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iOS apps will publish to the Apple Vision Pro store by default

This gives headset owners access to 'hundreds of thousands’ of applications.

Cherlynn Low/Engadget

Apple just announced that nearly every iOS app will automatically publish the Vision Pro store by default, which the company says will give early adopters access to “hundreds of thousands of iPad and iPhone apps.” This will be in addition to whatever actual Vision Pro apps launch on the official store.

Most apps can easily run on Vision Pro, but you won’t get a full futuristic experience. Instead, you’ll see what you’d normally see on your phone or tablet, just blown up via a fake screen in front of you. Apple says that “app experiences can easily extend to Apple Vision Pro from day one — with no additional work required.”

This is slightly underwhelming when you consider the usual apps, like Facebook, but actually provides some real benefits. This means, for instance, that every streaming app will automatically be available at launch, so you can watch whatever you want on the headset’s virtual screen. Incidentally, the screen can occupy a relative width of 100 feet, so those lightsaber battles on Ahsoka will really pop. Marry that with the comfort-forward lightweight design and you’ve got yourself one heck of an entertainment machine, and that’s before uniquely-made streaming apps begin showing up.

On the developer side, there’s a forthcoming visionOS beta launching this fall so devs can test their apps to make sure they work. Additionally, this toolset will allow developers to make adjustments to maximize integration with the headset. It’ll also let you know if your app isn’t eligible for some reason, though most will be.

Now onto the why of this. The Apple Vision Pro is set to be a niche product for at least the first generation, due to the exorbitant price tag and limited use case scenarios, so exclusive apps could be scarce at launch. This allows Apple to sort of inflate the Vision Pro app store numbers to entice consumers. It could also pressure some of the larger developers out there, like Meta, to push through features exclusive to the headset. No matter the reason, one of the primary clarion calls whenever any new technology is announced is a cry for backwards compatibility, and well, this’ll do it.

For the uninitiated, the Apple Vision Pro is the company’s forthcoming mixed-reality headset. It boasts eye-tracking, so you can control apps via minute ocular movements, and an OLED screen on the exterior to display a digital recreation of your eyeballs for others to interact with. It’ll cost a whopping $3,500 when it launches next year, which is equatable to purchasing seven Meta Quest 3 VR headsets.