With just over 150 apps tailored specifically for Apple’s Vision Pro, the response from app developers to the tech giant’s venture into virtual reality seems to be lukewarm. Recent data from market intelligence firm Appfigures reveals that out of the 1.8 million apps on the AR/VR device’s App Store, only a fraction have been updated explicitly for the Vision Pro.
It’s important to note that this number doesn’t represent the total apps available for the Vision Pro. Although theoretically compatible with iOS and iPad apps, the Vision Pro’s unique platform has attracted a smaller number of developers compared to Apple’s broader ecosystem.
Several factors contribute to this restrained enthusiasm among developers. Limited supplies of Vision Pro headsets for testing, coupled with the awareness that the market opportunity may be modest due to the hefty starting price of $3,499, might be influencing developers’ decisions. Additionally, the challenge of adapting small, touchscreen-optimized apps to a different computing environment could be a hurdle.
Negative sentiments within the developer community following the aftermath of the Epic Games’ antitrust lawsuit against Apple might also be a factor. While Apple won the case, it led to modifications in App Store rules, allowing developers to direct users to alternative means of purchasing subscriptions. However, Apple implemented this with additional caveats and guidelines, along with a minimal reduction in commissions, dissuading many app makers.
This somewhat developer-hostile environment could be impacting Apple’s broader developer community, which had initially embraced new platforms despite diminishing returns. The iMessage App Store and watchOS App Store faced challenges, and Vision Pro seems to be continuing this trend.
Major players like YouTube, Netflix, and Spotify have chosen not to build for the Vision Pro, possibly due to Apple’s competition in their markets with its own streaming services. Meta, with its VR headset, has also chosen not to build native apps for the Vision Pro.
While popular apps like Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, TikTok, Spotify, YouTube, and others have opted out, Vision Pro users still have a range of options. Apple has assured that users can download and stream content from various platforms, including Disney+, ESPN, MLB, and more. Some notable apps like Box, Carrot Weather, Webex, Zoom, and Fantastical have been specifically built for Vision Pro.
Despite the lukewarm developer response, Apple remains optimistic, assuring developers that existing iPhone and iPad apps will be automatically available to Vision Pro users. Many developers might be choosing to port their existing apps until the Vision Pro user base grows large enough to justify more focused attention.