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Apple Vision Pro streaming media landscape is complicated at launch

Watching Apple TV+ on Vision Pro (Source: Apple)

It might be a very expensive buy to just watch streaming video on, but Apple Vision Pro is going to look fantastic — for some services.

Don't throw out your TV set yet, at least not until your Apple Vision Pro pre-order arrives on or after February 2, 2023, but the day is coming when you'll want to. Your family may still complain, but for you as an individual, what Vision Pro will do for films and television looks like it will make you a fan.

Or at least, it will when you watch a streaming service that is fully native on Apple Vision Pro, and there are some that just will not be there.

Apple has already announced that it will have over 150 movies available to watch in 3D, with a few free documentaries and the rest bought from the Store. With or without 3D, though, Vision Pro promises extraordinary clarity — it's a 4K TV set in front of each eye — and Apple claims it has extraordinary sound, too.

So the complete catalog of Apple TV+ will be available (sign up for a free trial) and while all of it will look great, some of it will look spectacular. There's a reason Apple keeps showing clips from "Prehistoric Planet" and "Monarch: Legacy of Monsters."

Just be sure to try out "Silo" and "Foundation," too.

What won't be there

Unfortunately, Netflix, the biggest streaming service in the world, won't have an app on Apple Vision Pro. And, it isn't allowing its iPad app to work on the device either.

That's not a surprise, since Netflix has also refused to let its library be available through the Apple TV app, the way others have.

That means that Apple's TV app on any platform including Apple Vision Pro can't have a complete selection, it can't be the one place viewers go for everything. Except it might be, as if Netflix makes it more of a chore to go look at its shows instead of Amazon Prime's, fewer people will go.

It doesn't seem to have been enough of a barrier that sufficient people have left Netflix for the company to reconsider. But things might be different with Apple Vision Pro, or certainly if the headset is a success.

As it stands, Netflix will be available in Apple Vision Pro through Safari. If you've ever watched Netflix through a browser, you know it's fine enough. You might not be able to specify what's different, but you would tend to go back to watching it on your TV set as soon as you could.

Netflix has not publicly confirmed this, but it's reported to have decided that Vision Pro is not worth its spending time developing an app for it.

YouTube and Spotify won't on Apple Vision Pro at launch either

Back when the iPhone was new, there was a YouTube app actually bundled with it and Apple featured the app heavily in advertising. That bundled app has long gone, but YouTube has its own app and it's doubtlessly a crucial part of the firm's business.

But seemingly not crucial enough that it is rushing to develop an app for Apple Vision Pro. Again, there's no public comment about this and if it's true that Apple has only made 80,000 units, it's hard to disagree with a decision to wait a while.

Spotify has reached the same conclusion, but there the decision seems odder. If the Vision Pro's audio quality proves to be as strong as Apple says, then Spotify is surely leaving the market open for Apple Music.

For sports fans, other notable holdouts include and MLB.TV, and NFL+.

What streamers will be on Apple Vision Pro at launch

Fortunately, the list of streaming services that will be on Vision Pro is longer than that of the ones that won't. Right from the start, Vision Pro will have Disney+ and HBO's Max, for instance, plus Amazon Prime, Peacock, and Paramount+. Not all are native apps.

Disney+ will be available at launch on Apple Vision Pro
Disney+ will be available at launch on Apple Vision Pro

Disney+ native is key because of its sheer scale and also the breadth of its appeal, but it's also not a surprise.

Disney CEO Bob Iger was present at Apple's WWDC launch of Vision Pro, promising both Disney+ and more channels. Those include ESPN Sport and also National Geographic.

"At Disney, we're constantly searching for new ways to entertain, inform, and inspire by combining exceptional creativity with groundbreaking technology to create truly remarkable experiences," said Iger. "Apple Vision Pro is a revolutionary platform that will bring our fans closer to the characters and stories they love while immersing them more deeply in all that Disney has to offer."

"We're proud to once again be partnering with Apple to bring extraordinary new Disney experiences to people around the world," he continued.

Plus Disney owns "Star Wars," so it is able to provide more than streaming movies. One of the Immersive Experiences that Apple has promised is the ability to watch any film you like, while visually in the deserts of Tatooine.

As yet there's no word of an equivalent from Paramount+, but if you have a subscription to that, you're surely going to play back some "Star Trek" to see the Enterprise flying across your den.

Apple Vision Pro native apps or Apple TV app streaming?

As well as these immersive options, Disney+ will definitely be a native app on Apple Vision Pro where it's not clear which others will be. Paramount+ is an app for Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad, but the company hasn't announced whether it will also be a separate app on Apple Vision Pro.

What's possible for Paramount+ and almost certain for a great many other options is that they will be on Apple Vision Pro because they are available via the Apple TV app. That's probably the case with lesser-known streamers such as Pluto TV, and MUBI.

Apple Vision Pro costs from $3,499 and is now available for pre-order. Streaming services all have varying subscription fees, but also all include at least a short free trial.