms treat browsers more like webpage viewers than app platforms, and the impact is evident.

Despite past uncertainties, there are reasons for optimism: Apple recently incorporated several enhancements, including multiple profiles and external webcam support on the iPad, to Safari. This indicates that Apple acknowledges the significance of Safari and is willing to grant it access to certain native features.

For a while, it seemed like Apple might consider abandoning Safari altogether, given its meticulous control over its platforms, and the unpredictable nature of the web.

However, the company seems committed to improving Safari’s functionality. (The mounting antitrust pressure on Safari probably nudged things forward as well.)

Safari for visionOS will introduce platform-specific features, allowing users to open and manipulate multiple windows simultaneously in virtual space.

A leaked video showcased a user interacting with a 3D object within a webpage. Apple engineers, during WWDC last year, disclosed a complete redesign of the tab overview for visionOS, ensuring compatibility with touch controls and the eye-tracking and double-pinching mechanics integral to visionOS.

As users experiment with their headsets, Apple has cautioned developers to ready their apps for various screen sizes and layouts. The company also affirmed its support for WebXR, a protocol facilitating browser-based VR for immersive experiences.

Persistent rumors over the past couple of years suggest that Apple might reconsider its WebKit requirement for developers, potentially allowing the creation of browsers on alternative rendering engines.

If this change materializes, it could pave the way for running full-fledged Chrome or Firefox on Apple devices, including the Vision Pro.

Coupled with the growing emphasis on progressive web apps (PWAs), which Android, Windows, and even Apple are increasingly supporting, such developments could significantly enhance the browser capabilities of your headset almost overnight.

With a robust browser and potent PWAs, users might hardly distinguish between opening a dedicated app and visiting the corresponding website, marking a victory for the entire web.

A robust, deeply integrated desktop-class browser would instantly elevate the Vision Pro’s utility and power.

Apple should not only champion Safari but also welcome other desktop-class browsers, recognizing the Vision Pro as the platform for power users that it is.

However, the jury is still out on whether Safari for visionOS encompasses all these attributes, and it remains uncertain if Apple desires it to.

The fundamental question for Apple emerges: what holds more weight, ensuring a strong start for the Vision Pro or safeguarding the App Store’s control at all costs?

As Apple strives to redefine the landscape in the face of evolving computing trends, striking a balance between the two seems challenging.

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